Teacher strike closes Chilliwack schools next Thursday

B.C. Teachers' Federation to implement one-day picket lines starting Monday.

All Chilliwack public schools will be closed to students next Thursday as part of BCTF job action.

The B.C. Teachers’ Federation announced Tuesday it would be starting one-day rotating strikes at schools around the province on Monday.

In Chilliwack, that means teachers will be picketing at all school district facilities, including schools, the school board office, and maintenance yard throughout the day on Thursday, May 29.

As well, École La Vérendrye school, located on Lickman Road, which is part of School District 93, will also be closed.

Chilliwack Teachers’ Association president Clint Johnston said the strike is necessary.

“We’ve been at the bargaining table for 16 months,” he said. “I hope people see that for what it is, a true effort to resolve things without involving other parties. That’s what we want to do, we want to sit at the table and bargain in good faith. But unfortunately, what we’ve seen is basically a stalemate.”

The escalated job action comes on the heels of BCTF rejecting the offer of a $1,200 signing bonus for an agreement by the end of the school year.

BCTF president Jim Iker said Tuesday the bonus doesn’t make up for the government’s wage offer of 6.5% over six years. A simultaneous threat to cut teacher wages 5% or more because of strike action is “just so disrespectful, so unnecessary, and we’ll be dealing with it at the Labour Relations Board,” Iker said.

Unless there is some compromise on major issues, one-day strikes with picket lines will be staged at one group of school districts in each of the first four days next week, with teachers returning to work across the province on Friday, May 30.

Iker reiterated the union’s position that more pay, more teachers and a return to contract language guaranteeing class size and special needs support are needed to reach a settlement.

Peter Cameron, chief negotiator for the province’s 60 school districts, informed the union last week that a 5% pay cut will be put in place “soon” in response to the first phase of strike action.

The BCTF began work-to-rule action in April, refusing supervision outside classrooms and communication with school management. Rotating strikes were also authorized by the BCTF membership in a March vote, and beginning to shut down schools could result in an effort to cut teacher pay by 10%.

Cameron said last week the union’s latest wage demand amounts to 15.9% over four years, far beyond what other provincial public service unions have received. The BCTF maintains its wage proposal is 13.25% over four years, including cost-of-living increases based on each year’s inflation rate.

Unlike the last job action in 2012, this one has been approved by the Labour Relations Board under essential services. That means teachers can picket at the schools, CUPE will not be working, and parents will be required to find childcare for the day.

~ with files from Tom Fletcher

kbartel@theprogress.com

twitter.com/schoolscribe33

Just Posted

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

UPDATE: Highway 1 reopened after crash near Prest Road

The early morning incident involved a semi and a flagging truck

Three Albertans land ‘monster’ sturgeon in Fraser River

For angler who landed the exceptionally large sturgeon it was an ‘incredible dream come true’

Teen stabbed after end-of-night limo dispute in downtown Vancouver

A young man, 19, is in serious condition following a dispute between two groups

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

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

Cabinet is expected to announce its decision on the expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline by Tuesday

LETTER: British Columbia’s forest industry crisis being made worse

Andrew Wilkinson warns of regulatory overload by John Horgan’s NDP

Convicted B.C. child abductor Randall Hopley back in custody 6 months after release

Correctional Services Canada could not provide further details due to privacy concerns

Alleged driver of semi-truck in fatal Burnaby hit-and-run identified

No charges have been laid and police say the driver is cooperating with the investigation

Most Read