Years of labour peace between the government of Ontario and teachers came to an end this year. Like their colleagues in British Columbia
, Ontario teachers and support staff are complaining of unfair, unnecessary, and unconstitutional legislation -- the Putting Students First Act, 2012
-- that gives the Education Minister, Laura Broten
, unchallenged power to ban strikes, job actions, set compensation and benefits, and to take over local school boards who are non-compliant
. Ontario school boards are unanimously opposed
to the Act, which reduces their power, and so are teachers and support staff, who feel the government is manufacturing a crisis
. Most see this as a cynical ploy to capture public support for two by-elections
this week that could nudge the Liberal government into majority status. ETFO and OSSTF, two of the teacher unions involved, have repeatedly pointed out that "the school year is not in jeopardy"
, that they had already accepted a wage freeze, and that local bargaining is proceeding well.
As legislation looms aheads, teachers, support staff, and labour activists are wondering: is this the end of collective bargaining for the public sector? [more inside]
posted by The Hyacinth Girl
on Aug 31, 2012 -