B.C. Federation of Labour gives $8-million loan to BCTF, nurses’ union donates $500,000

THE B.C. Federation of Labour announced Wednesday that it will provide $8-million in interest-free loans to the striking teachers so that their rights are not undermined because of financial stress. Teachers will be able to apply for a loan from the general hardship fund of the B.C. Teachers Federation’s general hardship fund.

The unions contributing the money are 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.

Meanwhile, the B.C. Nurses’ Union President Gayle Duteil announced that the BCNU will provide striking teachers with half a million dollars to help defend public education.

The money will be given to the teachers’ hardship fund, to support teachers and their families on the picket line.

“BCNU is giving teachers $500,000 to assist them in the fight for quality public education,” said Duteil. “I have heard from our members they want us to show support for teachers. BCNU’s provincial council was unanimous in its desire to make a sizeable contribution. We believe this significant sum will help teachers stand strong against a government trying to bleed them dry.

“With this funding, nurses are standing in solidarity with teachers. We know some teachers are struggling to pay their bills and feed their children. I and the BCNU executive believe this is the right thing to do. Nurses are standing up for public education and quality public services for all British Columbians.”