Writer defends striking teachers as bulwarks of freedom

To the Expositor:

While listening to CBC’s Morning North I heard a talk-back caller saying he thinks teachers are lazy and greedy and should stop complaining because everyone knows they have a really easy job. Strange, but every teacher I know feels that this is not really about money or sick days, this is about our government trying to take away our democratic right to be represented by a union. While the teachers’ unions have always been open to negotiating, the politicians have acted in an authoritarian, dictatorial way. Bill 115 states that teachers may not make grievances of Bill 115 to the Labour Relations board, or through the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, or to the Human Rights Commission.

In southern Ontario, some school boards made tentative agreements with local union rep’s and the Minister of Education said no to these agreements. Bill 115 gives her that power. The politicians want you to hate teachers. They want you to think this is just about money and sick days. They do not want you to realize that they are trying to break the power of unions—a democratic right our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents struggled for.

Bill 115 is based on a memorandum of understanding between the provincial Liberals and the union representing Catholic teachers, signing in August. The Catholic teachers are protesting their own union’s action at the Labour Relations Board. The proposed house of Bill 115 is built on very shifty sand. If our politicians were serious about saving money, they would say ‘no more’ to the separate Catholic school boards. Ontario is the only province in Canada with separate publicly funded Catholic school boards. There is only one political party in Ontario with the guts to be openly saying it’s time to integrate these teachers and students into the mainstream system and stop paying for the separate administration and schools: that’s the Green Party of Ontario.

Sarah Hutchinson