Some things just need to be said...

Friday, October 21, 2005

Teachers determination prevails

The BCTF has won!

Yesterday I wrote that the Gordon Campbell BC Liberal government was caught off guard when they thought the people of this province would slaughter teachers if they went out on an illegal strike. He could not have been more wrong.

Further it must of surprised the Campbell BC Liberals to see over 1,000 people at a rally in support of teachers today in Kelowna. Remember, Kelowna in the last election solidly returned the lack luster and largely incompetent Liberal MLA, Sindi Hawkins.

The mood today was one of determination. Some 7,000 CUPE members walked off the job in a day of protest in the Okanagan and interior. I have never witnessed the kind of solidarity here that was displayed today. If the Ready recommendations are accepted, it will prove the value of that solidarity.

Over the last year teachers have been trying to negotiate a collective agreement with people that have no power to negotiate anything. Consider this, the employers of teachers have no money and Government was saying no to wage increases so they cannot talk wages with the teachers. The government removed many working condition issues from the teachers collective agreement so the employer was sitting across the table for over a year and not once could they offer money or a change in working conditions.

The Ready document is a clear win for Teachers. The teachers resolve in the face of a government that misused its power for partisan purposes is remarkable. Those that have critisized Jinny Sims as being out of touch, being unreasonable must now realize she did not make these decisions unilaterally. She took direction from teachers that said enough is enough and she lead them to a potential settlement if the Ready recommendations are accepted by the government.

The effort of CUPE members to support teachers also had positive impact. Ready has pulled the BC Liberal government back from the precipice. If the teachers had faced huge fines, and they may still feel the weight of the law, and Ready not come up with a common sense report would it have been long before the entire province would have faced one gigantic general strike? BC Fed President Jim Sinclair also demonstrated good leadership throughout the dispute.

Good on all of you!

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