NEWS RELEASE · 8th September 2014
The Kitimat District Teachers Association rallied in down town Kitimat on Friday, September 5th. Teachers were out banging pots and pans and drumming up public support.
“The purpose of today is to keep public awareness around the issues of class size and composition,” said Dave Durrant who led the rally. “It sure seems like we have a heck of a lot of support today.”
He explained the issue is not around salary, it’s about class size and composition. He explained the students need to be treated like individuals rather than as numbers.
“The larger the class, the less a teacher can meet the individual needs of the students regardless of its composition, particularly, of course, when there are students with special needs and learners that aren’t as independent as others,” said Durrant. “Class size and composition has been a problem in Kitimat since 2002 when it was illegally stripped from our collective agreements,.”
Mayor Joanne Monaghan and Councillor Rob Goffinet marched with the teachers as did School Board Trusties Linda Campbell and Raymond Raj. Other local unions including Unifor came out to support the teachers.
The teachers walked from Centennial Park alongside Lahakas to the Hospital and then back to the park through the downtown core. They traveled to the overpass and back down to the mall.
“This was fabulous to see the other unions here. It was really exciting. Parents… kids… this was a really good turn out,” said Kim Meyers, KDTA President. “It’s not just teachers, the public’s involved now too.”
Durrant thanked the parents for their support and understanding the inconvenience the strike is causing.
“We believe it in the long term future of public education in British Columbia,” said Durrant.
In addition, the BC Teachers Federation called for binding arbitration “Today, the BCTF is calling on BCPSEA and the BC Liberal government to agree to binding arbitration,” said BCTF President Jim Iker in a press release on Friday.
Binding Arbitration would mean bringing in a neutral 3rd party who would listen to the facts and develop the language that the government and the teachers would have arrived at if they had spoken to each other.
“BC teachers remain 100% committed to improving the learning conditions of our students,” said Iker. “Every single one of our students deserves more than this government is currently giving them.”