Print Edition: September 10, 2014
With the BC teachers’ strike no closer to resolution, some educators have turned to other kinds of strikes to have their voices heard.
Philip Harbler, a psychology teacher at Abbotsford Shrubs Elementary School, is the leader of the “New Strike Movement” (NSM): a group dedicated to discovering more effective striking methods.
“Look, nobody wanted a teachers’ strike to begin with,” says Harbler. “Why would anyone give us what we want if we give them stuff they don’t? We hope to come up with a strike that’s way more interesting than teachers.”
The NSM has focused especially hard on impressing the BC Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) with sports-related strikes. When mediator Vince Ready walked out of talks between the BCPSEA and the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) on August 30, he said it was because “[their bowling scores] still remain a long way apart.” Since then, the NSM has rented out every major bowling alley in the Fraser Valley.
“We’re definitely getting, uh, better,” Harbler assured the press on Friday, declining to give an exact count of strikes, or even spares.
Not everyone is enthusiastic about this new approach; drama teacher Gina Lais argues that the NSM misunderstands the core issues.
“Bowling scores?” she said yesterday morning in a video posted on her personal YouTube channel. “The BCPSEA doesn’t want to see teachers bowling well; they want to see teachers defeated.”
Lais created her own group in reaction to what she deems the “illogic of the Anus-M” (which she later clarified was a pun on “NSM” when reporters didn’t laugh). Her Newer New Strike Movement (NNSM) seeks to appease the BCPSEA in a winner-takes-all game of baseball. “We’ll definitely strike out / And they shall witness pain / And they shall know pity,” Lais wrote in a poem she posted to her Tumblr last night at 3 a.m. The NNSM has not received any response to their challenge from the BCPSEA yet, but Lais remains optimistic.
Both the BCPSEA and the BCTF have publicly disassociated themselves from the NSM and NNSM, which is the first thing they have agreed on since talks began.