Category Archives: job action

Recess cancelled in SD57

The school district has announced that recess will be cancelled as a result of the first stage of the BCTF job action:

Recess was also cancelled by the administration, as a result of the 2011 job action:

Recess is not cancelled in all of BC:


Recess will be cancelled in several school districts across B.C. as the province’s 41,000 public-school teachers begin job action on Wednesday.

The districts that have cancelled recess include:


  • Prince George
  • Quesnel.
  • Terrace.
  • Prince Rupert.
  • North Okanagan/Shuswap.
  • Bulkley Valley.

Northern Vancouver Island School District had considered cancelling recess, but reconsidered and decided not to cancel it.

BC Teachers’ Federation president Jim Iker said six school districts have plans to cancel recess tomorrow when the phase-one action begins.

“We don’t think that’s fair to the students, that they’ll be cancelling recess,” he said. “Some of the cancellations are without even first talking with the [union] local about whether administration can even do the coverage, and we find that very disappointing.”

In some cases, cancelling recess could mean the school day is shortened by 15 minutes.

Iker explained that voluntary activities in which teachers are involved will continue during the first phase of the planned job action, but some teachers’ duties will be left to principals, vice-principals, and other management.

“What we won’t be doing is supervision, before and after school, during recess, and at lunchtime, which we don’t do right now,” Iker said.

“Our expectation is that, according to the essential services legislation, excluded staff … will be picking up supervision,” he said.


Strike Update

The BCTF has announced that stage 1 job action will start on Wednesday, April 23, after the Easter weekend. There will be no immediate school closures or disruptions to students. This first stage is administrative in nature only. Teachers will continue to teach, write report cards, communicate with parents, and participate in their volunteer extracurricular activities.

During Stage 1 job action teachers will not:

  • Undertake any mandated supervision of students outside of regularly scheduled classes, except as set out by an essential services order.
  • Attend any meetings with management other than meetings of the worksite Joint Health and Safety Committee.
  • Provide principals or administrators with any routine printed, written, or electronic communication.
  • Receive any printed, written, or electronic communication from an administrator.
  • Be at a worksite prior to one hour before commencement of instructional time and one hour after the end of instructional time, other than for pre-arranged voluntary activities.

What does this mean for parents?

At this point, there will still be communications with parents, such as report cards. Teachers will continue to carry out voluntary activities that have been previously arranged. Field trips ought not be affected, at this point.

One question mark that remains is what this will mean in SD57 for recess. During the last job action, this district cancelled recess, as providing supervision at recess took administrative staff time. Only a few districts in BC did so.

From the Vancouver Sun, September 2011:

Qualicum is one of several school districts that cancelled recess after teachers said they would not supervise students on the playground as part of their job action. The other districts are Central Okanagan, Vernon, North Okanagan-Shuswap and Prince George. Southeast Kootenay district also cancelled recess but trustees recently voted to reinstate it next month.

For more information, see the BCTF news releases:

SD57 has also previously posted a communications strategy in the event of a strike:

Teachers pass strike vote

From a news release sent to DPAC 20 minutes after the announcement of the strike vote:

BC teachers vote overwhelmingly in favour of job action

March 6, 2014

A total of 26,051 teachers voted yes in a province-wide vote conducted March 4–6, 2014. In all, 29,301 teachers cast ballots, of whom 89% voted yes.

“With this vote, BC teachers have sent a very clear message to the BC government; it’s time to negotiate in good faith, take back the unreasonable proposals, and offer teachers a fair deal that also provides better support for students,” BCTF President Jim Iker said.

In releasing the results, Iker stressed that there is no immediate action planned. “There will be no job action tomorrow, there will be no job action next week,” Iker said. “Teachers now have 90 days to activate the strike vote with some sort of action. There is no set timing for when we will begin. It will depend entirely on what is happening at the negotiating table and whether or not the government and employers’ association are prepared to be fair and reasonable.

“BC teachers are committed to negotiating a deal at the table. That is our goal. The vote is about putting pressure on both sides to get an agreement. We will work very hard to get that negotiated settlement without any job action. A strike vote is a normal process in labour relations and helps apply pressure to both parties during negotiations.”

If job action becomes necessary, Iker outlined that it will occur in stages, but any initial action will not:

  • include immediate school closures or disruption for students
  • ask teachers to stop participating in extracurricular activities
  • affect report cards or communication with parents.

Any initial job action will be administrative in nature and have no impact on student learning. If, at some point talks stall or government does not move on key areas, that initial job action could escalate into rotating strikes. Once again, it depends on events at the negotiating table. There will be no full-scale walk out as a result of this vote. Such action would require another province-wide vote of the BCTF membership.

“Teachers voted so overwhelmingly in favour because the government has tabled unfair and unreasonable proposals that would undo the class size, class composition, and specialist teacher staffing levels we just won back in a BC Supreme Court Ruling,” said Iker. “The employer’s salary offer is also less than what was given to other public sector workers and ignores how far BC teachers have fallen behind their colleagues across Canada.”

No strike?! Tentative deal reached for CUPE’s public school education workers

RICHMOND, BC—The Canadian Union of Public Employees has reached a tentative Provincial Framework Agreement with the BC Public Schools Employers’ Association (BCPSEA). The Framework Agreement was unanimously endorsed by the CUPE BC K-12 Provincial Bargaining Sub-Committee and will be recommended to the CUPE BC K-12 Presidents’ Council for endorsement.

Each CUPE union local will then take this provincial agreement to their respective tables with school districts to conclude collective bargaining.

“Over two years this agreement provides our members a total 3.5 percent wage adjustment, with no concessions,” said CUPE BC K-12 Presidents’ Council Chair Colin Pawson. “We were also able to work with the employer on a pay direct drug card.”

