A group of parents is organizing a protest in support of binding arbitration to end the B.C. teachers' strike.
One of the parents, Nadia Roberts, told the Georgia Straight by email that the "entirely parent-driven, grassroots effort" is being coordinated by a small group using Facebook.
The rally will take place on Sunday (September 14) at 10 a.m. in the Vancouver Art Gallery's north plaza. Participants are asked to bring signs, noisemakers, and, of course, their kids.
The protest's Facebook event page states:
We all want students back in school now. Eighteen months of negotiation and mediation have failed. This is a grassroots parent-driven rally to make our voices heard. The organizers are parents who have never met but have banded together through Facebook for the common goal of schools resuming.
On Wednesday (September 10), the B.C. Teachers' Federation announced its members had voted overwhelmingly in favour of ending the strike if the province agrees to binding arbitration. 30,490 of the 30,669 teachers who cast ballots, or 99.4 percent, voted yes.
In his announcement of the results, BCTF president Jim Iker stated:
The BC Liberal government’s refusal to accept binding arbitration is now the only reason children won’t be back in class.
Every single one of those MLAs must ask themselves what is the real reason they are keeping schools closed.
For his part, Education Minister Peter Fassbender issued a statement on Wednesday evening, reaffirming his rejection of binding arbitration. Fassbender said:
As we have consistently made clear, binding arbitration would lead to unacceptable tax increases in this case. That's because the two sides remain too far apart on wages and benefits.
The best way to resolve this labour dispute remains at the negotiating table.
On Sunday, parents will have their say.