News

Revelstoke teachers take to the picket lines

Revelstoke Secondary School teachers Jeff Colvin and Sarah Vincent join their colleagues in picketing outside RSS Tuesday morning. - Alex Cooper/Revelstoke Times Review
Revelstoke Secondary School teachers Jeff Colvin and Sarah Vincent join their colleagues in picketing outside RSS Tuesday morning.
— image credit: Alex Cooper/Revelstoke Times Review

Revelstoke teachers took to the picket lines on Tuesday — their day to take part in a series of rotating strikes by teachers across British Columbia.

"It's nice and sunny so that makes it a little bit easier," said teacher Jason Stevens, who is the union representative for Revelstoke Secondary School.

Teachers hung around and held up signs — some that were provided by the B.C. Teachers Federation and some that were made by sympathetic students.

The teachers and the province are in the middle of a very public negotiation for a new contract.

Teachers are asking for raises after going without in the last two-year contract, but the main sticking point is class size and composition.

The union wants class size and composition language re-instated into the contract after it was stripped away by the BC Liberal government more than a decade ago. Recent court rulings have ordered the language re-instated, but the government is resisting.

"I appreciate the government would have to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to adhere to the court decision, but the union can't give up on something that the courts have said you were in the right," said Stevens. "The government has provoked you to strike, the government has violated the charter of rights and freedoms. How as a union can you say you'll forgo that and we'll forgive you? It's something we've got to fight for."

In Revelstoke, where class sizes are generally smaller than the provincial average, composition is the main issue, with a large number of special needs students in many classes.

Stevens also said that a wage increase is important after not seeing one in three years. "It's not that we're trying to get ahead of the game, but we can't keep falling behind," he said.

The dispute has escalated in recent weeks, with the teachers' decision to strike followed by the province's decision to lockout teachers outside of classroom time and dock their pay.

Classes resume on Wednesday.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

VIDEO: Witnesses describe scene at Parliament Hill; Raw footage of Ottawa shootings
 
Local charity joins fight against Ebola
 
Security stepped up in B.C. after attacks in Ottawa
Tri-City MPs safe after Parliament Hill shooting
 
ELECTION 2014: Endorsements for Port Coquitlam candidates
 
Alleged car keyer identified, says Coquitlam RCMP
Silverdale Nightmare Haunted House opens this week
 
SCHOOL BRIEFS Kudos to hockey-playing cop
 
Wire theft shuts down phones