Teachers okay new deal now must prepare for Monday school opening

86 per cent of BC’s 41,000 teachers voted Thursday, September 18, to ratify a new six-year contract and reopen their classrooms by Monday.

BC Teachers’ Federation President Jim Iker told a news conference Thursday evening that of 31,741 ballots cast, 27,275 favoured adopting the contract – ending the longest province-wide strike in the union’s history.

“We all know this deal isn’t perfect, but it provides some gains for teachers, protects our Charter Rights, and increases support for students,” he said.

“This was a very tough round of negotiations and a difficult time for many of us on strike, but we successfully pushed back against concession demands and we have emerged as a stronger and more engaged union. Through the hard work of our teachers, British Columbians now fully understand the real issues facing our public education system.”

While Revelstoke Teachers’ Association President Jennifer Wolney had no comment to make regarding the vote,  Education Minister Peter Fassbender said the teachers’ ratification of the deal permits everyone to “now focus on the path forward.”

“On behalf of government, I want to thank and congratulate B.C. teachers for voting in favour of the agreement reached earlier this week between the BCTF and BCPSEA bargaining teams,” he said in a statement.

“We have one of the best public education systems in the world, and that’s in large part because we have such great teachers. “We can now focus on the path forward. This long-term agreement is a historic opportunity to work together for students — to enhance their education experience and to support their achievements.”