Magazine article New Internationalist

Teachers' Union Victorious

Magazine article New Internationalist

Teachers' Union Victorious

Article excerpt

After more than a decade of arguments in three different courts and thousands of dollars in legal costs, the determination of 41,000 unionized teachers in British Columbia (BC) finally paid off when Canada's highest court ruled in November that the provincial government's contract stripping in 2002 was unconstitutional. The nine Supreme Court Justices took less than half an hour to deliberate before overturning an earlier ruling by the Court of Appeal and validating trial judge Susan Griffin's original decision. This was that the 'unilateral nullification' of working conditions 'substantially interfered' with the union's constitutional right to freedom of association.

The conflict began when BC Premier Christy Clark, who was Education Minister in 2002, stripped the teachers' contract of its clause covering class size and composition restrictions, in order to reduce educational costs. Education funding in the province subsequently fell well below the national average. …

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