Chilliwack teachers say parents, students will see little impact as job action begins

Phase one of teacher strike starts Wednesday, April 23.

Today is the first day of the most recent run of teacher job action.

What does that mean?

For students and parents, not much.

According to Clint Johnston, Chilliwack Teachers’ Association president, Chilliwack students and parents will not be affected by the limited job action.

Report card preparation and parent meetings will continue, as will pre-arranged extra-curricular activities such as coaching.

However, phase one of job action does include refusing written and electronic communication with school principals and other such officials, arriving no more than an hour before and leaving an hour after school hours, and refusing supervision of students outside class time, including recess and lunch supervision.

That means school principals and other staff will be responsible for those extra tasks.

“It’s purely a move to increase pressure on administration and make it less comfortable for them and hope their grumblings move upwards to motivate the provincial table to get a deal done,” said Johnston.

After a year of bargaining, union members voted 89 per cent in favour of a three-stage strike plan in March.

“A move like this shows we don’t want to inconvenience students, and we don’t want to inconvenience parents,” said Johnston. “This is as mild as we can be while still trying to prove a point that a year of bargaining with no movement really is not acceptable.”

Phase two of the BC Teachers’ Federation plan is rotating one-day walkouts in districts around the province. Phase three, a full-scale strike, would require a second vote by members to authorize.

The BCTF has rejected the government’s offer for a 10-year agreement with pay increases totalling 6.5% over the first six years and additional wage increases to be negotiated for the final four years.

BCTF negotiators countered with a three-year proposal with three per cent plus a cost-of-living increase in each year. With compounding and current estimates of inflation, BCPSEA calculates that could amount to 13.5 per cent over three years.

The Ministry of Education has said it will respond to the strike action by seeking an order that the union pay for its extended benefits during any withdrawal of service.

That would cost about $5 million a month for 41,000 public school teachers.

“In order that there is in fact pressure on both sides, BCPSEA needs to respond to any phase one activities with measures that put corresponding pressure on the union,” Peter Cameron, chief negotiator for the education ministry wrote in a letter to the union.

Johnston, however, wants to make it clear job action is not an easy road for teachers.

“We’re professionals who do this not just for a pay cheque, but because it’s a job we love,” he said “And we put in extra-curricular time and do tons of stuff outside of our work hours. So when we do an action like this that requires our members to respect stricter timelines and to not put that extra effort in, that is difficult on our members.

“But we need some kind of deal so education gets the stability the government says it wants.”

~with files from Tom Fletcher

kbartel@theprogress.comtwitter.com/schoolscribe33

Just Posted

VIDEO: Cars on Campus in Chilliwack

Photos of this year’s Fraser Valley British Motor Club’s annual vintage car show in Chilliwack

PHOTOS: Pikeminnow derby brings families together at Cultus Lake

The annual Lions Pikeminnow Derby takes place on Father’s Day weekend in Chilliwack

UPDATE: Incident along train tracks shuts down Eagle Landing Parkway for several hours

The Chilliwack Progress has reached out to RCMP for further details

VIDEO: Fire destroys Chilliwack home on Bearstone Place

RCMP comfirm everyone got out of the house safely during Saturday morning fire

PHOTOS: Sasquatch Days about ‘being proud of being Sts’ailes’

The joint event between Harrison and Sts’ailes returned to the village for its eighth year

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

Parents of BC murder victim want personal belongings returned

Lisa Dudley’s parents, Rosemarie and Mark Surakka, were at the Mission RCMP detachment Sunday

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Pride flag taken down by Township of Langley

Woman said she was told it was removed from her front yard because of a complaint

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

Most Read