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Wed Nov 7 2012

We are taught as children not to fight at school — not to raise our fists on the playground — not to be taunted by those willing to throw a few punches. The Ontario Liberal party has thrown too many punches lately for me to just stand by and wait for the next blow. As an education support worker I am good and mad, and ready to fight back.

The Liberals reckless handling of the province’s coffers has initiated Bill 115 as a “finger in the dike” solution to the ravaging wave of provincial debt. Schools run on the dedicated service of teachers AND education support workers. Bill 115 is an attack on custodians, office, clerical and library personnel, education assistants, supervising monitors, early childhood educators, maintenance technicians, information technologists, etc,. Along with a wage freeze, and a forensic dissection of sick leave and retirement gratuities, this bill is an unprecedented attack on free collective bargaining, and allows the government to overrule freely negotiated collective agreements.

Bill 115 is the wholesale hijacking of collective bargaining and as vice president of a Canadian Union of Public Employees Local, I can not stand by to see that which the labour movement has gained over the years slip through this austerity program. Ask your MPP how he/she voted on September 11th? Liberals alone did not carry off this Putting Students First Bill, Conservative numbers ensured the 82 ayes outnumbered the 15 nays. Putting students first can not put workers last.

As Martin Luther King said “we have a moral obligation to fight unjust laws.” Repeal Bill 115. Dalton McGuinty’s jumping ship reminds me of the rats on the Titanic — passengers thought, great the rats are gone, but are we too going to experience a worse fate?

Lois Linttell Vankleek Hill