Nelson BCTF teachers picket at the approach to the orange bridge in Nelson last Friday as part of rotating strikes. A full on strike began today for BCTF teachers.

Schools closed as strike starts

Can the BC Teachers Federation and BC Public Schools Employers' Association bridge the gap?

The BC teachers’ strike is on. Nelson public schools, like the rest of the province, sat virtually empty as teachers took to the picket lines today.

The BC Teachers Federation (BCTF) had submitted a revised proposal to BC Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA), the bargaining agent for BC’s 60 school boards, on Friday, June 13.

Late on Sunday the BCPSEA came back with a counter offer that the BCTF spent Monday reviewing.

However an agreement has yet to be reached.

The BCPSEA has posted on their webpage a backgrounder comparison chart, as they see it, of the key proposals the two sides now have on the table.

Meanwhile BCTF president Jim Iker continues to push that any bargained agreement must address class sizes and composition. On Friday, June 13, the Nelson District Teachers’ Association (NDTA) teachers picketed at the approach to the orange bridge as part of the final day of rotating strikes by the BCTF.

NDTA President Paul Boscariol said Nelson District teachers picketed off of school district properties to bring a heightened awareness to the strike action. Boscariol said that Salmo teachers picketed along Highway 6 in Salmo while Slocan Valley teachers picketed at the junction of Highways 6 and 3A.

It also meant that ancillary school staff, like custodians, educational assistants, and other CUPE members, could attend schools without crossing BCTF picket lines on Friday.

With full withdrawal of teachers services as of Tuesday, June 17, students will not be able to attend school other than the arrangements that are made for provincial exams which has been deemed an essential service by the BC Labour Relations Board so marks can be provided for graduating students applying for post-secondary education.

Provincial bargaining with the BC Teachers’ Federation and the BCPSEA resumed on October 30, 2013. The BCTF contract expired in June 2013.

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