March 2005 / Volume 5
Is it time to strike yet?
What is the problem?
Our collective agreement ended
June 30, 2003 after a one-year extension. We have been in negotiations mode ever
since. Highlights to date include:
- Union demand deposit
- Employer offer
- Mediation …
- … leading to right to strike
- Over 30 negotiations meetings
April 2004 – March 2005
Twenty months after the termination
date of our work contract, the government has made no offers nor released new monies to allow real negotiations to occur. Despite the many meetings, no significant progress has been made in any of our major
demands (special education, class sizes, multi-grade groupings, job security in adult and vocational education).
This is akin to two more years
of contract extension … with no salary increases and no solutions to the many problems within our schools.
What are we doing about it?
In two words – A lot!
QPAT teachers, along with our
FSE partners, are presently engaged in a very successful action plan that started small and is gradually building up steam. The “Letter to the Employer”, the Valentine Day “Snapshot”
of classes and the current “Five Days of the Week” actions have received, and are continuing to receive, massive
media attention. To date, hundreds of media items have been published –
the vast majority in support of our demands. And it is not over.
We are, so to speak, “on
a roll”. A momentum has developed and is increasing the pressure on the
government. Our goal is, more than ever, to obtain a settlement by this June.
What more can we do?
We need to push yet harder.
As announced previously in our
action plan, we will seek a mandate for two days of strike – one in April and one in May. In keeping with our union democracy, general meetings with secret ballots will be held in all local unions.
We believe that the very announcement
of this measure sends a tremendously strong message. The government will understand
the necessity to conclude negotiations by the end of June or face a new season of teacher discontent in September.