Support staff and instructors picketing at BCIT

Strikers picketing at BCIT, come rain or shine.

Strikers picketing at BCIT, come rain or shine. Courtesy of Blanca Brandon

The British Columbia Government Employees Union (BCGEU) support staff and the Faculty Staff Association (FSA) are on full strike at BCIT today, and aren’t letting the rain stop them from picketing along the perimeter of the BCIT campus.

The BCGEU is the union representing support staff and some instructors at BCIT. There are approximately 434 support staff at BCIT’s Burnaby campus which include Administrative Assistants, Graphic Artists, Buyers, Technicians, Cashiers, Clerks and Receptionists.

The FSA is the largest union at any college or institute in B.C. and represents instructors in part-time studies, day school instructors, professionals in the library, student services in counselling and IT, technical staff in the technology programs and assistant instructors.

Classes were cancelled at all BCIT campuses today, as teachers and support staff workers of the BCGEU and FSA unions picketed from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Workers were dressed in bright rain gear and carried signs and slogans as they marched up and down Willingdon Avenue, and around certain buildings of the Burnaby campus. Services were suspended on campus, while students made the most of the situation by studying in common areas and working in groups where possible. The FSA escalated its job action with a ban on overtime and on-call duty.

Students at BCIT’s Aerospace Technology Centre near the Vancouver International Airport are preparing for more job action as BCGEU trades instructors voted in favour of a strike today as they negotiate a new contract.[hr]

Neetu was born and raised in the Okanagan Valley (minus the few toddler years she spent living in Punjab, India where her line of heritage is from). She moved to the lower mainland to attend BCIT and is now in her graduating year of the Broadcast and Online Journalism Program. Her writing and editing for Link magazine often happens late at night because when she's not at school she works as a reporter and anchor for CKNW Newstalk 980 and is also involved in the start up of a charity called the Beautiful World Foundation. She loves to travel and feels fortunate to be in a field where she can share the stories of interesting and inspiring people from around the world.

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