BCPSEA declares teachers's recent withdrawal an unlawful strike
The B.C. Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) applied to the B.C. Labour Relations Board (BCLRB) Wednesday, May 9 for relief from the recent B.C. Teachers’s Federation (BCTF) withdrawal of extracurricular activities.
The labour relations board is expected to meet with BCPSEA at or around 9:30 a.m. on Friday, May 11 to announce whether it feels teachers are participating in an illegal strike action by withdrawing extracurricular involvement.
BCPSEA, who represents all the school districts in the province, said in their application letter to the board that:
“BCPSEA has applied to the LRB for a declaration that the BCTF and its members have declared or authorized or are engaging in an illegal strike, contrary to the Labour Relations Code and the Education Improvement Act. The application also asks for orders that the BCTF and its members cease from declaring, authorizing or participating in an illegal strike and that BCTF rescind its direction and advice to members to refuse to perform certain work.”
“These activities have clearly been coordinated and directed by the BCTF. Teachers are not withdrawing from either Required or Optional Duties based upon their individual choice but are, instead, acting in concert in a manner that constitutes a strike. The concerted withdrawal of all of these teacher duties has negatively curtailed the services available to students and parents, both in relation to ongoing educational support and the continuation of extracurricular activities.”
Teachers began withdrawing their involvement in extracurricular activities like coaching school teams after school hours, taking students on field trips outside of school hours and even graduation ceremonies as of Monday, April 23.
In this district, the annual elementary track and field meet was cancelled as a result of the withdrawal and the graduation ceremonies are being organized by parents and administrators.
This withdrawal of services is in reaction to Bill 22 and is part of a secret action plan the BCTF is slowly rolling out as need be.
Bill 22, or the Education Improvement Act, became law on March 17, 2012. As part of Bill 22 both BCPSEA and the BCTF are in a “cooling off” period until August 31, 2012. During that time strikes and lockouts are prohibited and the conditions of the previous collective agreement, which expired in June 2011, remain active. A mediator has been appointed to lead the negotiations between BCTF and BCPSEA.
When asked about the new application on Wednesday, May 9, Boundary Teachers’s Association president Norm Sabourin hadn’t heard about it yet.
However, he wasn’t surprised.
“They are going after the association (BCTF) for directing teachers,” said Sabourin. “But when there was a province-wide vote on the new action plan teachers themselves have directed teachers.”
Sabourin said BCPSEA is doing anything to get the BCTF into trouble with the government. If found in violation of the “cooling off” period and in an illegal strike as the BCPSEA application claims, the BCTF could face hefty fines.
To see more, click on this link: http://www.bcpsea.bc.ca/publications/overview/whats-new/12-05-09/BCPSEA_Applies_to_the_Labour_Relations_Board_for_Relief_