Teachers in School District 51 (Boundary) will next strike on Friday, June 13. Although schools are not in session that day, Norm Sabourin, Boundary District Teachers’ Association president, said having the Friday will allow local teachers to make up lost wages due to the district having a four-day week when most of the province has five.
“Given that we’re on the four day week – every day our teachers are on strike we are deducted in the neighbourhood of 1.25 days of work,” he said. “It may not be exactly that, but we’re deducted much more than one full day or work compared to teachers across the province.”
The math is due to the fact that local students have to compress five days of school into four longer days in order to have the Fridays off.
“Our teachers are getting deducted that longer day,” he said. “This kind of evens things out with teachers from the rest of the province.”
Sabourin said that although there is no school on June 13, teachers will still have some form of protest such as a rally in Grand Forks.
Teachers throughout B.C. will be voting on whether to go on strike on Monday and Tuesday, June 9 and 10. The earliest teachers could go to a full strike would be Monday, June 16.
“The vote is to escalate a job action up to a full strike,” he said. “We could see more days of rotating strikes or we could see a full strike. Ultimately, we’re hoping a strong strike vote will put pressure on the bargaining table to get a deal done. We don’t want to escalate this any further but we feel we are being pushed into a corner.”
Grand Forks Secondary School graduation is planned for Friday, June 13. Sabourin said that grad will not be effected by the teacher strike.
“Advice has been given to teachers that they are not to be participating in the event itself,” he said. “If they want to go in the audience and watch, the union is not preventing them.”
It is unclear about how final exams and grades would be affected in the event of a full strike.
“The union stance would be if we are on strike, we don’t work,” said Sabourin. “If we’re not working we can’t do final exams, we can’t do report cards or any of that. Once that happens we don’t make up struck work. We’re hoping this will put enough pressure on the government to determine they really want final exams, they want report cards to happen, they want all those year end activities to happen’ therefore, they really need to come to the table and bargain in good faith and that won’t happen.”