Teachers vote to take a stand in protest of Bill 12

Teachers throughout the province have voted 90.5 % to take a stand in protest against Bill 12, the legislation introduced Monday to once again impose a contract and order an end to job action.

As a result, teachers will mount picket lines at schools across B.C. on Friday, and will remain off the job until a resolution has been reached and accepted by a subsequent member vote.

BCTF President Jinny Sims called today’s results “an overwhelming affirmation of teachers’ deep commitment to quality public education and democratic bargaining rights.”

“Teachers have spoken clearly,” Sims said. “We will not be bullied into accepting another legislated contract that doesn’t meet the needs of our students and doesn’t respect our rights as workers.”

Teachers across the province voted by secret ballot in local general meetings held after school and in the evening on Tuesday and today. Turnout at the meetings was high, with many teachers expressing sadness, outrage, and frustration that they have been forced to take such a dramatic step to achieve their goals of improved learning conditions, restored bargaining rights, and a fair salary increase.

“After four years of legislative attacks by this government, teachers cannot stand by and allow another school year to pass while conditions deteriorate in classrooms, and morale plummets in staff rooms,” Sims said. “If we don’t take a stand now for students and public education, who will? Certainly not the B.C. Liberals.”

Today’s vote comes in the wake of an 88.4% strike vote. Teachers began limited job action September 28 by withdrawing supervisory and administrative duties. Classroom teaching and extracurricular activities carried on as usual.

“After a mere three days of very minimal job action, this government brought down the legislative hammer. What are the lessons to be learned from that?” Sims asked. “The Liberals don’t care about students’ unmet needs and they won’t allow teachers to exercise even the vestiges of rights remaining to us under their charade of essential services.”