Dear Parents and Guardians,
The purpose of this letter is to provide you with an update on the provincial labour dispute and, in particular, with respect to whether or not schools will be operating on Tuesday, September 2.
As you are aware, the BC Public School Employers' Association (BCPSEA) and the BC Teachers' Federation (BCTF) reached an impasse with regard to negotiating a new contract and, as a result, on June 17, 2014 the BCTF escalated to a full-scale strike. Unfortunately, there was no resolution to the dispute over the summer months and so the strike is still in place. A glimmer of hope came about this week with the two parties agreeing to meet with Vince Ready, a highly respected mediator. We are hopeful that he can assist in mediating a settlement, but at the time of writing this letter, there is no agreement and the prospect of schools operating on Tuesday following Labour Day remains uncertain.
Our goal as a school district is to get schools in operation as quickly as possible following the lifting of picket lines.
If a settlement and/or resolution to the strike action is reached by early Monday evening, we hope that schools may open on Tuesday with our normal shortened opening day. Parents are encouraged to consult our website (www.vsb.bc.ca) and follow the local media for announcements over the long weekend.
The safety and security of our students is our highest priority. Should any students arrive at school if picket lines are in place, our school administrators will ensure that they are cared for until they can be safely returned to their homes under the supervision of a parent or guardian.
I am sorry that the normally exciting beginning to a new school year has been reduced to this high level of uncertainty. We have an outstanding public education system in British Columbia and I am proud of the hard work and support provided by all staff in this complex school district.
It is my hope that the labour impasse is resolved quickly at the bargaining table and that our school district can soon return to normal operations.
Thank you for your understanding during this difficult time.
Dr. Steve Cardwell
Superintendent of Schools
c. Vancouver Board of Education
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