Thursday, May 22, 2014

I am just so confused - Reflections on the Lockout

This has been such a WTF day.  BCPSEA has imposed a partial lockout on British Columbia teachers effective Monday the 26th.  They have instructed us, in a letter sent to the BCTF yesterday, to refrain from working with students at recess and lunch (which are our break times) and to not be physically present at our work-site 45 minutes before and after the commencement of our day. To clarify what is happening in phase 1, teachers refused to do supervision, accept emails from administration and hold formal meetings.  Teachers continued to provide supervision when there were safety concerns and meet with administration to discuss all aspects of their job, students, field trips, etc. IN PERSON.  That certainly doesn’t come close to a 10% reduction in work, so let’s just think about this. 

BCPSEA explains their strategy thusly:

9. Why were teachers instructed not to report to work more than 45 minutes in advance
of the start of the instructional day or to stay more than 45 minutes past the end of
the instructional day?

By restricting the length of time teachers are to spend at the work site, we are emphasizing
the reduction of their usual work day and duties. The accepted teacher work day is just over
nine (9) hours per day, which is now reduced in both length and required duties. The
resulting 10% loss of pay is directly related to this lockout from usual required work and time
at the work site.

A couple of hmms in here for me - First, the admittance that a teacher’s work day does in fact extend over a nine hour period on average (finally) and that because we are not doing that usual workday - we get a 10% reduction in wages.  The second is how can we be docked pay for not working through our breaks?  That doesn't make sense.  It could be that teachers are now responsible for 10% less duties and responsibilities   Or are they?

5. Are teachers locked out from any part of the student instructional day?

No. Teachers are still required to complete all usual instructional duties and school day
services to students. Refusal to complete any such duties may constitute an expansion of their strike and result in a further loss of pay.

OKAY - we have to carry out all our duties or risk a further wage loss - thought we are already losing 10%.  But extracurricular and voluntary activities are impacted by that 45 minutes restriction and that accounts for the reduced work day, right?  WRONG.

3. Are teachers locked out or “banned” from participating in extracurricular activities
such as graduation ceremonies, awards ceremonies, sports events, and year-end

No. Teachers are free to participate in all extracurricular activities, including on school
property. There is nothing in the lockout that prevents BCTF members from continuing to
participate in such activities as graduation, sports, and awards events. If teachers choose
not to participate in such activities, they do so as a result of their own decision.

This is where it gets beyond confusing - If we can’t stay past 45 minutes, how do we participate?  If we don’t participate, that is because we decided not to.  If we don’t honour BCPSEA’s direction to not attend our workplace outside of the 45 minutes before and after the commencement of our work, what happens?   Fines, discipline, termination?  Our fearless leaders in action…….This has confirmed for me without a doubt that they have NO IDEA what our job is.