“As well, the agreement recognizes the professional role of Education Assistants through formal changes to the School Act and collective agreements,” added Pawson.

- See more at:

BC Ministry of Education news release:

The framework provides for modest wage increases of 3.5 per cent over two years, funded from savings found within existing school district budgets, as required under the 2012 Cooperative Gains Mandate.

CUPE K-12 Bargaining Bulletin

clip_image002.jpgFebruary 13, 2013                                                                      Bulletin No. 10


Presidents call for province-wide strike vote

RICHMOND~– The Presidents’ Council met Tuesday to discuss this provincial government’s latest attack on K-12 education workers.

CUPE K-12 local presidents at an all-day session in Richmond voted overwhelmingly in favour of authorizing the council’s provincial bargaining committee to prepare a province-wide, local-by-local, strike vote.

While K-12 locals are in various stages of bargaining and the provincial table has met several times with the government’s BC Public School Employers’ Association, little or no progress has been made.~ Council chair Colin Pawson emphasized that the goal remains a fair and reasonable contract settlement for 27,000 CUPE support workers, but that “we must be prepared for job action to get there in light of the direction this government has chosen to take.” Continue reading

Teachers voted 75.3% in favour of new contract

Members of the BC Teachers’ Federation have voted to ratify the agreement-in-committee reached on Tuesday, June 26, 2012 with the government’s bargaining agent, the BC Public School Employers’ Association.

In a province-wide vote conducted June 27–29, 2012, a total of 21,044 teachers cast ballots and 75% voted yes. The turnout rate was 52%.


[Matt Pearce, president of the Prince George District Teachers Association] said despite the positive acceptance of the new contract many teachers still have concerns that weren’t addressed.

“It may be back to normal but I still think there are a lot of teachers who are very disappointed the issues around class size and composition that can really affect our students haven’t been touched, even a little bit,” said Pearce. “In fact things are likely to get worse next year. I think some teachers will continue to not do extracurricular [activities], but it’ll be a personal choice and not done as a vote of the membership.”


In related news, the BC Supreme Court issued a ruling on Friday regarding the BCTF court application to remove Charles Jago as mediator. The BCTF petition was dismissed. The text of the decision is available here:

Tentative Deal reached between BCTF and BCPSEA

B.C. teachers and provincial school boards have reached a tentative deal in a long-running labour dispute.

On Tuesday evening, the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation issued a statement saying that the union’s executive committee would recommend members ratify the deal, saying it included some modest improvements over previous proposals.

“After a long and difficult round of negotiations we were compelled into this process under threat of huge fines and further punitive legislation,” BCTF president Susan Lambert said in the statement. “We have been able to achieve some modest improvements but, above all, we succeeded in getting government [to] take its concession demands off the table.”

Education Minister George Abbott also issued a statement late Tuesday, saying that meetings between the BCTF and government-appointed mediator Charles Jago had helped craft a deal.

“We are pleased that mediation has resulted in a tentative Memorandum of Settlement between the British Columbia Public School Employers’ Association and the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation.” Mr. Abbott said.

“Under Dr. Charles Jago’s guidance, the parties worked extremely hard and made progress on many important issues.

“The term of the agreement runs until June 30, 2013, sets out improved language to manage leave provisions, and is consistent with government’s net zero mandate. In addition, the parties agreed to further discuss and seek mutually agreeable improvements on key policy issues to provide students with the best education possible.”–%20Public%20school%20employers%20achieve%20tentative%20deal%20with%20BCTF%20and%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf



Message from PGDTA

The Prince George DPAC has received the following email from the Prince George District Teachers Association, and is passing the message along:



We wanted to keep our Partner Groups and Supporters….in the loop about the upcoming Teacher Event. We would really appreciate it if you could let your members know. We would love for them to join us! We are all in this struggle together and are hoping for your support.

Thank you


My original message:

There will be a “GIANT” burma shave occurring province wide on Wednesday June 20. All 60 BCTF locals around the province are encouraging their members to come out and show their solidarity before the end of the school year.

In Prince George, we ask that all of our PGDTA members and supporters come out to a giant Burma Shave from 4:30PM -5:30PM between 5th and Central to 10th Ave. We plan to line up along both sides of the bypass. We are hoping for a turn out of 100′s of people!!! Please be sure to stay off the pavement, we want everyone to be safe. Line up along the grass.

Continue reading

LRB ruling made over teacher withdrawal of services

The Labour Relations Board (LRB) today issued a one-page “bottom-line” decision (with reasons if the parties so request) with respect to the application filed by BCPSEA on May 9 for a declaration that the BCTF and its members have declared or authorized or are engaging in an illegal strike, contrary to the Labour Relations Code and the Education Improvement Act.

The LRB found as follows:

  • The union declared an unlawful strike by directing/authorizing its members to withdraw from activities which, although they occur outside of instructional hours, may nonetheless be part of their work duties, including participating in school-based team meetings, Individual Education Plan (IEP) meetings, parent–teacher interview meetings, district committee meetings and BC Ministry of Education initiatives such as Ready, Set, Go and kindergarten orientation.
  • The BCTF is directed to cease and desist from declaring or authorizing an unlawful strike in this manner.


  • The union did not declare an unlawful strike by directing its members to refrain from participating in activities which occur outside of class time/instructional hours that are truly voluntary and extracurricular such as coaching, instructing or supervising student performances, sports teams, clubs or field trips or attending graduation or awards ceremonies, where those activities are not related to a course or undertaken for marks OR from directing its members to minimally participate in meetings with “Administrative Officers”


For more information and background, please see: