Today is is the last day that the BCTF’s Executive Committee is planning to meet before the end of August. There will then be one final meeting of the Representative Assembly at the end of June. The Annual General Meeting met in late May. What this means is that soon all the critical decisions related to planning and preparing for a possible return to school in the fall must either be made today or at the end of the month, or that emergency meetings will need to be called before the end of August.
The teaching profession is in the midst of an historic moment – right now. Urgent action is called for in this time of crisis and opportunity. With back-to-school in September, coming sooner than most realize, now is the time to engage with BIPOC communities, reflect deeply as a profession on racial injustice, and to collaborate together, with government and other stakeholders, to prioritize making “we’re all in it together” a call for action, solidarity, and justice.
I am a public school teacher in a middle school in northern British Columbia. You, my union, are a lifeline in many ways.
You help me, and other professionals in my part of the province, stay connected to the profession at large. You provide a means for me, and other professionals, to speak up on behalf on the unique challenges and barriers that our students face.
I teach students who are majority Ts’msyen, Haida, Nisga’a, Gitxsan, or of another coastal or inland First Nation. This means my students bring a wealth of culture and resilience with them. My students are (just like the students of all other teachers) smart, creative, curious, fun, and engaging.
“Silence = Death” was a clarion call to action made by AIDS activists in the early days of that pandemic. At a time of willful government neglect, because of who the HIV virus killed, we knew that our survival depended on our voices being heard. What I learned then, when I came out as an AIDS activist in the early 1990s, is that silence always equals death, even now.
British Columbia currently faces more than one crisis; the COVID-19 crisis is one amongst many. We face opioid addiction, child and adult poverty, racism, colonialism, violence against women, and the climate crisis. Each crisis connects to all the others. And all are made worse by the pandemic.
COVID-19 also brings to light long hidden emergencies – made worse by the pandemic. For example, the societal neglect of nursing homes, causing deplorable conditions at some facilities – with low standards of care, overworked staff, and lost lives – is now visible for all to see.
If you listened to this week’s Annual General Meeting of the BC Teachers’ Federation, then you already know that our profession just went through a revolution. Given this, the future of our status as a profession is now at stake. What happens next is up to us. This revolution was not televised. It didn’t need to be. That’s because the meeting was held remotely across many platforms (streaming video of the motions as text, spoken words over the telephone, and online ballots). Glitches aside, the live co-ordination between the three platforms was a marvel, a testament to technical ingenuity in a time of crisis.
The following letter was sent as an email attachment to the BCTF Executive Committee. It recommends that the union no longer suspend advisory committees during COVID-19 and is signed by nine members of the Professional Issues Advisory Committee.
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There’s a common misconception that compromise has a role in the collective bargaining process. But in reality, compromise is never part of the bargaining equation. Here’s why… While one side (or the other) may be compromised*, deals are never reached through compromise. Instead, collective bargaining reflects the limits of each side’s power (perceived, real, or…
Published in TheTyee.ca According to BC Teachers’ Federation president Jim Iker, credit for moving forward in the public school strike goes to the “courageous stand that teachers took for the future of public education.” Thanks to teachers, our public school system is stronger. And thanks to the BCTF and other unions, we’ve learned some valuable…