September 20, 2011
Being a teacher seems like an easy gig, so they shouldn't be surprised by public resentment over requests for a 20 per cent raise.
After all, they only work 10 months of the year and have great benefits like the usual plums of pension and medical but also lesser known gems like the ability to bank 15 sick days a year. For one hard-working teacher I knew who took ill toward the end of her career, this translated into sick pay for 12 months before short-term medical benefits began.
A new teacher starting out in Kamloops earns $52,840, but she will also have spent five years at university, which comes with a hefty debt (at least $50,000).
Still, they bring home a salary and benefits that many people outside the public sector never see, so it's understandable that many shake their heads at teachers' demands in this labour dispute for a 20 per cent wage boost.
This is just their opening salvo, however, in bargaining with a government that negotiated contracts providing zero wage increases for two-thirds of its public service workers. Facing such opposition, it's not a surprise the teachers' request falls on the extreme side.
But if there's any group that deserves public support in negotiating with such an unmoving giant, it's teachers.
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