Why I Don’t Know Whether I’ll Vote Yes

I recently re-blogged a post from The Coal Mine, a blog written by an eloquent BC teacher who explains the current situation between the provincial government and the BCTF.

(I’d hoped to add his post to this one. Unfortunately my technological skills are sadly lacking so they are two separate posts, appearing days apart.)

Today we all vote on whether to ramp up our rotating strikes to a full on withdrawal of service. I know how The Coal Mine will vote.

I’m still unsure how I’ll vote.

Don’t get me wrong. I agree with all his points, but I feel a sense of powerlessness when I consider the injustice of the situation. (The provincial government has been found guilty of illegally stripping the teachers’ contract and bargaining in bad faith by two different courts. They have been ordered to repair the damage to the system and pay the union’s legal fees. Have they complied? Of course not! After over ten years and who knows how many gazillion dollars that could have energized the school system, the government has appealed yet again.)

So why haven’t I decided whether I’ll vote in favour of increased job action?

Partly because I have a sick feeling resistance is futile.

I’ve learned the government is above the law and the courts don’t actually carry any weight. (Don’t like the verdict?–appeal!) The party with the deepest pockets will always win because eventually the other side runs out of money fighting the endless appeals.

The stress is getting to me. I’m grumpy, snapping at everyone in the family. (Well, everyone except the dog because you have to draw the line somewhere.)

I just want an end to this conflict.

Sure, our public education system is limping along, getting a little worse every year, but maybe it’s gotten beyond the point where a group of teachers standing up to the provincial government can fix it.

That’s why I don’t know how I’ll vote later today.

11 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Know Whether I’ll Vote Yes

  1. Unfortunately it seems to be the same in most western countries these days. If the govt doesn’t like the courts decision they appeal, or in certain cases they change the law. Am sure that you made the right choice for you and your students. We can only vote or act within our conscious…

    • It’s a very discouraging situation, and it keeps getting worse. We got our mid-month pay statements today. Because of the partial lock out, we’re already docked 10% for the days we work. In addition to this, our school district took 70% off our salary in case we go on strike in the future.

  2. I share your feelings of frustration. I am part of the US public school system (but only as a parent with kids in public school) and I am constantly frustrated by the situation that exists between teacher’s unions and the state. In our case, I think the fault lies on both sides of the conflict, however. Don’t give up, however. The system is there for a reason. Use it until you are satisfied. Vote your conscience…that’s why they gave you a vote in the first place.

    • I’m the parent of a child in public school as well, so I see the impact of a decade of cuts both as a teacher and as a mom. All this labour unrest is frustrating to say the least. In the end my “mom experience” influenced my vote as much as my “teacher experience” did.

  3. Don’t give up! You can’t stand up for every single thing you believe in, but sometimes you just have to pick one and stick with it, this sounds so important to you, I hope you succeed.

  4. I can empathize with you entirely. I think I got out of education because I couldn’t cope with the nonsense any more. No sure really. It was a “deep-down” intuitive thing.

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