Most people know that teachers are striking in Ontario. But how much do they really know?
Ontario public school teachers have been on rotating strikes for weeks. The effect of these strikes have been felt across Ontario, hitting Mississauga’s and Oakville’s school boards.
These rotating strikes are work stoppages that happen for one day for one school board, and another day for another school board. This keeps the students in classrooms while still spreading a message: a message, teachers say, that classroom sizes are too big.
“All it is is (Doug) Ford saying they want more money. When really the teachers care about the size of the classroom,” said Sarah Peters, an educational assistant working at an elementary school in Hamilton, Ontario. “While I do think getting paid for work is important, I think they should only be focusing on things like class size and special education.”
Premier Ford said last week that he has no intention of reconsidering limiting wage increases. Teachers are asking for a 2% raise, as opposed to Ford’s proposed 1%. Ford has said he plans to use a back-to-work legislation as “the last step”.
“I feel completely unheard,” said Leanne Builtheis, who works for an elementary school in Burlington, and has been out on the picket line for two days in total. “It’s cold out, and we’re still out there trying for our students, and what does Ford do? Jack s**t.”
An unprecedented move, #Ford Government decides to compensate #parents affected by #teacher #strikes, costing $48M/day. Why not invest in #schools, #education and #teacher compensation to meet inflation? Cheap tactic to win #Ontario parents’ votes? #OnPoli https://t.co/3FgvMJg7q8— Abinesha Elanko (@AbineshaElanko) January 16, 2020
The reason teachers have chosen to hold one day strikes is because they fear a full-blown strike would just prompt a back-to-work legislation. So they’re working around that by having different boards strike on different days across the province. Teachers believe this to be the best way to win the public relations battle.
Some students are protesting with their teachers, hoping they win the standoff with the province.
“I will take anything at this point. Pity? Sure,” said John Butterworth, a student from Bateman High school who’s also been out protesting the size of classrooms with other teachers and students. “Ford’s a dumba**, I don’t care what he thinks is smart for education.”
The provincial government, on the other hand, says the work one-day strikes are hurting students and families and insist that a deal can be worked out without the work stoppages.