In Solidarity with the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation
Publish date: Thursday, December 05, 2019 presidentsMessage
This past Wednesday, thousands of OSSTF teachers and education workers went to the picket line instead of the classroom. Not a choice they wanted to make. At midnight, OSSTF President Harvey Bischof tweeted with disappointment from the bargaining room at the Sheraton hotel, wondering how he was supposed to strike a deal if no one from the government would sit down with him.
I know some of you may have been inconvenienced this week, and if the Minister continues to avoid bargaining with the union, another strike certainly may happen, but this strike has been well organized and clearly communicated. I applaud President Bischof for his well-run campaign that has been open, honest, and has centered the needs of students in the face of regressive cuts every step of the way. High quality, publicly funded education is critical to the growth of Ontario for generations to come. Students need good classroom conditions and adequate attention from educational professionals to become responsible citizens of our province.
For AMAPCEO members, supporting OSSTF members is about more than quality public education; the four major teachers’ unions are our close allies in defeating the anti-constitutional wage-capping Bill 124. Only a few years back, the previous government introduced a very similar wage freeze in the form of Bill 115. Teachers’ unions have been there, and done that when it comes to unconstitutional bills, and their experience in fighting this in court will be invaluable to the public servants as a whole. OSSTF has been explicit in their intention to challenge Bill 124; standing in solidarity with their strike now is another step in building the important relationships critical to fight austerity and create community.
I urge all AMAPCEO members to share their support for education workers on social media, discuss the importance of public services with their communities, and stop by the picket line if there is another province-wide strike. The theme of this year’s Annual Delegates’ Conference is Strength in Community, and we do that by standing up to support our friends in the labour movement.
We don’t always expect the employer to see eye to eye with public servants when it comes to bargaining, but we do expect them to show up in good faith. AMAPCEO supports its OSSTF colleagues and the job actions they may take in their defence of public services. We urge the government to negotiate a fair deal.
You can see the details of OSSFT’s bargaining at https://bargainingforeducation.ca/latest-proposals/.
More about AMAPCEO and our Members: Established in 1992, AMAPCEO is a bargaining agent that represents 14,000 professional and supervisory public servants, most of whom work directly for the Government of Ontario in every ministry and in a number of agencies, boards and commissions; in 130 communities throughout Ontario and in 12 cities outside Canada. We also represent employees outside the Ontario Public Service in: the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario; Health Quality Ontario; the Ontario Arts Council; Public Health Ontario; the Waypoint Mental Health Centre in Penetanguishene; and in the former Offices of the Ontario Child Advocate and the French Language Services Commissioner (now part of the Ontario Ombudsman).