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Put students first: support Ontario teachers

Pam Johnson

December 9, 2012

Ontario teachers are drawing a line in the sand against McGuinty attacks on their bargaining rights and beginning strikes and escalating job actions on Monday, December 10.
Bill 115, the legislated attempt by the Ontario Liberals to bully teachers into concessions and a wage freeze even before the bargaining process began, has failed to intimidate teachers.
Bill 115 is called the “Putting Students First Act,” but high school students have walked out against the legislation, and organized a rally at Queen’s Park.
Teachers are refusing to enter into a bargaining process with the conditions of Bill 115 hanging over their heads. Elementary teachers in York and Niagara regions rejected  a deal with their boards not because of the terms of the contract but because of the bill.
Although McGuinty has talked about the deficit as the reason for Bill 115, the conditions of the bill: an imposed contract if the Minister of Education does not like the contract that teacher bargain with their boards, clearly undermines any notion of collective bargaining rights.
Similar attempts to bust public sector unions in Wisconsin and, this weekend in Michigan, have been met by huge protests. Chicago teachers, Quebec students and Toronto library workers have had successsful strikes against the austerity agenda. Non unionized workers at Walmart and McDonalds are also saying enough is enough and fighting for unions and better working conditions.
Ontario teachers deserve the support of all workers to fight union busting and the austerity agenda.

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