GUELPH POLITICAST #344 – Here We Go Again…?

You may have heard that there may be a teachers’ strike coming. Another disruption to the learning of Ontario’s students is the last thing anyone – from parents to government to the teachers themselves – wants. Having said that though, it does feel like we’re on a path to inevitable job action as teachers’ demand more resources and Queen’s Park demands moderation. Is there a middle ground?

As it stands now, only around 55,000 education workers represented by CUPE including custodians, early childhood educators and admin staff will be in a legal strike position on November 3, but that doesn’t mean they *will* strike. It’s worth noting that in 2019, CUPE and the government reached a deal at the last minute before the strike, so could history repeat itself, but no one knows what’s going to happen.

In late-2019 and early-2020, there were a series of one-day walkouts by teachers, and they were having an effect, but then we got hit by COVID-19 and it poured a bucket of cold water on any job action. By the end of March 2020, all the teachers’ unions had a new agreement, but even with that unfinished business, it’s probably safe to say that teachers’ concerns have changed markedly since the pandemic. Will finding common ground be easier or harder this time around?

Speaking locally, we’re joined on this week’s podcast by Jennifer Hesch, the Vice-President and Chief Negotiator of the Upper Grand Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO), and David Del Duca, the Vice-President (Secondary) from the Wellington Unit of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA).

Hesch and Del Duca will tell us what the CUPE no board report means for local schools, and what it means for the negotiations with other unions. They will also talk about the issues that the unions are negotiating for, why compensation is fundamental, and why safety is such an important consideration whether it’s COVID-19 or threats of violence. And finally, we will discuss the search for positive signs from the government, and whether they feel hopeful about these current negotiations.

So let’s talk about the local view on education in this week’s Guelph Politicast!

You can keep up-to-date with the latest developments from the OECTA at their website, and you can get in touch with the local unit through their website here. For the ETFO, you can access the main union website here, and you can reach out to the local office through their own website here. Stay tuned for developments as they occur.

The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here, or download them on your favourite podcast app at Apple, StitcherGoogle, TuneIn and Spotify .

Also, when you subscribe to the Guelph Politicast channel and you will also get an episode of Open Sources Guelph every Monday, and an episode of End Credits every Friday.

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