Alberni teachers start year with job action

Teachers won't be issuing report cards, attending meetings or performing supervision as phase one of their job action. But just a second, the BC Public School Employers Association said.

The BC Teachers Federation has served strike notice and that means some changes will greet School District 70 students when they head back to classrooms on Tuesday.

According to Alberni District Teachers Union president Ken Zydyk, teachers are starting phase one of their job action on the first day back to school.

Lack of progress at the bargaining table both provincially and locally prompted the action, he said.

“We’re disappointed with the lack of progress but we’re united with teachers across the province in this action,” Zydyk added.

Sticking points in the negotiations include salary, benefits, hours of work and paid leave.

Phase one of job action includes a withdrawal of administrative services and staff meetings.

Teachers will also not tend to supervision responsibilities outside of instructional time unless administrators are overwhelmed and safety issues arise.

Report cards will also not be issued to students except for graduation and scholarship requirements.

“The usual November report card will be out if things continue to go the way they have,” Zydyk said.

There are things teachers will still be doing, however. Attendance will still be taken and submitted to the office for parent alert system purposes.

Although teachers won’t be doing report cards they will still communicate with parents on an informal basis about their child’s progress.

A second phase of action involving extra curricular activities is in the queue if bargaining remains bogged down.

Band trips, drama festivals and sports teams are some activities that are considered extra curricular.

Zydyk would not confirm though if the activities would be curtailed under this phase.

A prerequisite to ramped-up job action would require a BC Labour Relations Board definition of essential service, as well as a successful vote by the BCTF sanctioning the action.

“Phase one is what we decided on in June and we haven’t decided on anything else yet.”

There has also been no progress on the class size and composition front, something that puzzles Zydyk.

“The courts were very clear about this point.”

Class size was last discussed in local bargaining last May.

“We believe it’s still an item on the table,” Zydyk said.

Provincial bargaining has been ongoing since Aug. 23.

The teachers’ contract expired across the province on June 30.

Calls to School District 70 superintendent Cam Pinkerton weren’t returned.

According to the BC Public School Employers Association website the BCLRB required teachers to do certain things during phase one.

These things include attending a first-day meeting, class size and composition meetings, and teacher in charge supervision duties.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com