The British Columbia Teachers' Federation has been in a contract dispute with their government, and spent several days striking in advance of the school year. Their members recently voted to enter binding arbitration -- now their elected officials must agree to it!
Below is our letter:
September 12, 2014
Dear Premier Clark and Minister Fassbender,
WE write in support of our sisters and brothers in the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation and ask that the BC Government agree to arbitration of the collective agreement. Teachers are currently striking in order to improve classroom conditions for their students: as a striking teacher said this week, "The primary point is getting funding for students, for getting more staff, for getting correct class sizes." Teachers, school staff, and honest education researchers know that these things are extremely important in order to give students the education they deserve.
The BCTF has reasonably asked for this long-term dispute to go to binding arbitration. Binding arbitration is a fair and standard labor-relations practice that allows an impartial third party to mediate contentious disputes and guide fair solutions. If the government would agree to this, the schools could open quickly and students and teachers could get back to work.
Most stakeholders in British Columbia are behind this rational solution—everyone from teachers to parents to mayors and newspapers support sending this labor dispute to binding arbitration. Why does the government resist a fair and neutral process?
As fellow working educators and social justice unionists, WE respectfully ask that the government of British Columbia agree to put these issues to binding arbitration so that teachers and students can get back to teaching and learning.
The Caucus of Working Educators
A Caucus of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA