An announcement Sunday that teachers will resume picketing this week is bound to disappoint those were still hoping that B.C. public schools might open on schedule Sept. 2.
Jim Iker, president of the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF), told hundreds of union members who had gathered in Kamloops for a special representative assembly and summer conference that they have more work to do before they’ll get a fair deal with government.
“We need to increase the pressure once again,” he said, while declaring that pickets will soon be in full force across the province. “We have asked our locals to ramp up the pressure on schools boards and local MLAs.”
The B.C. Public School Employers’ Association had said it would lift its lockout until Sept 2 for teachers who wanted to partake in previously arranged professional development during the final week of August or prepare their classrooms for the coming school year.
It now appears that won’t be happening.
Iker also urged members to begin thinking about how they can influence school board elections in November. “Right across this province, teachers need to take an active role in electing school board trustees who will advocate for public education,” he said. “We need to push candidates to find out where they stand on issues like underfunding, bad-faith bargaining, unconstitutional laws and contract stripping.
According to a tweet from Global BC’s Keith Baldrey, the BCTF distributed a memo to members this weekend titled: Intensify the pressure and stay the course. It called for rallies outside the offices of Premier Christy Clark and Labour Minister Shirley Bond, he tweeted.
“Folks, this dispute will go long into September,” Baldrey added.