WINNIPEG—Union delegates representing 540,000 CUPE members across Canada today voted unanimously in favour of an emergency resolution put forward by CUPE BC declaring absolute support for the BC Teachers’ Federation in its ongoing dispute with the provincial Liberal government.
The resolution, a response to Monday’s announcement of Bill 12 (Teachers’ Collective Agreement Act), commits the national union, its BC division and the Hospital Employees’ Union (the health services division of CUPE) to undertake “whatever actions deemed necessary” to provide the BCTF with all the support it requests.
The BCTF will announce the results of its strike vote later today.
“If teachers across British Columbia decide to go on strike as a result of regressive legislation that this government has forced upon them, then our members will be there with them every step of the way—we will be with them on the picket lines,” CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill told delegates on the convention floor, just before the vote.
“It is absolutely atrocious, so soon after the government’s promise to take a more reasonable approach with workers—to consult with us—that they now turn around and bash teachers this way. It’s also more than a little ironic and twisted, given that those same BC Liberals have declared October 5 International Teachers’ Day in B.C.”
The resolution strongly rebukes the Campbell administration for launching yet another legislative attack on collective bargaining rights and for undermining the BCTF’s efforts “to negotiate improved learning conditions for BC students including smaller class sizes and better resources for special needs students.”
Bill 12, the resolution says, will directly impact “future rounds of bargaining for CUPE’s 25,000 school board workers in B.C. and for 45,000 CUPE members in post-secondary education and other sectors.”
O’Neill said the union is asking all its members to be on the alert for more information once the BCTF announces its strike vote.
CUPE BC president