Local teachers favour job action if bargaining fails

Teachers in Revelstoke have joined their colleagues across British Columbia in voting to take job action if there is no progress in collective bargaining by the beginning of next school year.

A total of 90% percent of teachers voted yes in a province-wide strike vote conducted June 24, 27, and 28, 2011. In all, 28,128 teachers cast their ballots, of whom 25,282 voted yes.  About 70% of teachers in schools and teachers teaching on call participated.

BCTF President Susan Lambert said the strong yes vote shows that teachers are united and are prepared to take action to achieve their goals of improved teaching and learning conditions, fair improvements to salary and benefits, and restoration of local bargaining rights.

“Facing a concerted campaign by the government and the employer to turn back the clock on teachers’ rights and reverse hard-won provisions on due process, we have no choice but to take a stand for ourselves, our students, and our profession,” Lambert said.  “The employer is offering nothing and at the same time demanding we make many significant concessions. That’s not collective bargaining. It’s just bullying.”

Jennifer Wolney,  acting president of the Revelstoke Teachers’ Association,  echoed Lambert’s statement in a statement.

“All teachers will continue to provide the best instruction they can given the current and potentially future situation,” Wolney said. “It is our hope that BCPSEA will return to the Bargaining Table with what teachers consistently model and reinforce with their students — respect for others.”

Failing progress in bargaining, job action in the form of a “teach-only” campaign would begin on Tuesday, September 6, the first day of the next school year.  Wolney reassured students and parents that teachers will maintain their full commitment to students, but will stop doing administrative tasks.

“This initial job action is designed to put pressure on the employer and the government, but to maintain regular classroom instruction for students,” she said.

For more information, contact Jennifer Wolney at the RTA Office, 250-837-2255.