What is going on in schools around our province and why should you care?

R. McKenzie- Trail BC

If you are a parent in one of our communities or if you drove by one of our schools Tuesday, you should have noticed that things have been awfully quite.  This is because our teachers are struggling to once again negotiate with their uncaring, union bashing employer.  The sad part in this is that their employer is the government that is supposed to be representing all of the rest of us.

Now you’re probably as tired as I am of hearing about the teachers, especially if you don’t even have kids in school, but stay with me for a minute because I think we all need to pay attention to this one, and for more than just the obvious reasons.

I don’t think that I need to go on about how properly funded, staffed and functioning schools help all of society by ensuring a well educated and well adjusted population.  Or that even if you don’t have kids in school you will likely be working beside, living next to or depending on the ones there now for your retirement security in the future, so you had better hope they turn out as good as possible. You can have a look around on the web for lots of better articles on that.

What I’d like to point out is that, if you are reading this, then it is very likely that you belong to a union in this province and if you do, then you should be paying very close attention to this fight.  It very clearly illustrates our provincial government’s position on unions and their attempts to undermine them across all sectors.  They have ripped bargained for rights out of the teacher’s collective agreement and ignored the supreme court’s orders to reinstate them.  They are forcing lock out conditions that are confusing to everyone and clearly aimed at making the teachers appear as the bad guys to BC families and do more to punish students than teachers. In the past they have even gone as far as to enact emergency law changes treating teachers and their union as criminals. They have made fair bargaining next to impossible for the teachers and all of the public sector employees, and have managed to continue to convince most of the public that these same public employees who have settled for 0% wage increases and other rollbacks are somehow greedy. And they have now banned teachers from communicating with parents with regards to the negotiations, lockout and even anything to do with the kids education.

If this is the bar that our government representatives are setting for BC companies to follow, one of ignoring contractually agreed upon rights, criminalizing collective bargaining, undermining the fair bargaining process and effectively slapping their own workers in the face.  Then how are the rest of us supposed to believe that they will stand up for the rights of any workers in this province or defend workers from other employers who set out to trash our contracts at will for their own gain?

I think we all need to step up here and support the people who we have all entrusted with training our next generation of citizens and send our elected officials the message that we won’t sit back while they undermine all of our collective rights in this province. 

For more information checkout the YouTube video linked below and talk to the teachers in our area. But don’t tell the ministry because remember they’ve banned talking to.

BCTF News Conference, May 22, 2014: http://youtu.be/dicdv9ChhAM