Teachers and CUPE members began picketing various schools around the district. A deal between the BC Teachers’ Federation and the BC Public School Employers’ Association has still not been reached with less than a week before school would usually start.

Teachers and CUPE members began picketing various schools around the district. A deal between the BC Teachers’ Federation and the BC Public School Employers’ Association has still not been reached with less than a week before school would usually start.

Teachers hit the bricks a week before school set to begin

Lack of deal between BCTF and BCPSEA threatens to push back start of school semester

Local teachers and members of CUPE are back on the picket lines, and with only a week before the time schools are supposed to open, a deal between the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) and the BC Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) has not been reached.

This week, School District 5 sent a letter to parents noting the situation.

“While we are hopeful that the two parties, with the help of external mediator Vince Ready, will find a way to reach a negotiated settlement before schools are due to open, a decision on school opening will likely not be made until this Friday, August 29,” Lynn Hauptman, superintendent of School District 5, wrote in the letter.

Hauptman said if there is a settlement, they expect school to begin on Tuesday, Sept. 2. If there is no settlement, she wrote, many of the Southeast Kootenay schools will be behind picket lines. The BCPSEA may also reintroduce the lockout that was imposed back in June and lifted for the summer.

“If that is the scenario, a withdrawal of service due to strike action and/or a lockout will again impact our ability to provide educational services and supervise students,” Hauptman wrote. “Again we ask parents to not send their children to school.”

That a deal has not been reached has not been for want of trying on the part of the teachers, said Shelley Balfour, President of the Cranbrook and District Teachers Association.

“The teachers have been ready to bargain all summer,” Balfour said on Tuesday.  “Government has been missing in action for most of July. They stepped up a little bit in August. Our president asked on Sunday ‘let’s mediate on Monday’ and we’re still waiting.”

Balfour said time is running short and teachers want to be back in the classroom next week.

“I see a deal being reached,” she said. “I’m very optimistic about next week. I would love to see a deal reached by this weekend, because then teachers would have a chance to go back into their school and get ready for their kids. That is their number one goal: to have the schools open for Monday or Tuesday.”

She said despite the optimism, she is worried it might not happen.

“We have been ready, though,” she said. “Teachers are here on their summer holidays and CUPE is here on their holidays. They’re trying to get the public to pay attention. I want the public to pay attention to the people that work with their kids, not to the government rhetoric. Stop and talk to us if you have any questions.”

She asks parents to come down and talk to the people that work with their kids, and get an idea of what it’s like in schools.

“That would be my goal,” she said. “People need to stop and think of what is actually happening here and not take the government’s word for everything.”

She is also calling on teachers to get a hold of  MLA Mr. Bennett in hopes of helping to find a resolution.

Balfour said an example of what the government has been saying that’s not true is  they’re ready to bargain 24/7.

“That is so far from the reality,” she said. “It took them three weeks to return the phone call from the summer. Behind the scenes is not what is actually happening. What they say to the public is not what’s happening. Absolutely not.”

She also noted that the $40 a day payment to parents with children 13 and younger could be used for anything, from a babysitter to buying smokes, as the criteria for its use is not strict.

Balfour said one student from Mount Baker came up with a figure that the payments would amount $32,000 a day in Cranbrook.

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

Students at Creston Valley Secondary School put together an art installation of a replica residential school room. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Creston students create art installation of residential school room

The replica was decorated with a small bed, school uniform, and notes written with pleas for help

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

1914
It happened this week in 1914

June 13 - 19: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers… Continue reading

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

New research suggests wolves can be steered away from the endangered caribou herds they prey on by making the man-made trails they use to hunt harder to move along. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Culling cutlines, not B.C. wolves, key to preserving caribou herds: researcher

The government has turned to killing hundreds of wolves in an effort to keep caribou around

Gary Abbott (left) and Louis De Jaeger were two of the organizers for the 2014 Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack. Monday, June 21, 2021 is Indigenous Peoples Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 20 to 26

Indigenous Peoples Day, Take Your Dog to Work Day, Onion Rings Day all coming up this week

Most Read