An Optimistic Prediction
by Andy Wilson, a secondary teacher in Ottawa.
I don't usually offer optimistic predictions, but I think I'll try.
Here's what could happen regarding education workers in Ontario:
First, the Liberals choose a new leader, and Ontario gets a Premier again. One of the first things the new Premier does is rescind the imposed working conditions implemented through Bill 115. Next, school boards and unions return to free collective bargaining based on the August 2012 contracts. The government can increase funding to the boards a bit, since the deficit came in $3 billion less than forecast. Teachers immediately resume extra-curriculars and education workers' unions can plan on taking no strike action for the rest of the school year. Teachers can get back to working under their last negotiated agreement, and the negotiators can get to work. They'll have plenty of time to find a deal by the end of the year, and if not, then a strike or lockout will loom over the summer - providing even more pressure to find a deal.
Win, win, win, win - right? The Liberals get to mend fences with education workers and get schools back on track, education workers get their collective bargaining rights back, students get back their extra-curricular activities, and parents can stop worrying so much about chaos in Ontario's schools.
Again, maybe I'm a bit optimistic, but I suppose it could happen.