A reader has submitted for publication the following letter that she sent this week to Stephen Lecce, Minister for Education; Premier Doug Ford; and John Yakabuski MPP
Attention to all of you named above:
I am writing to express my objection and concern re the province’s move to legislate school board support staff back to work. Especially disturbing is the invocation of the “notwithstanding” clause which I understood would be utilized in unique and rare occasions. Negotiations for school board collective agreements are NOT unique nor rare undertakings. The Ministry of Education should be quite accustomed to these negotiations given that they occur every few years with several different employee groups.
Or does this move foreshadow the Ministry of Education plans to erode and end collective bargaining for all school board employee groups?
These CUPE school board support staff have a legal right to bargain their collective agreements. To take away this right is abhorrent and nothing more than strong-arm tactics against the lowest paid school board workers who are predominantly women. This is a vile and irresponsible action on the provincial legislature’s part!
I urge the Minister of Education, Steven Lecce, and the province’s negotiation committee, to get back to the bargaining table immediately and practice negotiating, not intimidating!
These hard-working front-line school board employees deserve better wages after so many years of no or very low wage increases and due to current inflation wreaking havoc on many people’s everyday budgets.
These same employees deserve to be treated respectfully, not threatened with legislated terms in their collective agreement and especially NOT threatened with $4000/day fines for striking.
There are myriad ways to reach an agreement. Please find them NOW!
Eden Guidroz, Barry’s Bay
Concerned citizen of Ontario
Above: empty library at St. John Bosco School Barry’s Bay (photo rccdsb)
Very well said, Eden. I can’t add to this because this exactly how I feel. Its time these people finally got a raise and especially in these times. Shameful that they would use such heavy-handed and totally misappropriate measures to try to crush them instead. This same coward hid when they needed him to do his job during the unlawful occupation of Wellington St. in from of Parliament Hill.
Wow!:- it did not take very long for Doug Ford to smarten up. A major constitutional and political disaster last Friday and peace in our time by Monday. The school workers were out this morning to demonstrate, the unions were all set for a long bitter legal fight, Justin Trudeau was hiding under his bed again and not taking calls, and then….. “Dougie” “chickens out” and it’s all back to “normal”….. sort of. Will we ever have grown-ups running the government again?
Actually we will soon see how smart Peter Tabuns, interim leader of the Ontario NDP, is.:- this is like a chess game and Doug Ford, aka “Mr Dunderhead”, has just made a major “blooper” and set himself up for a major province-wide general strike which might escalate into a nation-wide general strike à la 1976 which might lead to his untimely resignation in the near future followed possibly by a federal election which sees Justin Trudeau gone too. Ontario Bill 28 is a complete constitutional atrocity which actually not only threatens labour rights in general but also our whole system of parliamentary democracy and constitutional government and Mr Tabuns and CUPE and the unions in general will not “take this lying down” and they are already talking about a general strike at CUPE Ontario. They also have a major labour shortage on their side which gives much more bargaining power to workers so that will tend to make a general strike also quite popular with the general public. The next few days should be very interesting!
Something like this happened ca 40+ years ago during the premiership of Bill Davis when hospital support workers tried to go on a province-wide strike but there were no fines and instead hospitals were allowed to fire striking workers without facing wrongful-dismissal lawsuits so they did that and even fired people who happened to be on holiday. However at that time there was high unemployment and finding replacement workers was easy and the fired people were mainly recent European immigrants who were not yet voting citizens. This little legislative caper by Doug Ford might end up being like Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and not play out in quite the way Mr Ford would like it to do. There is currently a major labor shortage and support staff might can simply call-in sick every day with “possible” Covid symptoms while looking for and finding other comparable employment and schools will simply shut down indefinitely for lack of support staff. The union can easily orchestrate a stay-home “strike” under these conditions without it looking like a legal strike so the provincial government will find it impossible to actually enforce this draconian law and Mr Ford will end up looking quite foolish as he did in April of 2021 when he tried to abolish all civil liberties and establish a totalitarian police state on a Friday afternoon followed by a complete rescission of those measures the following Monday afternoon:- err in haste and repent at leisure, Mr Ford! Btw, we might at least get a federal election out of this because if Justin Trudeau does not “disallow” this new statute then Jagmeet Singh might “pull the plug” on him and if Justin Trudeau does “disallow” it then the “King in right of Ontario” will sue the “King in right of Canada” while all the other “Kings in right of other provinces” will become “intervenors” and a lot of “legal poop” will “hit the fan”:- sounds like fun, no?!