VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Your kid’s teacher won’t have to coach sports, plan grad ceremonies or take students on field trips when school starts in September.
They will, however, have to hold parent-teacher interviews.
“I find that the union has not declared or authorized an unlawful strike by directing its members to refrain from participating in activities which occur outside of class time/instructional hours,” says Labour Relations Board vice-chair Ritu Mahil in a ruling that was handed down Friday. “However, I find that the union has declared or authorized an unlawful strike by directing or authorizing its members to withdraw from activities which, although they occur in instructional hours, may nonetheless be part of their work duties.”
BC Teachers Federation President Susan Lambert calls the ruling a significant legal victory because it clarifies the difference between voluntary and non-voluntary work.
She says parents will also get to meet with their kid’s teacher.
“That doesn’t change very much what will happen in September because our members will be doing those activities,” Lambert says. “Some districts and locals across the province have those happening during instructional time and some don’t, so those practices will continue in those districts and locals.”
Education Minister George Abbott says the union shouldn’t urge its members to withdraw from activities like coaching, even though LRB says it is free to do so.
“I’ve always said it is up to individual teachers to decide whether to volunteer,” Abbott says. “All British Columbians should be free to volunteer in their communities. I hope that all teachers who continue to give of their own time to help children will able to do so without fear of union retribution.”
The BCTF and the province have been involved in a bitter contract dispute.
The two sides are currently in a cooling off period.
Back in April, teachers stopped doing extra-curricular activities like coaching sports teams.
The BC Public Schools Employers Association is also pleased with the ruling.