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Teachers vote to withdraw voluntary services

Teachers throughout B.C. voted last week 73 per cent in favour of withdrawing extra-curricular activities. A total of 21,625 teachers voted yes, while 7,846 voted no.

"It passed with a solid majority in the province," said BCTF Kootenay-Columbia president Andy Davidoff, adding that the local results are not announced because their are so few teachers here compared to the coast.

"It's a provincial result we look at," he said. "Basically, what it means is teachers will be teaching, not participating in B.C. Ministry of Education initiatives and will be refraining from extra-curricular and voluntary activities. That started yesterday (April 16)."

Davidoff said there is a possibility of further job action.

"But that won't happen until there is another provincial vote."

Davidoff said the vote result and any job action is in response to the government's Bill 22.

"If you ask yourself: how far could your employer push you and intentionally choose to treat you poorly?" he said. "Devalue you and demoralize you by passing demeaning legislation eroding your work conditions and collective agreement rights. How far would you have to be pushed before you stood up?"

Davidoff said the decision to withdraw from voluntary activities was not an easy one.

"We love doing our extra-curricular work," he said. "We do this will a great deal of regret but why would you volunteer to do extra things when your employer treats you in the manner that we're being treated."

Some of the activities that could be affected include coaching, grad ceremonies, science or math fairs, clubs, and field trips.

 

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