Students and teachers return to class

Spring break ends, no more walk outs planned – at least for the moment

Spring break is over and school is back in session as usual – likely until at least mid-month.

On April 17 and 18 B.C. Teachers’ Federation members will once again vote on whether or not to further resist Bill 22, the Education Improvement Act. The decision was made during the BCTF’s annual general meeting March 17 through 22.

The Act was passed March 15 following months of work-to-rule job action by the province’s 41,000 teachers and a provincewide walkout March 5. The legislation includes fines of $1.3 million a day for the union and $475 a day for individual teachers who continue to strike – an action plan the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association asked some 700 teachers’ association delegates to support at the AGM.

GVTA delegates distributed buttons and leaflets asking other associations not to return to work until there is a genuine negotiation, mediation, or arbitration process and the fines are dropped.

The document addresses fears of fines as well as of wages lost during a walkout.

“First, there may be no lost days,” it reads. “The threat of a walkout is often enough to get the employer back to the table and more willing to negotiate.”

The leaflet goes on to discuss a potential loss of public support given wage negotiations. Due to teachers’ great work, it reads, polls reflect significant public support for their issues, including a pay increase.

“We were not alone,” Tara Ehrcke, GVTA president said of the plan not to return to the classroom after spring break. “We presented that as an option during the debate and it wasn’t exactly what was chosen in the end, but the plan that was adopted includes a future vote for a full withdrawal.”

If supported by the membership next month, the BCTF’s “bold plan of action” will include a withdrawal of extracurricular voluntary activities and incite a second vote on whether or not to stage another walkout. It also includes a public education component. Several individual teachers’ associations have chosen to act outside of BCTF directives, such as the Sooke School District, which voted in favour of withdrawing extracurricular voluntary activities immediately.

The GVTA was set to meet Monday, after the News’ deadline. Members will have the chance to discuss their next course of action, Ehrcke said, confirming individual associations’ autonomy.

Regardless of action, students will receive their end of year report cards. Teachers did not and have no intentions of issuing March report cards, Ehrcke said. The legal move under their work-to-rule job action was approved by the MInistry of Education and explained to parents by Greater Victoria School District superintendent John Gaiptman in a March 8 letter sent home with students.

Bill 22 reinstates restrictions on class size and composition support that the Liberals stripped from Bills 27 and 28 – action which was deemed unconstitutional in a Supreme Court ruling last spring.

“To take out of Bill 27 and 28 what was ruled unconstitutional and put it right back in Bill 22 word-for word – of course we’re going back to court,” said Jim Iker, BCTF first vice-president. “What we wanted was an independent mediator or arbitrator, instead what we got was a sham mediation process.”

Education Minister George Abbott is expected to appoint a mediator sometime this week upon his return from a trip to China.

Teachers’ average base salaries 2011-12

Greater Victoria $69,512

Saanich $72,498

Sooke $69,612

 

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in Saanich parkland

The birds don’t often touch down in the south of the Island

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

(Victoria Cool Aid Society/Facebook)
Victoria food drive aims to feed those also struggling with housing

Quadra Village furniture store hosting drive-thru event Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Victoria police are asking for witnesses who might have information about this tricycle that was stolen in downtown Victoria on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Police seek witnesses after downtown Victoria company’s tricycle stolen

The three-wheeler was taken from the 2100-block of Store Street on Thursday

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Most Read