I have always had a great deal of respect and admiration for teachers. My family includes several current and former teachers, and I was blessed with mostly excellent teachers during my career as a student, when dinosaurs roamed the earth.
In my experience, teachers are dedicated practitioners of a very noble profession, and most of them go way beyond the minimum that is required. Teachers unions however are another matter. The situation in British Columbia is a nightmare of the first order.
Teachers have been on strike in that province since the middle of June, and this past week Premier Christy Clark got involved. She took several pointed shots at the union, accusing the leadership of sticking with contract demands that are simply out of step with other public sector workers in BC.
Christy Clark: “There’s a 150 thousand other public sector employees that work just as hard, and have settled for far less. They didn’t get a five thousand dollar signing bonus, they didn’t get unlimited massage.”
Yes, the BC Teachers’ Federation does want a $5,000 signing bonus for its members, and ‘unlimited massages’ paid for by the taxpayer. These are the kind of Looney Tunes proposals that you normally hear in the first week of bargaining. In BC they had all summer to move things along, and almost nothing has happened.
There are predictions that the deadlock may drag into October, but hopefully Premier Clark will stop mouthing off and legislate an end to the strike if there’s no other way.
Believe it or not, strikes by teachers are relatively rare in Canada even though they have the right to strike in almost every province, including Saskatchewan. Manitoba teachers gave up the right back in 1956. What has happened on the west coast represents bad management on all sides. There’s plenty of blame to go around, and thousands of victims. The victims are supposedly our future, and they deserve better.
I’m Roger Currie