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January 29, 2009

Yourk University Strike ends and Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation saga begins

Now that the York University strike has finally been settled, we can finally turn our minds to something more important – like the current issue with the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF) and their union’s demands! To be honest, the educators in this province are starting to sound a lot like the people in the automotive industry right now: whiny, selfish, and seemingly unaware of what is happening around them.

Apparently, the midnight deadline looms tonight, with the OSSTF having to decide to accept a raise of 12% over 4 years, or not. If they decline this offer, the only option for more money at that point will come from Queen’s Park, at a rate of 4% over 2 years. Oh my, what a terrible decision to have to make. The poor teachers! If they accept the first offer, they will receive a 3% increase every year for the next 4 years. 3% is maybe not a lot to them, but considering what the rest of us poor working slobs are dealing with, it’s a gift.

Another issue (because it couldn’t be all about money, that would just be selfish) is that teachers want to be protected from having to do too many supervisory hours, an initiative that is supposed to help cut down on violence in schools by increasing the adult supervision. Considering the rate of violence in secondary schools across the GTA lately, I would think teachers would be jumping at the chance to work in a safer environment. This seems not to be the case however, as the OSSTF says that increased adult supervision in hallways, computer labs, libraries and so forth will NOT serve as a solution to the problem. Really? Increasing supervision isn’t going to help cause problems created by under-supervised students? Remember folks, these are the geniuses molding the young minds of tomorrow.

To recap, to ensure everyone is following: the OSSTF wants at least a 12% raise over 4 years (or more, in case they turn it down), but does not want any added responsibilities. In a time of economic uncertainty, with people being laid off at an epidemic rate, these teachers are looking for extra money and sympathy, where there is none to be had. It’s the same with the auto industry right now: there just ISN’T extra money, unless a few thousand (hundred thousand?) people are willing to to sacrifice their jobs.

It’s time to face reality, everyone: our economy is in the toilet, and this is no time to be asking for favours. Given the circumstances, people should just be grateful to be steadily employed, rather than dealing with lay-offs. If they have to do a little increased supervision, so what? In the end they will reap the benefit, as the school environment improves. A 12%-over-4-years raise is nothing to sneeze at either; just ask all the people who don’t get any raises, or all the people who don’t have jobs. It’s time for the OSSTF to take a long, hard look at what’s going on in our world right now. This is the time to be grateful for what you have, rather than quibble over something most people would love to be offered. (You don’t want it? I’ll take it!)

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