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Teachers’ view on job action vs. government lockout
A document was sent home to parents last week called “Information for parents during BCTF Strike Action.”
This document did not come from the BCTF. It completely lays out the BCPSEA’s (B.C. Public School Employers’ Association) position and is full of inaccuracies and omissions.
The document states teachers are “not to start work more than 45 minutes before or after their classes.”
Yet, in the original letter from BCPSEA that outlined the partial lockout, teachers were “directed” not to attend their workplace during those times. This is a very significant difference.
When teachers are directed to do something, they can be disciplined by the employer if they do not comply. Our employer directed us not to attend the site. For us, the worksite extends to the employer’s website as well.
None of these lockout provisions make sense. The employer is not even enforcing their own lockout.
I believe it’s deliberately made to be confusing and incoherent, for teachers, administrators and parents.
In an effort to clarify what it all means, here is a summary of the differences between what was happening under the BCTF strike compared to what is happening under the BCPSEA lockout.
Under the terms of the BCTF Phase 2 strike:
- Teachers are on rotating strikes around the province (every district is out for one day per week)
- During the other four days, our Phase 1 action would continue, which meant :
- no attendance at staff meetings or a number of other meetings with administration
- no routine printed or electronic communication between teachers and administration
- no mandated supervision of students outside of class time
- many teachers had their classrooms open at lunch time so groups of students congregated there and there was informal supervision
- teachers provided extra help to students that needed it during recess or lunch breaks
- teachers could use their recess and lunch breaks to do extra preparation and marking
- teachers were not working on the school site prior to one hour before classes commenced or past one hour after classes ended; however teachers continued to do marking, preparation, evaluation including report cards, communication with parents etc. from home
- teachers were going on field trips with their classes that lasted all day and often beyond the “bookends” of the day as they were allowed to supervise their classes during lunch
- teachers could attend Pro D events at any time as long as they were facilitated by other teachers
Under the terms of the BCPSEA lockout teachers are directed to:
- NOT do paid work during recess or lunch hours – this means no extra assistance for students during these hours, no use of this time to prepare classrooms or materials, no supervision of students on a field trip which is why many field trips had to be canceled.
- NOT attend the workplace earlier than 45 minutes before or 45 minutes after instructional time, (we consider the school district’s website as part of their workplace) – this means the only prep time teachers have are within these two 45 minute windows – many teachers have expressed it will be impossible to complete report cards under these lockout terms.
- NOT substitute any other work for the work struck in stage 1 job action.
- NOT evaluate educational programs as per School Regulation Section 4.1(g) - this applies only to curriculum evaluation etc. (not evaluation of students’ work).
- NOT attend department, grade level, staff committee, class organization, school organization, collaborative and /or professional learning community meetings - this means we cannot meet to organize classes school for next year.
- NOT attend any Pro-D activities or in-service other than those scheduled on a NID.
- NOT substitute other work in place of the above regardless of where or when it is performed (including taking work home).
The government/employer is directing teachers NOT to do this work, so that they can justify a 10 per cent wage cut.
Teachers in Campbell River had 10 per cent of their wages deducted from their paycheques at the end of May.
However, the employer invites us to volunteer our free time to do extra-curricular or other voluntary activities. This borders on the ridiculous!
So we are advising teachers not to volunteer any of their free time until the employer lifts this lockout or we reach a negotiated agreement at the bargaining table.