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Striking teachers will not picket schools; HSA members in schools advised to report for work

As therapists, counsellors, youth workers, and in many other professions, HSA members regularly work at schools across BC.

Members of the BC Teachers Federation will withdraw services next week as part of their legal strike in their efforts for free collective bargaining for a new contract. However, the withdrawal of services does not mean that there will be a picket line at BC schools. HSA members, and others, whose work requires them to enter schools will continue to report to work. You are encouraged to refuse to do work normally performed by teachers. Members are also encouraged to support the teachers efforts by joining them on their information line during non-working hours, including coffee and lunch breaks.

Under the Labour Relations Board order issued last week, BCTF agreed there would not be picket lines at their workplaces. Instead, striking teachers will be at schools handing out information leaflets to the public. Entrance to schools will not be restricted. Teachers have a small window for participating in a legal strike, as Bill 22, legislation introduced by the provincial government this week, bans striking and imposes punitive fines for the BCTF and individual teachers who participate in any illegal job action.

Should you encounter a picket line and be asked not to cross, contact your HSA steward. If you cannot reach your steward, you can call the HSA office at 604.439.0994 or 1.800.663.2017 for advice. Outside of normal office hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST), call 604.328.2886.

-HSA members still remember the outrage of the BC government unilaterally imposing an unfair contract on us in 2001," said HSA President Reid Johnson.

-Negotiation, mediation, and arbitration are all effective paths to a fair settlement. Legislating contracts is provocative and demoralizing. I urge HSA members to support the teachers in their communities," he said.

All members are encouraged to support the striking teachers efforts by joining them on their information lines or other local demonstrations during non-work hours.

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