I've spent the past few hours (no classes this afternoon) reading about the teachers strike back home in BC.
Long story short, a few years ago the government made it so that teachers were declared an "essential service". Essential services are things like police, doctors, ambulances etc. Teaching is NOT an essential service. No one dies if the teachers don't show up.
As a result of this legislation, teachers are no longer allowed to strike. As far as I know, BC is the ONLY place in Canada or the US where teachers are not allowed to strike. It is against the law, because teaching is an "essential service".
The reason the government did this is so that it could screw teachers up the ass and get away with it. In doing so, it also screws children. Now isn't that a pretty picture!
So fast forward to this year (or was it last year?) It's time to negotiate a contract between teachers and the government. The teachers are asking for input when it comes to important things like class size and composition (this means the number of special needs students in a class, or behavioral students etc). They are also asking for salary increases. BC salaries lag behind other provinces like Alberta and Ontario. Also, it takes over 10 years to reach the top of the salary scale for a teacher in BC. Have you ever heard of a plumber or a doctor having to take a 10 year apprenticeship? I had to go to university for 5 years and incur staggering debt to become a teacher, I should be compensated (like other PROFESSIONALS).
Anyway, I'm getting off topic.
So the teachers and the government have been at the bargaining table trying to come up with a contract. The government refuses to let the teachers have any input in class sizes and composition, and it proposed NO wage increases over the next three years. So the negotiating was not going well and it was taking a long time. What does the government do? They imposed a legislative "contract". This means that the bargaining will stop and teachers will just have to take it in the ass until next year, when the whole process will begin again. This is how the last "contract" was settled two years ago.
Needless to say, this did not sit well with teachers. The government would rather legislate a contract than actually work together to create one. It's easier for the government to do this.
So...in other professions this would cause people to strike. But wait, teaching is an essential service in BC. Striking is against the law. So what can teachers do?
They can break the law (that was created to break them) and go out on strike!!! I'm so proud of BC teachers for taking this step. It takes a lot of courage to knowingly break the law, even if it is an unjust law.
This explains it a lot better.
As of today they are 4 days into their illegal strike. The employers have already gone to court, and the teachers have been ordered by a judge to return to work (because they are so "essential"). But the teachers stand STRONG and are still striking!! Today I read that the court has seized the assets of the BC Teachers Federation (the union). So now teachers won't be getting their $50 a day strike pay. It also means that any money donated to the BCTF cannot be used. Very sneaky move by the court. The next step will be to enforce fines, and the final step will be to throw people in jail. Harsh! But it won't get to that, I hope.
AND the goverment currently has a surplus of money!! Millions of dollars, waiting to be spent. What will they spend it on? Certainly not our children, our future.
I am appalled by this government and I fully support the teachers.
Why do I give a shit? Because I have lots of friends teaching in BC and I was hoping to one day teach there as well. Right now Alberta is looking a lot better.
Why should you care? Well, if you're a teacher you should support your fellow teachers. One day it may be YOUR government trying to screw you up the ass.
Go to the BC Teachers Federation website to read all about it.