After taking some blogging time off, I am back with some back to school posts coming up this weekend.
In case you are not a colleague in B.C. let me give you a quick run down of something that have been happening here in our neck of the woods....
After months of failed negotiations, teachers were taking minor job action which included not supervising at recess. The government then locked us out at recess/lunch/before/after school and deducted 10% of our wages. We moved to a provincial rotating strike, one day a week for each district, with multiple districts out at once. Things were not improving.
Finally, the last rotating strike was Friday, June 13 and the following Monday we started a full walk out. All schools shut down as of June 16 and were not back in session until this past Monday, September 22.
As a zone captain on the local executive, striking days meant that we met at the CTA office early in the morning to discuss issues, then we would drive around to our "zone" of schools (6-12 schools we visited daily)
Our district cancelled summer school and so we didn't have to picket over the summer, but many areas of B.C. did. As September drew closer, we hoped for a deal, especially when mediator Vince Ready got involved. But, with the parties "too far apart" he walked away and our hopes faded.
There were rallies put on by students, parents and the community, there were events hosted by BC Fed and other unions, there was support in the form of solidarity, money, and more from across Canada. It was truly a historic event.
When teachers voted 99% for binding arbitration, it sent a strong message that we wanted to get a deal, even if it meant going to binding arbitration. The government still disagreed but finally, there were some discussions again. After a promise to bargain 25/7 all summer, the government only met once with BCTF and this final push at least got both parties back at the table again.
Finally, last week, with Vince Ready back and some discussions between parties, they reached a deal.
The deal was not the deal teachers hoped for, but it had modest improvements in some areas and allowed us to get back to work, kids back to school and focus on the next issues were are trustee elections and our court case.
It was a tough time for many teachers, parents, students, community - but we go through it.
I feel like it was one battle in the bigger war. With a government like this, it feels like there are many more battles in this war and we need to stay united in our fight to stand up for quality public education. We can not allow have/have not privatization of education. We can not allow this government to break our union.
I did not blog the past few months because (mostly, I didn't have the time... but also...) there was so much going on on any given day with bargaining and job action and government moves - I didn't want this blog to become a political opinion blog (although that is part of who I am) but to stay focused on classroom ideas and such.
So, there are no guarantees I won't post more on this issue and any others that come.... but for now, we are back to school and I am ready to share some more classroom ideas!
If you want some info on this check out some of these great posts: