Every employee group that is represented for the purpose of collective bargaining uses the renewal period for their collective agreement to basically do two things.
- negotiate a wage / benefits increase
- negotiate better working conditions
As I sit, on the outside looking in at the current situation with the government and teacher federations, I can’t help but think that the government has managed to hijack the process.
By publicly proactively announcing their desire to cut education in the province, it seems to me that they’ve headed off any normal sense of negotiations. The biggest issue that you read anywhere is about money. That’s the topic of conversation that’s always first and foremost in any discussion. Follow that by looking at class sizes and online learning.
The kicker is that all this was done before formal negotiations had begun. Sadly, it now appears that the fight is to get back to the way things were – not moving forward and improving working conditions.
Familiar voices speak in support of teacher bashing.
There are other issues that never seem to enter the conversation. Full day kindergarten, for example. You really have to look to find discussion about that.
Sadly, the issue of teacher/student safety in the classroom seldom hits the radar at all. I shudder when I read articles like this opinion piece in the North Bay News. I can’t recall any indication that the government plans to address this via negotiations. Will it be left to be negotiated as a local issue? Even sadder are some of the trolls that have appeared with obviously fake names to reply to the piece. I can’t believe that they speak for anyone who truly understands education.
It’s not business as usual. I have empathy for the teacher federations that are trying to reach a collective agreement in this environment.
Steps must be taken, once an agreement is reached (and it will be reached), that this isn’t a pattern for negotiations for the future.