April 30, 2012
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas and OPSEU members from across the province joined thousands of education workers and their supporters at a Queen’s Park rally on August 28.
“The attempt by Ontario Liberals to take away the right to strike from education workers is a profound betrayal of everyone who works so hard to provide a quality education to this province’s students,” said Thomas. ”This rally has given our government a strong message that unions representing Ontario’s teachers and education support staff are standing strong together.”
The Ontario Liberals‚ Bill 115, ironically named “The Putting Students First Act”, includes a long list of demanded cuts for Ontario’s education workers. Granting the government the power to ban strikes and lockouts for at least two years, the Bill also constitutes a massive attack on workers’ bargaining rights.
OPSEU represents 2000 support workers at Ontario’s school boards. These workers include Educational Assistants, teachers of English as a Second Language, office and clerical staff, child and youth workers and IT technical staff. All of them will be affected by the Liberal legislation currently under review.
Education support workers earn low wages, and will be hit hard if Bill 115 passes. Educational Assistants are particularly vulnerable to the ramifications of this legislation. They are contract workers, and only paid hourly. They do not receive any wages over the summer or holidays.