Valley teachers set to take strike vote

"At this point, there are absolutely no plans for disruption," Chris Rolls, president of the Lake Cowichan Teachers Association said on Wednesday. "It’s not like we’re going to take a strike vote and be out the following week. That’s not the way it’s going to work."

Teachers in the Cowichan Valley will be taking a strike vote next week, joining colleagues across the province, but it’s simply part of bargaining, Rolls said, adding, "It’s not a decision that came very easily."

The last time the BC Teachers’ Federation bargained with the BC Liberals, the result was a disruptive work-to-rule campaign.

Rolls didn’t want to speculate if that might be a possibility again.

"At this point, I don’t know exactly what’s going to be happening because a lot of it will depend on what the government chooses to do next," Rolls said.

Although this BCTF action appears to have arisen quickly, teachers have been bargaining with the province for well over a year, according to Rolls.

"Everything was agreed to, not with a media blackout, but in the sense that everything was going to be done without going to the media so both sides could bargain," she said. "Things were actually moving forward."

After the last provincial election, that all changed. The newly formed government changed what BC Public School Employers’ Association, the province’s own negotiating team had been given to work with, Rolls said.

Now, Peter Cameron, the province’s chief negotiator, has begun making public comments, claiming that the BC Teachers’ Federation is refusing to put their cards on the table.

"We are ready to talk about everything. The only thing the teachers haven’t done is talk about percentages when it comes to pay increases," Rolls said.

"I have utmost faith in our bargaining team and their extreme patience when it comes to trying to get to something that’s negotiated. If you look at the track record of this government, what have they done except legislate us and strip us?" Before speaking to the Citizen, Rolls had been meeting with LCTA members.

"It’s hard to see them because they are working so hard because we care about our communities, we care about those kids and we want to see things start to happen."

And the provincial action doesn’t even address what teachers could face locally, Rolls said.

"We’re hopefully not faced this year with a whole lot of closures. But we don’t know what’s going to happen because there were to be cuts every year for three years. And this is year two."

The recent court decision and the government’s protests about it underline one thing, according to Rolls.

"It actually tells you what we’ve lost in the past 10 years."

Earlier this week, provincial negotiator Cameron said restoring old class size and composition formulas is a poor way to allocate resources. The government prefers a system in which teachers and principals would be able to invest money where it’s needed most, he said.

"Why would you not go with a lot of weight, and decisive weight, on the teachers’ opinions – the ones that are actually working with the kids?" he said. "To us, that’s a more professional approach than deriving allocation of resources by a formula that is decades old at this point." Once the BCTF takes a strike vote, it would have 90 days to activate it by taking job action.

Just Posted

Sierra Acton, regional district director for Shawnigan Lake. (file photo)
New parkland in Shawnigan creating connections

Used to created parking for the popular Masons Beach Park

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

Chris Wilkinson
Chris Wilkinson column: This could be the worst thing done to you during the pandemic

As a result, all of us will contend with more ‘scarcity’ thinking and mindset.

The Crofton trailer park home where the bodies of two people were found. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Mom still waiting for answers after daughter and her fiance found dead in Crofton

Pair discovered dead in their Crofton home in May identified as Rachel Gardner and Paul Jenkins

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Fraser Valley toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

One Reconciliation Pole and two Welcome Figures were unveiled during a ceremony in honour of truth and reconciliation on National Peoples Indigenous Day at the Vancouver School District in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday, June 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Horgan marks Indigenous Peoples Day by urging recognition of systemic racism

National Indigenous Peoples Day has been marked in Canada since 1996

Most Read