Friday, January 18, 2013

We Must Still Resist

[Greg Fraser is a teacher at a secondary school in Ottawa. His letter to colleagues, dated January 8th, is reprinted here with permission]

Good afternoon colleagues,

Bill 115 has been used to impose contracts on us that are substantively similar to the OECTA agreement.  This process has been undemocratic and draconian and in violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. 
How do you feel about the fact that a handful of Catholic union leaders in cooperation with the Liberal and Conservative parties forced a contract on YOU without any free negotiation?  How do feel about the fact that said contract prevents YOU from taking any strike action against it?  How do feel about the fact that this contract includes a pay cut, sick leave cut, and benefits cut?  How do you feel about the fact that further cuts in future contracts are a real possibility and that the process we’ve endured since September could be the new model for dictating YOUR working conditions and compensation package?

Bill 115 will be an absolute victory for the Ontario government and a precedent-setting model for future contracts and governments if we allow it.  We’ve been threatened by governments of all stripes in both the recent and not-so-recent past and each time we’ve stood together and rebuffed those threats to our Constitutional rights and negotiating freedoms.  I still refuse to facilitate the erosion of democracy and the rule of law by returning to “business as usual”.  I still refuse to acquiesce to having no free voice in the determination of the value of my services.  One of the remaining effective forms of protest left to us is the continued suspension of our volunteer activities.  I will return to offering my valuable volunteer time, expertise, and energy to the betterment of my students once my rights have been reinstated and I have a freely negotiated contract.

The government’s actions under Bill 115 should strike at the very core of your beliefs with respect to democracy, citizenship, and education.  I urge you to reflect on these things and continue to resist that which is wrong, unjust, and unreasonable.

G. Fraser

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