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Teachers begin strike action

Local high school teachers picked up picket signs in support of an Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation decision made after five days of talks with the provincial government broke off.

They met after the school day ended, at the Armoury Mall in Picton where MPP Todd Smith’s office is located.

The union told 20 union locals in a legal strike position to stop duties such as attendance sheets, entering report card grades into the system and covering peers’ brief absences.

The teachers oppose a controversial law that limits bargaining rights, freezes wages and gives the province the power to end strikes and work-to-rule campaigns.

“Under the conditions of the current strike, we have withdrawn some of our duties as assigned,” said Janet Curran, a teacher at PECI, looking after public relations for the protest. “So far we are trying the best we can to protect classroom occurrences and events. We are there for the students as much as we can be and the current withdrawal affects mostly administrative duties – things like distributing extra board documents, newsletters and so on.”

She said she is participating in the picket to support her children – in Grade 9 and Grade 12 – and all children, to have charter rights.

“My children and the children I teach deserve those rights, so as long as my federation is on strike, I’m going to be here and let them know about it.”

Horns on vehicles passing by honked in support and a supporter brought a box of Timbits.

Retired teachers also showed their support.

“I think this government’s actions are just terrible. No respect for civil rights, no respect for the democratic rights of workers,” said Mike LaRose, who retired from teaching at PECI. “People were offering no raise, a wage freeze, and our government had to legislate it when it was already offered? This is a very sad government and very sad times, and Mr. Smith who is upholding that is just as sad.”

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  1. Tammy says:

    I would like to say that there were many support staff workers there as well. Not one quote was from them. Sad.

  2. Marnie says:

    When they say it’s not about the money, invariably it is.

  3. fed up says:

    as I said, it is not about the money. btw, education workers also pay taxes. And the issue involves all education workers, including custodians and other support staff.

  4. Mark says:

    I think there would be little sympathy from the many taxppayers trying to make ends meet. With respect to the profession I really think it is time the teachers also contributed just a little to resolving our escalating debt issues both provincially and right here in the County. Afterall it is all tax dollars and it is not a bottomless pit.

  5. fed up says:

    The education workers have my full support. It is not an issue of monetary compensation ; it is an issue of the removal of democratic rights. Once again front line education workers are just convenient targets.

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