How did we get here? A timeline of the B.C. teachers’ strike
A tentative deal has been reached between B.C. teachers and the government, and with an end in sight to the long-running strike, we take a look back at how it all happened.
- March 6: When it comes to the teachers’ strike, you could say it all began on March 6. That’s when educators voted 89 per cent in favour of job action, having been without a contract for nine months at that point. “Teachers will not stop writing report cards or communicating with parents,” B.C. Teachers’ Federation president Jim Iker said at the time. The union cited major issues like class size and composition as sticking points.
- April 23: Iker steps up to the microphone again, this time, essentially putting a stop to after-school activities – and saying teachers would no longer supervise students outside of class time or communicate in writing with administrators The move prompted about a dozen school districts across B.C. to cancel recess.
- May 20: The BC Teachers’ Federation, citing the province’s lack of compromise on wages, class room sizes and compositions, announced that Phase 2 of job action was imminent. The teachers said rotating strikes would hit every school district in the province from May 26 to May 29.
- May 26: Teachers launch rotating strikes across the province – picketing some days outside their schools, while teaching other days. This would be the first time parents have to make alternate plans for children displaced by the strike.
- June 4: Teachers drop wage demand by one percentage point, to about 12 per cent over four years, and revealed it would yield on other issues including preparation time, benefits and teaching-on-call compensation.
- June 9-10: Teachers vote on whether to escalate to a full-scale strike. More than 33,300 teachers cast ballots, with 86 per cent in favour. The full-scale walkout begins June 17.
- July 31: After a summer without much talking, B.C.’s finance minister announced childcare money for parents: $40 a day for kids under 13 years of age.
- Aug. 13: Veteran mediator Vince Ready is tapped on the shoulder to try to help resolve the dispute, which at this point has been ongoing for months. Singled out as the “miracle man” who would help end the strike – Ready eventually walks away from the bargaining table – saying the two sides are too far apart.
- Sept. 2: The first day of school comes and goes with no resolution to the strike in sight. Leaders admit neither side is talking as both sides launch a full-scale media blitz to talk about sticking points in the dispute.
- Sept. 8: Teachers make their push for binding arbitration – something the province has already opposed. “We’re committed to what we have said, and we’re hoping government changes its mind,” Jim Iker says. The reply from education minister Peter Fassbender: “With a one word answer, no.”
- Sept. 10: Tensions among both sides reach their climax, as angry parents and students crash one of B.C. Premier Christy Clark’s events. On the same day, striking teachers vote overwhelmingly for binding arbitration – with 99.4% of those who voted in favour.
- Sept. 13: Enter Vince Ready once again. The veteran mediator gathers the two sides at a Richmond hotel to hammer out a tentative agreement. Both sides shut out the media and a tentative deal is finally announced in the early hours of Tuesday, Sept. 16.
Teachers are set to vote on the tentative deal this Thursday, meaning kids could be back in classrooms by Friday or Monday. For the latest updates on the B.C. teachers' strike, follow @CTVVancouver on Twitter.