Alberni District Teachers Union President Ken Zydyk and the 300 members of the ADTU are voting Feb. 29 on whether or not to launch into a full scale walk out.

UPDATE – Alberni teachers poised to escalate strike

BC Teachers voted 87 per cent in favour of escalating strike action. In Alberni, 300 teachers participated in the vote.

Alberni Valley families will have to scramble to make arrangements for their school-aged as they face a full-scale teachers’ strike as early as Monday.

The BC Teachers Federation reported Wednesday night that teachers voted 87 per cent in favour of escalating job action: 32,209 ballots cast; 27,946 voted yes. The BCTF was to meet Thursday to discuss next steps.

In Alberni, more than 300 teachers from School District 70 cast their ballots on Wednesday at the Steelworkers Hall regarding legislation that may pass next week. No local voting numbers were available by press time.

The Education Improvement Act introduced by Education Minister George Abbott calls for a cooling-off period, appointment of a mediator and a ban on any strikes, with significant financial penalties to both individuals and the BCTF if there are work stoppages during that six-month period.

“Alberni teachers are angry and feel like they’ve been targeted and bullied,” Alberni District Teachers Union President Ken Zydyk said.

Teachers across B.C. have been without a contract since June 2011.

Abbott’s new bill drastically alters teachers’ working conditions, Zydyk said. For example, principals could dismiss teachers without due process. Employers would be able to arbitrarily assign teaching assignments, and choose professional development projects.

But class size provisions under the new bill are most troublesome, Zydyk said. “There will be no class size limits for Grade 4 and on,” he said. “It will result in worse classroom conditions.”

Mediation is part of Abbott’s bill, but Zydyk denounced the process, saying the arbiter’s marching orders are within the net zero mandate; therefore the matter is a forgone conclusion. “This is not a mediator, it’s someone doing government’s dirty work for them.”

School District 70 trustee Glenn Wong said the district is still studying the bill and therefore couldn’t say too much. “We should have a statement by the end of the week,” he said.

Wong’s personal view, he said, was that the strike would be a particular imposition on high school students.

“They operate on a semester system where every day counts,” Wong said. “If this goes on long then how will students make up for those days?”

Report card… A Facebook group struck by ADSS students is calling for student to walk out of classes in support of teachers on Friday at 9 a.m. “If they (teachers) make us stay then they are doing the same thing as the gov’t,” one student wrote.

Just Posted

ARTS AROUND: Renew your Community Arts Council membership

Port Alberni gallery showcases two different painters

B.C. storm totals $37M in insured damages

The December storm wreaked havoc on B.C.’s south coast

EDITORIAL: Housing prices, balanced market a sign of confidence for Port Alberni

Port Alberni’s real estate market has quietly been breaking some records…

Alberni wrestlers start the new year on the right foot

Alberni wrestlers compete at Wild Cat Wrestling Tournament and Duke’s Cup Dual

BIZ BEAT: Port Alberni pet stores going to the dogs

Animal Ark and Bosley’s add dog washing stations

Trudeau says politicians shouldn’t prey on Canadians’ fears

The Prime Minister was speaking at a townhall in Ontario

Chiasson nets shootout winner as Oilers edge Canucks 3-2

Edmonton moves one point ahead of Vancouver

B.C. chief says they didn’t give up rights for gas pipeline to be built

Hereditary chief: no elected band council or Crown authority has jurisdiction over Wet’suwet’en land

Thieves steal thousands from 140 Coast Capital Savings members

Online fraud tactics included phising and ‘brute force’ in November and December

Condo rental bans may be on way out with B.C. empty home tax

Many exemptions to tax, but annual declarations required

UPDATE: B.C. boy, aunt missing for three days

The pair are missing from Kamloops

Daredevil changes game plan to jump broken White Rock pier

Brooke Colby tells council daredevil event would help boost waterfront business

Liberal bows out of byelection after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

Most Read