School out in Castlegar

Teachers’ job action escalates with phase two - rotating walkouts



Rotating walkouts – phase two of job action by B.C. teachers in search of a new contract with the BC Public School Employers Association hit Castlegar with a one day tactic on Tuesday, May 27.

With a number of outstanding points being contended during the labour dispute, particular attention has been focused of late on the issue of teachers’ involvement in extracurricular activities.

Pickets went up along 7th Avenue on Tuesday morning, later to be joined by parents and kids. Similar action was going on across School District No. 20 Kootenay Columbia.

There is no set time frame for phase two according to Kootenay Columbia Teachers Union president Andy Davidoff, who expressed bewilderment on behalf of himself and his colleagues in regard to the “partial lockout’ situation as described by the employer.

“We’re waiting for the Labour Relations Board to clarify what their ‘partial lockout’ means,” said Davidoff by phone on May 27.

For its part, the BCPSEA, on its website ( has included a Q & A section on job action issues, where it asserts:

“Teachers are welcome to continue their involvement with any extracurricular or volunteer activities of their choice. Nothing in the lockout order prevents any continued or

new involvement with such activities.”

“When they brought this in it just caused massive chaos,” lamented Davidoff. “I think their intent was that, ‘Okay, we’re going to shorten the day that you should, or can be at school by 45 minutes before school and after instructional time. And we’re going to lock you out at lunch time so we don’t want you doing regular work at lunchtime.

I think they believe that justified a 10 per cent reduction of our pay.”

Posed on the BCPSEA website is the question: “Are teachers prevented from being on school property earlier than 45 minutes before the start of the school day or later than 45 minutes after the end of the school day?

“NO. Teachers are welcome to be on school property at any time for the purpose of supporting student extracurricular programs or other volunteer activities. The 45 minute limitation applies to teacher attendance for the purpose of paid work at a school or district site.”

Davidoff feels the employer (government) is seeing some unexpected results to its actions, including, “… the cancellation of almost everything. The superintendent of our district cancelled the track meet, tomorrow and Thursday here.”

As mentioned, there is no set time limit for the duration of phase two. Phase three, should it come to that, was addressed by the KCTU president.

“Full withdrawal of services, not on a rotating basis at all,” he stated. “Before that happens there has to be a provincial vote. If teachers decide we need to escalate to stage three, that’s what will happen.”