Ontario’s teachers and many school support staff have undertaken a range of job actions in recent weeks to compel the provincial government to negotiate fair collective agreements and spare schools from the Ford government’s plan for deep education cuts. The Society stands with all education workers and recognizes the link between teachers’ success at the bargaining table, the learning conditions of students, and the ability of other unions like ours to negotiate fair agreements for working people.
Society President Scott Travers sent the message below to members in advance of the first one-day province-wide strike held by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF). OSSTF has since announced their plan to hold rotating one-day strikes throughout different parts of the province. The Society continues to support education workers and encourages all members to do the same.
FROM: Scott Travers, President, Society of United Professionals
TO: All Society Members and Pensioners
Tomorrow, December 4, Ontario’s public secondary school teachers and other support staff represented by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) will hold a one-day strike if they have not reached a new collective agreement with the provincial government. I am writing to let you know that the Society strongly supports Ontario’s teachers and urges you to do the same.
Both as fellow Ontarians and union members teachers deserve our support. Teachers are fighting to maintain and improve students’ learning conditions. This includes fighting against the Ford government’s efforts to increase class sizes, and requiring that students take a minimum number of online-only courses. As well, after years of below-inflation wage increases teachers are insisting on an inflationary increase so they don’t get another pay cut in real terms. Their ability to force the Ford government to pay a fair wage increase in spite of Bill 124 could help us all in our next rounds of collective bargaining. OSSTF’s five key issues are listed in the graphic above.
As educated professionals, we know as well as anyone the power of great public education. From their attempt to cut 10,000 teachers out of schools to making it near impossible for Grade 12 students at some schools to access core math and science courses, it’s clear the Ford government’s top priority is not our public education system. I am grateful to teachers across Ontario for standing up to Ford so the next generation gets the education they deserve and workers are treated fairly. That’s why tomorrow Society leaders will join Ontario’s public high school teachers on their picket
I encourage all Society members to find a way to support public secondary school teachers in their community. Picket lines will be up at public high schools across the province from 10AM to 2PM, which you can join during your lunch break. You can also drop off warm drinks or snacks to picketers, and email your MPP at HereForStudents.ca.
In Toronto, there will also be pickets up at Toronto District School Board head office, 5050 Yonge St. (north of Sheppard Ave.); Premier Doug Ford's constituency office 823 Albion Rd.; and Ontario Public School Boards Association office, 140 Borough Drive.
OSSTF has committed to complete transparency during their collective bargaining process. You can find their proposals and bargaining updates at BargainingForEducation.ca.