While both sides in B.C.’s ongoing teachers’ dispute are talking about “mediation” but still remain far apart on key contract issues, teachers and parents gathered in Langley last night to voice their frustrations.
Roughly 60 people showed up to the forum called “Why are Teachers Still Striking?” sponsored by the Langley Teachers Association. Despite the uncertainty heading into the fall, teachers appear to remain united.
“The last ten years of cuts have been so damaging to schools that if my union decides that we must take further political action then I will support them entirely,” said one teacher during the public forum.
“I think we should keep going with what we are going, we have to stay united, and you know I think our greatest time of strength will be in September.”
While dozens of teachers and parents discussed the current state of contract talks with the employer, the president of the Langley Teachers Association took some heat for the local’s tactics over the summer months.
Langley Fine Arts teacher Lorraine Goulet questions why teachers are being asked to picket empty schools.
“I really honestly in my heart of hearts don’t feel it was in our best interest, as teachers in the public opinion, to be picketing an empty school, and keeping janitors from doing their work, and picketing down at the school board office, and preventing CUPE members from doing their work.”
Gail Chaddock-Costello responded by saying CUPE members will be reimbursed for money lost during the strike once the local ratifies its new contract, and picketing at the school board office ended on Friday.
Some teachers feel it’s time for the BC Federation of Labour to direct other unions to go on strike in solidarity with them.