Strikes may be a necessary evil from time to time, but nobody truly enjoys them. Not the people walking the picket lines, not the employers — who are usually losing money, or productivity or both — and not the public who often end up being the ones most impacted by job action.
Take the BC teachers rotating strike for example. Yes, the teachers are losing money on the days they strike. Yes, the government is losing popularity points as the work action continues, but the ones most affected are thousands of children and parents.
The students are losing valuable time that could be spent in class. They are missing out on school field trips, plays and in some cases even graduation ceremonies may be hampered.
Parents have to either make arrangements for extra child care on the strike days, or in some cases miss a day of work to stay home with younger kids.
Who do you blame? The teachers? The government? Both?
It really depends on your personal frame of reference. Is the government being cheap or are the teachers being greedy? There’s no simple answer.
However, here in the Kootenay it appears that momentum may have swung in favour of the teachers, all because of a letter written by Dr. Todd Kettner.
A psychologist for the school district, Dr. Kettner has spent more than 70 hours of overtime helping students deal with recent tragedies — the canoe fatalities on Slocan Lake, the death of a parent and other tribulations. He’s a dedicated professional who spends countless hours of his own time helping our kids. His letter details his work, the needs of the students he serves and of the close to $600 deducted from his pay cheque by the government because of the labour dispute. That money has now been refunded.
While his story may not represent every teacher’s experiences, it’s still a powerful tale that can sway public opinion.
In the propaganda games, it’s teachers 1, government 0.