What to expect Wednesday from the B.C. teachers’ strike: Teachers to vote on arbitration, and a community march

B.C.’s 41,000 teachers have their chance today to vote on whether they should agree to go back to their classrooms as long as the government agrees to binding arbitration in their labour dispute.

But the vote was symbolic from the start – in the days before B.C. Teachers’ Federation president Jim Iker proposed the vote Monday, the B.C. government categorically refused the binding arbitration proposal, saying giving up control of the cost of any settlement to a third party is not something the government will consider.

As the dispute appears increasingly entrenched, other unions and some businesses are stepping up to help. Today, the B.C. Nurses Union plans a “major” announcement regarding support for teachers.

The nurses are next up at the bargaining table and the government has repeatedly indicated any increase in a teachers’ deal beyond its stated parameters could heighten expectations of other unions. The nurses have had their own fractious labour relations with the province in the past, but nurses have an added club in their negotiation arsenal: There aren’t enough of them.

8:15 a.m., East Vancouver

A procession for public education hit the streets around Laura Secord Elementary School from 8:15 to 9, with organizers asking participants to walk slowly and wear black “to signify the many losses that public education has suffered.” As pictured above, our John Lehmann was there.

11 a.m., Burnaby

The B.C. Nurses’ Union is planning an announcement regarding support for striking teachers. Follow @AndreaWoo for more

9 a.m. – midnight, East Vancouver

Commercial Drive taco joint Bandidas Taqueria will be donating 100 per cent of profits to Families Funding Teachers. This will occur each Wednesday throughout the work stoppage.

6 p.m., Vancouver

David Eby, MLA for Vancouver-Point Grey, holds a meeting for community members on the teachers’ strike at Point Grey Community Church, 3512 West 7th Ave.

Teachers will vote, but will the government listen?

The B.C. Teachers’ Federation has organized a vote of its members that will take place in time for results to be available Wednesday evening (UPDATE: at 9:30 p.m.). Expect an overwhelming show of support for arbitration.

From a BCTF flyer:

The teachers of BC have asked the government to enter with us into binding arbitration, the quickest and most fair way to resolve this long and difficult dispute.

Teachers will vote on Wednesday, September 10, to approve the end of the strike if the BC School Employers’ Association agrees to the BCTF’s proposal to enter into binding arbitration.

Within a couple of days, we could see students and teachers back in classrooms, and families back to their busy fall routines.

What’s left out is that it takes two to tango, or at least agree to arbitration, and the province hasn’t moved a centimetre on its position that arbitration will be too costly.

With a report from The Canadian Press