Teachers in Golden gathered with members of other unions in a sign of solidarity.
The rally was led by President of Golden Teachers‘ Association, Bob Wilson who started off by thanking the people who came out for the event. Wilson said there were members from Municipal CUPE, School District CUPE employees, BC Government and Service Employees’ Union, Hospital Employees’ Union.
“I want to thank all of you for coming. It is great to have all of this support.
Wilson went on to stress the teachers are taking this action for the students they teach and other workers in British Columbia..
“As you all know this isn’t about pay for teachers. You don’t get teachers out here because they are worried about their salaries. You get teachers out here because they are worried about kids,” Wilson said. ” They are worried about the future learning of kids and we are worried about our community. We are worried about workers and workers’ rights. That’s why teachers are making a stand for three days this week.”
He added that with the introduction of Bill-22 the government is essentially ending bargaining for this year.
“The government has introduced Bill-22 which is the Education Improvement Act. The Education Improvement Act seeks to end our collective bargaining session this year. It never had a chance. The government came to the table with no money and they were asking for concessions. Those concessions included giving up seniority, giving up due process of transparency for posting and filling and giving up control of professional development,” Wilson said. “So not only were they not willing to give us anything at the table in terms of salary and benefits, they were seeking concessions that were hard earned, employee rights that we have got over 40 years of collective bargaining with the employer. They have also in this legislation failed to address concerns we have about class size and concerns we have for special needs kids.”
Wilson added this process not only will affect the teachers in B.C. but also all of the unions who will have to negotiate with the province in the future.
“This is something we all face. After our round of negotiations ended with this legislation and subsequent legislation that is going to impose significant concessions. All of you who are not BCTF members…you are all going back to the bargaining table and net zero now has a new name and that is co-operative gains.
Wilson ended his speech analogy about the current situation.
“We are taking a stand now because we know if you give a bully your lunch money on Monday, he will be back on Tuesday for more and he will be back every day after that, he will be back more and more. We need to stand up to this government and say enough is enough. Support workers’ rights and recognize that we are important members in our community.”