Friday, January 11, 2013

Teachers' Union closes down the province's elementary schools without even going on strike

"No, we're not going to have an illegal walkout.
We can close the schools without one.
Until 4 a.m. this morning, the elementary teacher’s union was determined to stage a one-day walkout come hell or high water. A ruling by the Labour Board? To hell with it. A plea from the premier? To hell with him. Cries of panic from parents who didn’t know what to do with their kids? To hell with them.

Then the actual ruling came down: A walkout would indeed be an illegal strike. Immediately, the teachers’ union said they’d comply. And why not? They’d already caused maximum disruption.

Most school boards throughout the province had already said schools would be closed Friday. Most boards reversed that decision some time early this morning, but that was far too late.

I’m an early riser and a news junky. So I was one of the few parents in Toronto who heard there would be school today after all. But when my child and I arrived (about 15 minutes late), the school was a like a ghost town: empty classrooms everywhere. 

But all the teachers were in.

How did that happen? Did the teachers know all along that if the Labour Board ruled against them – which was always likely – that their union planned to back down?

At any rate, while all the teachers knew there was school today, almost no parents did. There were four kids in my child’s class.

So mission accomplished: schools throughout the province were shut down. But by doing it the sneaky way, unions have avoided a $2,000 fine for each teacher involved in an illegal strike and a $25,000 fine against the union. Good for them. Bad for parents.

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