Education workers ready to do battle with the Ford government

Education workers ready to do battle with the Ford government

Ontario School Board of Unions (OSBCU) which represents 55,000 school support workers, including clerical staff, teaching assistants and nutrition service workers, has already sent a notice of intent to bargain to the government to renew its collective agreement that expires at the end of August.

We hope we can have good and fair negotiations in the next 90 days [avec le gouvernement de Doug Ford] To implement our priorities for student servicesshe explained.

Strikes are not one-sided. Risks [de grève] It really depends on the government associations and the school board that sit at the table and talk to us. »

Quote from Laura Walton, President OSBCU
Federation President Laura Walton at a press conference

Laura Walton says some of its members have to work two jobs to make ends meet.

Photo: CBC

Ms Walton does not rule out the idea of ​​her members going on strike as early as September, arguing that the salary issue is one of the main points of contention between the government and its members who, according to her, average $39,000 a year.

So we are the lowest paid education workers in Ontario in the entire education sector. Thus this becomes a real recruitment and retention problem. People quit their jobsas you say.

So much to do

In addition to the salary issue, Ms. Walton deplores the overwork resulting from the lack of resources and staff, she said.

We have schools that clean every day. We have teachers who find it difficult to meet the needs of students because they have an ever-increasing workload. Individual support is not availableas you say.

We hear about school boards cutting back the number of early childhood teachers, which means that our young students, who are just beginning their educational journey, aren’t getting the support they need either. »

Quote from Laura Walton, President OSBCU

Ms. Walton also notes that there are health and safety issues and violence within the education system. Problems that, according to her, could be solved if all stakeholders sat down at the negotiating table.

The OSBCU It is not the only trade union organization that has informed the government of its intention to negotiate. Franco-Ontario Teachers Association (AEFO) did the same.

Ann Vineet Roy listening to a panel discussion.

Ann Vineet Roy says teachers face a multitude of challenges.

Photo: Radio Canada/Jill Landry

In a press release, the organization, which has about 12,000 members, said it would like to renew Collective agreements for regular teachers and suppliers from French school boards expire on August 31, 2022.

The government is increasingly encouraging virtual or distance learning, although it has been shown that students learn best when instruction is provided in person. »

Quote from Quote from Ann Vineet Roy, CEO ofAEFOExcerpts from a press release

The organization’s president, Ann Vineet Roy, mentioned in the press release some of the challenges faced by its members, including staff shortages as well as Often the purely administrative requirements of government and school boards.

Perspective difficulties?

Ricardo Tranjan is a political economist and senior fellow at the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives. Take a closer look at the education system and financing policies.

He does not rule out the idea that the period of renewal of collective agreements which is about to begin will be particularly tense, because he points out, The relationship was never friendly [entre les syndicats et le gouvernement].

If we look at the first four years […]The provincial government has proposed increasing the number of students per teacher in schools across Ontariohe explains.

He also proposed mandatory online courses for high school students, which drew strong opposition from parents. »

Quote from Ricardo Tranjan, Economist

Mr Trajan believes the pandemic has given the government some respite, a respite that is no longer entirely appropriate.

I think the relationship was really strained from the start, in 2018. […] I expect the relationship to be tense and we’ll talk a lot about itHe says.

Political Economist and Senior Research Fellow at the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives, Ricardo Tranjan.

Ricardo Tranjan would not be surprised to see tough negotiations between unions and the government.

Photo: Radio Canada/Renault Battery

While willingly confessing politically crush Of the Progressive Conservative Party’s victory, he nonetheless suggested that relatively low turnout could work against the government.

it is certainly that [Doug Ford] In a strong position, but we also remember that only 18% of the population voted for himHe says.

Teachers’ unions are among the strongest in Ontario, in part because of the support they often receive from parents, since parents are connected to the needs of their children and are aware of the needs in schools.

Mr. Tranjan notes that students, particularly high school students, can also engage in protest movements, as has been the case in the past.

And as far as she is concerned, Ms. Walton says she is determined to get the best for her members, a number of whom live in conditions that are difficult to say the least.

The fact that the majority of education workers have more than one job is because they want to continue to provide services in the school system, but are adding more to make ends meet.she explained.

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