Update 2:00 p.m.
Following another single day provincial strike by Saskatchewan teachers, Lorrie Feichter provided her insight following the demonstration in Weyburn. Feichter is the President of the Holy Family Teachers Association and a local leader during STF job actions. She said that the feedback received from the public has once again been overwhelmingly positive.
"A lot of support, a lot of 'Keep fighting the fight, thank you for standing up for our kids and for their future'. The support's actually been overwhelming on the street and from our division offices, too," said Feichter.
Feedback from every picket line in Saskatchewan will now be forwarded up the chain of communication to the head office in Saskatoon, where executive staff will weigh their holdings and decide how best to proceed. Students, teachers, and parents alike are now all wondering the same thing: Is a call for Work to Rule the next course of action for the STF?
"The answer to that question lays with the executives who make the decisions on our next move," answered Feichter, "but when you get large groups of teachers together, they speculate. That seems to be the talk, what would be most effective with as few disturbances to the lives of our students. So, Work to Rule seems to be a common theme."
Work to Rule would bring the cessation of all extracurricular activities for students, with teachers entering and exiting the building as the school day begins and ends. Any work that would typically fall outside of the set bell-schedule would no longer be the responsibility of Sask. teachers. No official call has been eluded by the STF yet, as they await a response from the provincial government.
Teachers in Weyburn will again be on the picket lines today, as the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation conducts its second one-day strike in the past week.
The STF initially staged a one-day walkout last Tuesday and gave notice of further job action on Wednesday. Thursday, they confirmed it would be another one-day strike. In Weyburn, teachers will gather primarily at the office of Weyburn/Big Muddy MLA Dustin Duncan with a large congregation and speech planned at this location for 11:45 a.m., and demonstrations ending at 2:00 p.m.
Negotiations between the STF and the provincial government over a new collective bargaining agreement reached an impasse in October, with the federation stating the government was refusing to negotiate on nine of the 10 issues they brought to the table. The lone exception was wages.
During the walkout last week, the STF emphasized they were more concerned with issues like class size and complexity. The province has said they will not negotiate on those issues and claimed the STF was asking for a 23.5 percent wage increase.
The walkout today will be just the third time since the STF was created that teachers in Saskatchewan have conducted a province-wide strike.