N.W.T. teachers union boycotts newspaper after 'hurtful' editorial
News/North editorial called pilot program to reduce classroom hours extra 'time off' for teachers
The Northwest Territories Teachers' Association says it will no longer be advertising in newspapers owned by Northern News Services after it published a scathing editorial on the reduction of classroom hours.
Last month, the N.W.T. Teachers' Association, the N.W.T. Superintendents' Association and the territorial government announced a pilot program to reduce class hours by up to 100 hours per year. The plan is for teachers to use the time for planning and professional development.
An editorial in Monday's N.W.T. News/North called the reduction in classroom hours a "perk" that was "placing a lot of stress on working parents especially — in order to placate the teachers' union with time off for its members.
"Teachers already are being more than comfortably paid for jobs that come with extended periods out of the classroom," the editorial, which ran under the byline Northern News Services, said. "Take summers, Christmas break and spring break for example – at least three months paid vacation."
The Northwest Territories Teachers' Association said it found that piece "hurtful" and "irresponsible."
"We work on average 52 hours a week during the school year," said the association's president, Fraser Oliver.
"A lot of the duties we have to do are well after supper and late into the evenings and a lot of teachers spend Sundays at school so they can have engaging lessons for their students so they can be successful.
"Our teachers were hurt by this and we're upset."
Oliver says the association will also be boycotting Yellowknife printing and design company Canarctic Graphics as it is affiliated with Northern News Services.
Northern News Services newspapers include N.W.T. News/North, Yellowknifer, Inuvik Drum, Deh Cho Drum, Hay River Hub, Nunavut News/North and Kivalliq News.
Oliver says the association will honour any current advertising contracts they have with the newspapers.
Northern News Services declined to comment.