It’s not about the wages, say striking teachers

Teachers from across School District 20 and throughout BC gathered

Teachers from Castlegar, and throughout B.C., are on strike Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. The teachers are gathering at locations throughout the city to display information signs and hand-out leafs.

The strike is the latest escalation in the teachers ongoing struggle with the B.C. government for a new contract.

striking teachers at SHSS

“This is a work stoppage because we are very concerned about the legislation that the liberal government wants to pass – Bill 22,” said Geri Brydon, Kinnaird Elementary union staff representative and grade two teacher at the school. “This bill strips teachers of their rights, it robs them, and it hurts kids. We’re hear for the kids.”

Brydon and several other Kinnaird teachers were set up at the corner of 24th Avenue and Columbia Street monday morning.

“The response has been great,” she said. “Lots of people honking. We do feel supported and we’re going to ask for continued support.”

The B.C. Labour Relations Board ruled on Feb. 28 that teachers in the province could legally strike for three consecutive days this week, and one day per week after that. Bill 22, if passed, will make any job action illegal.

“This work stoppage is for three days and then we will see what happens after that,” said Brydon. “We’ve been in job action until September. We were doing our job and it wasn’t hurting kids. Then the government decided that it was time to step up and they introduced the bill.”

BCTF members throughout the province voted unanimously to strike after a vote on Feb. 28 and 29.

“We would like to see them take back Bill 22 and let us bargain for a full settlement,” said Brydon. “We’re wiling and we’ve made concessions. The government has not.”

Brydon says the teachers are not striking for more money.

“It’s not about the money,” she said. “It’s about teacher rights and class sizes, and the composition of those classes.”

To help out with parents, the Castlegar Community Complex has extended the hours for some programs and also has a $2 toonie special for two to 18 year-olds for skating and swimming.

Rec schedule for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday:

Skating

Mon March 5th 10 – 11:30 am    Sticks and Pucks  – added

12 – 1:00 pm      Lunch Hour Hockey – earlier start

1:15 – 3:45 pm   Public Skate

Tues March 6th 10 – 11:30 am    Sticks and Pucks

12 – 1:00 pm      Lunch Hour Hockey  – added

1:15 – 3:45 pm   Public Skate  – earlier start

Wed March 7th 10 – 11:30 am    Sticks and Pucks

12 – 1:00 pm      Lunch Hour Hockey – added

1:15 – 3:15 pm   Public Skate – earlier start

Swimming

Mon March 5th 10 – 12 noon      Public Swim  -added

2   – 4 pm        Public Swim

Tues March 6th 3:30 – 6pm        Public Swim

Wed March 7th 2 – 4:30 pm       Public Swim