September 10, 2014 - 1:12 PM
VANCOUVER - Nine unions have banded together in British Columbia to offer $8 million in interest-free loans to the province's striking teachers while the nurses' union is donating half a million dollars.
The financial support comes on the same day teachers are set to vote on their union's proposal to use binding arbitration to resolve the labour dispute, though the government has twice rejected that option.
B.C. Federation of Labour president Jim Sinclair says the $8 million in loans will help ensure the government cannot undermine teachers' rights through financial hardship.
The contributing unions include the BC Government Employees Union, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, Unifor, the Hospital Employees Union, United Steelworkers, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union, the Health Sciences Association and the Federation of Post Secondary Educators.
B.C. Nurses' Union president Gayle Duteil (doo-TAY') says the union is giving teachers $500,000 to help them in their fight for quality public education as the government tries to "bleed them dry."
The province's 40,000 teachers haven't been paid since they went on strike in mid-June over issues such as wages, class size and support staff levels.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2014