By Katie Hyslop March 20, 2012 10:42 am
The BC Teachers’ Federation executive committee elections this morning saw incumbent President Susan Lambert keep her position, beating out challenger Rick Guenther by 429 votes to 238.
Lambert, a teacher librarian who began her teaching career in Prince Rupert in the early 1970s, has been president of the teachers’ union since 2010. Lambert ran as a part of “The Coalition,” a slate that includes 1st Vice President Jim Iker, who also retained his seat, and 2nd Vice President Glen Hansman, whose seat is being challenged by Stephen Zlotnik, a teacher from Boundary.
Challenger Rick Guenther, an independent member of the BCTF executive, had hoped to unseat Lambert telling The Vancouver Sun the Coalition had been in power for 10 years and it was time for a change. Guenther campaigned on the platform that the BCTF wasn’t engaging with the government or teacher-associated groups like the BC Coalition of Parent Advisory Councils, and that the teachers’ public image was in need of repair.
Teachers’ rejected that position, however, in favour of Lambert who has received strong support from both teachers and fellow public sector unions like the BC Federation of Labour, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, and several national and international teachers’ unions, during the BCTF’s fight against the Education Improvement Act, which legislates teachers to return to the bargaining table with their employers, and a government approved mediator, to reach a net zero contract agreement by the end of June.
Teachers are supposed to decide today or tomorrow the next steps in their fight against the legislation, which could include everything from withdrawing from extracurricular activities to a full-scale illegal walkout that could cost the union up to $20 million a day in fines.
Katie Hyslop reports on education and youth issues for The Tyee and The Tyee Solutions Society.