This morning I got up at the ungodly hour of 5:45 to stand in the cold rain for three hours. I did this as part of the current job action and BC teachers' withdrawal of services. For the next three days teachers all over BC are demonstrating (not picketing! we're not allowed to picket) in protest of illegal contract stripping and the punitive and damaging education legislation that the government is trying to pass.
Being relatively new to BC I was pretty clueless about the history between the union and the government out here. That's not so anymore!
I grew up in a fiercely pro-union family. My (very, very left) grandparents on my mum's side worked to set up unions at Westinghouse in Hamilton, among other places. During Mike Harris' time as premiere in Ontario my dad was on strike for 5 weeks. In grade 10 when my teachers were on strike my mum got us up early to go down with coffee and timbits to support them.
While the job action is frustrating (last week before my two week spring break - I was definitely hoping for a lot of work since I'll be without for a while) it's necessary.
And in an odd way, I am enjoying it. It's exciting! I'm out demonstrating and arguing for something I believe in deeply - something I've decided to dedicate my life's work to.
It also makes me feel closer to all my family members who share these beliefs (most of which aren't around anymore).
Unfortunately I did not get a photo of the adorable student who came out to support us this morning with a "We <3 our Teachers" sign, but I did come across these wonderful Life photos from Francis Miller.
Lake Central Stewardess Strike, 1958.
Dancing Teacher's Strike, 1949
(Maybe I should try introducing a conga line to the demonstration tomorrow?)
**ETA - On Wednesday March 7th and 2pm there will be a rally at the Vancouver Art Gallery in support of teachers. If you're free and want to support us, come on down!