The teachers are on strike again? It seems as if they go on strike every year and make our kids lose school days.
Actually, they don’t. Never mentioned, in headline or media, is that since 2001, B.C.’s Liberal government has caused the loss of many more school days than the B.C.T.F ever could.
One media outlet, not untypically, screamed;
“3 strikes, 14 school days lost since 1995, because of the B.C.T.F., one of B.C.’s most “militant” unions.”
While it’s true that up until the current dispute, teacher strikes resulted in the loss of 14 school days since 1995, such headlines are inexcusably misleading and inflammatory.
Teachers had the right to strike from 1987 to 2002 when the government declared Education an Essential service, outlawed strikes, and removed working conditions from the collective bargaining process.
Ten of the 14 aforementioned lost school days resulted from a single strike in 2005, a strike in response to contract stripping by the government, actions censured by the United Nations (10 times), the Supreme Court of Canada (2007) and since then by the Supreme Court of B.C. (2011 and 2014)
Responding to that kind of bargaining behaviour isn’t “militant”. What would any employee group do if faced with an employer that ignores the repeated censure of their bargaining behaviour by international, national and provincial judiciaries?
Any number of school days lost to labour dispute is too many, but even if you include the 10 day strike, teacher strikes have lost fewer than one lost school day per year since 1995 – hardly the actions of “one of B.C.’s most militant unions.”
In contrast, government funding cuts have forced most school districts to double Spring Breaks – that’s at least five lost school days each and every year, or 100 lost days if taken over a twenty year period.
A few school districts have even cut back to 4-day weeks, or about 38 lost school days per year, 760 lost school days if taken over a twenty-year period.
Despite 20 years of losing purchasing power, twelve years of deep cuts to education, unconstitutional bargaining, and startlingly disrespectful treatment, this “militant” union has caused the loss of fewer school days over 20 years than the actions of the B.C. Liberal government have caused in one year.
Those bloody teachers don’t go on strike every year.It would be more correct to say the bloody government seems bent on provoking a teacher’s strike every year.