Teachers’ strike, week one

  • Oct. 11, 2005 3:00 p.m.

Teachers on the islands should be safe, but teachers’ union executives may face jail time due to the province-wide teachers’ strike, says Duncan White, president of the Queen Charlotte District Teachers’ Association.
The BC Supreme Court ruled Sunday that teachers are in contempt of court for disobeying a ruling deeming their strike illegal.
The penalty for contempt is up to the courts, but technically, teachers could be risking jail sentences, says Mr. White. The BC Teachers’ Federation finds out today (Thursday) whether fines and jail time are pending.
“They typically go after heads of the organization before going after teachers,” says Mr. White.
If the courts extend this to local union executives, Mr. White, the local union executive, is prepared to accept the consequences.
“Our aim is not to defy the law. We are taking a stand against injustice to the education system and the working people,” he says. Imagine the logistics of throwing 42,000 teachers in jail, he also said.
Teachers province-wide started striking Friday to show their anger over Bill 12, legislation that freezes their wages and extends their current contract until the end of the school year. They also want a cap on class size and a restoration of learning conditions for students included in their contracts.
The government is hiding behind the courts and is not addressing the real issues, according to Mr. White.
And he compares the fight to the civil rights movement in the 1960s. “There comes a point in people’s lives that the sheer injustice means you need to take a stand.”
Parents have scrambled to find child care for school-age children since Tuesday, the first day the strike had an impact here following the professional development day Friday and the long weekend.
Michelle Prouty of Skidegate says the strike is having a large effect on her family, because there are no full-time child care programs for her two older daughters.
She was lucky to be able to work from home for a few mornings, but she is heading off island so her husband will have to stay home to look after the girls. That means five days without pay for him.
Still, she fully supports the teachers in their job action.
“They are trying to make my children’s lives better,” she says.
As a Hospital Employees Union member, she understands what they are doing.
A 2004 HEU strike was brought on by an imposed contract and the union was fined $150,000 for defying back to work legislation, the largest fine levied against a trade union for contempt of court in B. C. history.
Meanwhile other labour leaders and unions have united behind the teachers and staged province-wide rallies on Tuesday.

Just Posted

Immediate deal to reinstate AMHS in Prince Rupert not out of the question: Mayor Brain

B.C., Alaska officials fail to sign ferry deal in Juneau to reinstate service from Ketchikan

‘It affects everybody:’ Trudeau’s brownface photos worry Wet’suwet’en chief

Skeena-Bulkley Valley Liberal candidate declines to comment on prime minister’s indiscretion

Haida Gwaii art gala seeks submissions

Annual fundraiser supports local artists and programs

PHOTO GALLERY: Masset takes off on Terry Fox Run

More than $1,000 raised for Terry Fox Foundation

VIDEO: B.C. man accused of assaulting sex worker loses temper in interrogation

Defence lawyer says statements made by accused Curtis Sagmoen should be deemed inadmissible

Second bat found at Greater Victoria elementary school tests positive for rabies

Island Health confirms second rabies case, this time in Saanich

B.C. man guilty of first-degree murder in Yukon killing

Edward James Penner, 22, was given the mandatory life sentence for the 2017 slaying of 25-year-old Adam Cormack

Woman stabbed at least five times in Nelson during random attack

Victim is in hospital, suspect is in police custody

Victoria man spots online photo of his totem pole 11 years after it was stolen

Mark Trueman restored the pole himself before it was stolen off of his property in Duncan

‘I’d do it again,’ says B.C. man who swam naked, drunk in Toronto shark tank

David Weaver, of Nelson, was drunk when he went to Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto on Oct. 12 2018

How to react to Trudeau’s racist photos? With humility, B.C. prof says

‘We are now treating racism as a crime that you cannot recover from’

Horvat paces Canucks to 6-1 pre-season win over Oilers

Vancouver improves to 3-1 in NHL exhibition action

‘Unacceptable’: What politicians have to say about Trudeau in blackface

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi: ‘When I saw that picture last night, certainly it was a sucker-punch’

Most Read