Teachers packaging message with an apple 

Teachers are hoping that an apple a day will help keep upset parents at bay.

They will be handing out apples in Squamish and Pemberton Saturday, Oct. 20 and each one will have one of the teachers’ provincial bargaining objectives attached to it.

"We are hoping to get our message to parents and local community members about what is important to teachers," said Marjorie Reimer, president of Howe Sound Teachers’ Association.

Reimer wants parents to understand what teachers are fighting for so they will support their educators as the contract battle heats up.

"We are bargaining provisions in our contract which will greatly affect students," she said.

Contract talks between the B.C. Public Schools Employer’s Association and teachers have stalled.

A strike vote was taken last week by teachers around the province. The results were not available at deadline but initial results in the Howe Sound district showed almost 100 per cent of teachers in favour of striking.

The unions called for the strike vote saying the B.C. Public School Employers Association (BCPSEA) is trying to strip the contract. The association claims it is seeking changes because the last contract was imposed on them by an NDP government without their support.

No job action would begin until the union is armed with a strike mandate and has issued a 72-hour strike notice.

The Liberals made education an essential service earlier this year. The Labour Relations Board is now determining which teachers and which teaching duties are "essential."

There are several issue at stake including salaries. The employer has offered 7.6 per cent over three years, but the union insists the offer actually amounts to only 2.3 per cent. Teachers have not had a pay rise in nine years.

Other issues include class size, early retirement, special needs teachers and supervision of students outside class time.

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