Teachers craft plan to resist Bill 22

Almost 700 delegates at the B.C. Teachers’ Federation’s annual general meeting this week developed an action plan to resist Bill 22.

Teachers will vote next month on a plan to protest Bill 22 that includes withdrawing from voluntary extra-curricular activities and the possibility of a future vote on a full withdrawal of services.

Almost 700 delegates at the B.C. Teachers’ Federation’s annual general meeting this week developed an action plan to resist Bill 22, provincial legislation that appoints a mediator to facilitate bargaining and suspends job action by teachers for a period of time.

Teachers provincewide will vote on the plan April 17-18.

“It’s a strong plan and it’s a united plan,” said Susan Lambert, BCTF president, during an online press conference. “We cannot be compliant. Government can rethink this legislation.”

The union maintains that Bill 22, passed into law last week, will undermine the quality of public education in B.C. and infringes on teachers’ bargaining rights.

The action plan includes a legal challenge of Bill 22, voting on withdrawing from extra-curricular activities, such as coaching sports teams and running student clubs, and the possibility of a future vote on a full withdrawal of services if members feel this is necessary.

Local teacher associations in about a dozen school districts, not including Nanaimo, have already voted independently to withdraw participation in extra-curricular activities.

Derek DeGear, president of the Nanaimo District Teachers’ Association, said he will go back to members and determine whether there is support for this plan.

“People are upset, devastated is a good word,” he said. “To us this is just a further attack on teachers, to our rights as workers. I think our members are going to react strongly.”

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