Teachers in Golden took to the streets one last time before the end of the school year to continue their protests over the lack of a new contract with the Provincial Government. The Teachers have been without a new contract for over a year and for the past few months have dedicated a short period of time one afternoon a week to remind local people of the situation they are in.
The outgoing President of the Golden Teachers Association, Bob Wilson, was on hand at the protest.
He thinks it is important for people to remember how this process has affected both the teachers and the students this year.
“All we have right now to show for our years worth of work is Bill 22 which took away our right to legally strike. It imposed this cooling off period where they appointed a mediator who we feel is biased and shouldn’t be the mediator to try and settle the agreement,” Wilson said.
He went on and said some small steps have been made, but whether they can hammer out an agreement by the deadline remains to be seen.
One of the concerns for the teachers is the possibility that the government will force an agreement on them if the mediation fails to work.
“At the end of all of this and I look at what we have been through, I am concerned about the lack of respect for working people in the province. Whether they are employed in the provincial or public sector it seems like our rights are under attack from this provincial government,” Wilson said. “As teachers we will be going back to the classrooms in September and we will work our hardest to ensure that students have what they need to be successful. It would be nice to start the year with a negotiated collective agreement which has provisions that support student learning and respects teachers. Whether that happens remains to be seen.”
Wilson went on and said he has been amazed by the local teachers who have been going out week after week showing their commitment to public education.
“Teachers think this is more than just an election issue. It is a bigger issue than that,” he said.