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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 19, Number 1, September 2006

President's message

What a school year! Over the last 12 months teachers of this province voted to stand up to the state to defend our rights, our students’ learning conditions, and fair and reasonable salary increases.

The support we received from parents, our communities, and from working people was tremendous. Teachers across Canada and around the world supported our historic stand.

We continued to pursue our goals through the bargaining process and every other venue we could find. We are now proud members of the BC Federation of Labour and the Canadian Labour Congress. These affiliations will provide us with the opportunities to tackle major issues for workers’ rights everywhere, and will ensure the support of labour in our continuing struggle for our students’ right to a quality public education.

On June 30 we signed an agreement-in-committee and this September we ratified a negotiated settlement. What a feat! Did we achieve all of our goals? Absolutely not. Did we make significant progress? Absolutely, yes! We exercised our rights and we forced this government to acknowledge that student learning conditions need to be addressed.

Bill 33 is a baby step in the right direction, and the settlement begins to address the economic welfare of our teachers. All of our gains are due to the passion, courage, and commitment of our members. When we take a collective stand, we make gains. Over the last 12 months BCTF members determined our actions in six provincial votes.

Together we exercised our rights and took a stand. You are my heroes, and I have never been more proud to be a teacher.

What a year!

Jinny Sims

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