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Teachers rally in downtown Campbell River
Campbell River teachers held a protest rally and march in downtown Campbell River today.
"Teachers are so angry over what happened we decided to have a rally," Elaine Thompson, president of the Campbell River District Teachers Association said before setting off from Spirit Square through the downtown streets. "The employer rejected everything. So that was like the straw that broke the camel's back. People are angry."
An exchange of proposals between the B.C. Teachers' Federation (BCTF) and government negotiators on the weekend dissolved in acrimony today, with a full-scale strike in public schools already underway.
Negotiators for the BCTF and the B.C. Public School Employers' Association (BCPSEA) met until midnight Sunday, as the union moved from rotating strikes to a full walkout with a "study session" on Monday. The two sides contradicted each other on the substance of the wage offers, and each said the next move is up to the other if a deal is to be reached.
BCTF president Jim Iker said a complete strike is "imminent," after union members endorsed the move in their second province-wide strike vote.
Education Minister Peter Fassbender said Monday he is waiting for a response from the union to the latest offer from BCPSEA, which represents the province's 60 school districts. BCPSEA chief negotiator Peter Cameron said Monday he still does not have a full position from the BCTF that clarifies the status of the union's "truckload of benefit proposals."
Cameron said the union's latest wage offer is a reduction from its previous position, but when increased benefit costs are factored in, it is still more than twice as much compensation as other public sector union settlements.