The teacher strike here in BC has recently started and it sure is loud and chaotic in certain high traffic areas here. For those who are not entirely aware of this labor strike, one of the reasons why it is a little more controversial than a typical strike is that recently a law was passed here which made education an essential service and therefore technically teachers that are protesting are breaking the law as it is an illegal strike. Union leaders are saying that it is simply “civil disobedience” as it needs to be done to do what’s right. I’ve been watching the news, reading debates online and talking to others about how they felt about the situation and as expected there are a lot of mixed opinion.
Most of my conversations ended up on just how much teachers make and whether or not it was a livable/fair income. Based on the data provided on the British Columbia Teacher’s Federation site, a top earner averages about $63,737 per year and about $42,707 for starters. Every industry and profession is obviously different, but just for reference the minimum wage right now is $8 an hour or $16640 at 40 hours per week a year. Because of those figures, I’m personally leaning towards the side saying that a teacher’s salary is perfectly livable. If a person is complaining that it is not enough in regards to being able to live and pay off finances, I would think that the person just simply has a hard time managing their money in general. To me, it’s just another example of people assuming that the only way to solve their financial situations is to simply make more money.
Another reason that was brought up for striking is that teachers are demanding that issues such as classrooms with 30+ students should be reduced and how currently these students will also consist of ones who require special needs which make it difficult for them to provide the best for each student. Now these are the type of issues that myself and the rest of the people I talked with were more inclined to agree with as conditions that should be addressed. If the protest was based solely on issues like that, then I would personally be more inclined to agree with the teachers. In my opinion, you choose a profession with a general expectation on how much you’ll earn and what type of conditions you will have to go through. As an over exaggerated example, I’m sure an actor would love to make an extra million in doing a certain film, but if he starts to say that he should earn an extra million because he has too many lines to memorize, I personally wouldn’t be very supportive of that.
This issue is probably going to drag along for awhile, so it will be interesting to see what happens.