In the late 1960s, teachers in British Columbia began to raise concerns about poor learning conditions for students and poor working conditions for teachers. At the time, teachers bargained locally but the law prohibited strikes and provided for bargaining only salaries and bonuses. Many terms and conditions of work for teachers were contained in the School Act, other legislation or regulation, or determined unilaterally by school boards. Teachers were legally prevented from bargaining class sizes and other learning and working conditions.
Nevertheless, members adopted a unilateral Declaration
of Basic Working and Learning Conditions Rights and embarked on a campaign to
expand our scope of bargaining.The BCTF and teachers around the province
launched a political action and public relations campaign
to highlight the need for better teaching and learning conditions. Through political action, protests, demonstrations, study sessions,
and strikes, teachers worked to expanded their bargaining rights and achieve improvements in working and learning conditions.
The first breakthrough came in 1969 when teachers in Vancouver and Burnaby finally forced their boards to agree to negotiate working and learning conditions contracts.