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Offer to pay off parents a new low for Ford Government

Classroom teacher gestures to a student with their hand raised.

It’s pathetic that the Ford government is resorting to bribery to try to get support from parents in its botched handling of contract talks with teachers, said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce’s announcement that parents will get $60 a day to pay for supports like childcare during a potential strike is crazy, says Thomas.

“Lecce is supposedly so concerned about cost saving but he is willing to spend millions to try to turn public opinion toward the government through this so-called “Supports for Parents Initiative,” said Thomas. “That money should go toward reaching a fair contract settlement and getting things back to normal in the classroom for students.”

Thomas also points out this announcement shows just how out of touch the Ford Government is with the overall needs of Ontarians. Affordable childcare is not something that should be used a pawn during uncomfortable situations, says Thomas; it’s needed every day by many parents.

“Today the government says it recognizes that childcare will be a need for parents if its own unfair negotiation practices result in a strike. Where is that commitment every day for parents who can’t afford the sky high costs of childcare?”

OPSEU represents education support workers, the majority of whom are women in eight school districts around the province. They’re currently in contract talks as well, many earning around $40,000 a year, Thomas added.

“A legislated raise limited to one per cent comes to less than eight bucks a week, far less than the 60 dollars a day the government is spinning through its propaganda machine doubling as our education minister. The government should abandon this cruel and ham-fisted legislation and get serious about bargaining right now.”

Minister Lecce is obviously grasping at straws as he and his government try to put the blame on teachers and education workers for the ongoing labour disruptions, says OPSEU First Vice President/Treasurer, Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida.

“The government says it is ‘standing with parents,’” says Almeida. “But it’s hollow rhetoric. You can’t claim to stand with parents then show contempt by trying to buy their goodwill with their own money.”

“It’s time for the government to stop playing politics with parents, front-line public sector workers and start working on fixing our under resourced public services.”

For more information:  Warren (Smokey) Thomas 613-329-1931

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