Education workers ready to take on the Ford government

The Ontario School Board Council of Unions (OSBCU), which represents 55,000 school support workers, including office workers, teaching assistants, food service workers, has already sent a letter of intent to negotiate with the government over the extension of its collective agreement, which expires at the end of August.

prochains jours, nous pourrons avoir de bonnes et justes négociations [avec le gouvernement de Doug Ford] pour mettre en place les priorités que nous avons pour les services aux étudiants”,”text”:”Nous espérons qu’au cours des 90prochains jours, nous pourrons avoir de bonnes et justes négociations [avec le gouvernement de Doug Ford] pour mettre en place les priorités que nous avons pour les services aux étudiants”}}”>We hope we can have good and fair negotiations in the next 90 days [avec le gouvernement de Doug Ford] to implement the priorities we have for student servicesshe explains.

Strikes are not one-sided. The risks [de grève] really depends on the government and school board associations sitting around the table and talking with us.

A quote from Laura Waltonchairman of the OSBCU

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

Photo: CBC

the chairman of OSBCULaura Walton Don’t rule out a strike by its members as early as September, as the wage issue is one of the main points of contention between the government and its members, whose average salaries it says are $39,000 a year.

We are the lowest paid education workers in Ontario in the entire education sector. So this becomes a real recruitment and retention problem. people quit their jobsshe says.

A lot to do

In addition to the salary issue, Mrs. walton also regrets the overabundance of work, due to the lack of resources and staff, she said.

We have schools that clean every other day. We have teachers who find it difficult to meet the needs of the students because they have an increasing workload. One-on-one support just isn’t thereshe points out.

We hear of school boards cutting back on early childhood educators, meaning our youngest students, who are just starting their study journey, are also not getting the support they need.

A quote from Laura Walton president of OSBCU

Mrs walton also notes that there are health, safety and violence issues within the education system. Problems that she believes could be solved if all stakeholders would sit down at the negotiating table.

the OSBCU is not the only trade union organization to have notified the government of its intention to negotiate. The Association of Franco-Ontarian Teachers (AEFO) did the same.

Anne Vinet-Roy says that teachers face many challenges.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Gilles Landry

In a press release, the organization, which has approximately 12,000 members, says it wishes the renewal août2022″,”text”:”des conventions collectives du personnel enseignant régulier et suppléant des conseils scolaires francophones qui arrivent à échéance le 31août2022″}}”>collective labor agreements for regular and incoming teachers of French-language school boards that expire on August 31, 2022

The government is increasingly encouraging virtual or distance learning, even though it has been proven that students learn best when they receive face-to-face education.

A quote from Quote from Anne Vinet-Roy, President of theAEFO (communicated)

The organization’s president, Anne Vinet-Roy, mentions in the press release some of the challenges its members face, including the shortage of staff and the often purely administrative requirements of government and school boards

Difficulties in perspective?

Ricardo Tranjan is a political economist and senior fellow at the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives. It takes a close look at the education system and funding policy.

He does not rule out the possibility that the period for the renewal of collective agreements that is about to start will be particularly tense, as, he points out, the relationship was never friendly [entre les syndicats et le gouvernement]

Looking at the first four years […]the provincial government has proposed to increase the number of students per teacher in Ontario schoolshe explains.

He also suggested mandatory online courses for high school students, which led to strong opposition from parents.

A quote from Ricardo Tranjan, economist

Mr Tranjan thinks the pandemic has given the government a form of postponement, one that is no longer quite appropriate.

2018. […] Je m’attends à ce que ce soit une relation tendue et on va beaucoup en parler”,”text”:”Je pense que la relation était déjà tendue dès le début, dès2018. […] Je m’attends à ce que ce soit une relation tendue et on va beaucoup en parler”}}”>I think the relationship was tense from the start, in 2018. […] I expect it to be a tense relationship and we’re going to talk a lot about ithe says.

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

Photo: Radio-Canada / Reno Patry

While he likes to acknowledge politics crush of the Progressive Conservatives’ victory, he nevertheless pointed out that the relatively low turnout could work against the government.

% de la population qui a voté pour lui”,”text”:”C’est sûr que [Doug Ford] est dans une position forte, mais on se souvient aussi que c’est seulement 18% de la population qui a voté pour lui”}}”>It is certain that [Doug Ford] is in a strong position, but we also remember that only 18% of the population voted for himhe says.

He considers teacher unions to be one of the strongest unions in Ontario, thanks in part to the support they often receive from parents, as parents are connected to their children’s needs and aware of the needs in the schools.

Mr Tranjan pointed out that students, especially those in high school, could also participate in protest movements, as has been the case in the past.

As for her, Mrs. walton says it is determined to get the best for its members, some of whom live in difficult circumstances to say the least.

The fact that the majority of educators have more than one job is because they want to continue to provide services in the school system, but they add more to make ends meet.she explains.

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