Tomorrow, both my boys have a midweek holiday because their teachers are on strike as part of a continuing labour dispute between the provincial government and the union.
I've actually phrased the previous sentence very carefully. I support teachers. The majority of those I've have the privilege of meeting were dedicated and amazing individuals who genuinely care about the kids around them and are passionate about opening their eyes to worlds and information.
I do not support the union. Nor do I support the government. As far as I'm concerned, despite all the mouthings, the only people who actually care about my kids are the teachers. Both the union and the government seem to see them as convenient targets and photo-ops.
I am amazed by the arrogance of our government that they chose to tamper with a contracted agreement, not once but several times. I'm disappointed that they continue to mouth off about 10 and 15 year plans when circumstances has shown over and over that they cannot be supported. A three year plan is pushing it for government foresight.
As for the union, it's a more long-standing problem. Unions are good and workers should have the right to band together to prevent being taken advantage of. But sometimes unions get so powerful that they become more concerned with increasing that power than in doing their job. When an incompetent or uncaring employee cannot be fired, when problems become more about the bureaucracy than solutions, or when bureaucracy is used as an active tool to prevent dedicated employees from being effective, then the union has outlived its usefulness.
Bill 115 worries me. I am against removing our hard-won democratic rights but on the other hand, how else can the power of the union be broken?
The good teachers out there deserve community support, good pay and a decent benefits package. There's no question in my mind about that. I would desperately love for everyone involved in the dispute to sit down, toss out the rule book, and figure out genuine solutions to our education problems with common sense and a spirit of cooperation.
But that's probably asking way too much of career-bureaucrats.
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