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OSSTF hosts another one-day strike at schools throughout the region

by Sylene Argent

Last Wednesday, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) hosted another one-day strike, this time at Amherst High School in Amherstburg, Kennedy, Belle River District High School, and the Mason Education Centre, in addition to the constituency office of Chatham-Kent-Leamington MPP Rick Nicholls.

  OSSTF District 9, which represents the greater Essex area, hosted the strike last week, in addition to another in early December, as part of a province-wide push to raise awareness regarding a number of concerns, including the province wanting to increase class sizes and introduce mandatory online classes. The Union also hosted the strike for compensation for educators as when bargaining, the province has offered a one-percent max increase per year. OSSTF is looking to have that increased to around two-percent to keep in line with the cost of living increases.

  Erin Roy, President of OSSTF District 9, said that before heading to the picket lines, OSSTF agreed to postpone the strike if the province would agree to go back to the staffing levels of 2018-19. She said that offer was not accepted by the province. This offer will be back on the table this week, she said, as another strike is planned for this Wednesday at other locations throughout the province, which does not include the Windsor-Essex County area.  

The rotating strikes, she said, are a way the OSSTF can keep pressure up, without jeopardizing students’ education.   

  Essex MPP Taras Natyshak took to the picket line last Wednesday to show support for the teachers, the educational assistants, and for student education.

  He said Ontario has a world-class education system, and to maintain that, the government has to invest. Education, he added, has massive economic benefits.

  Investments in education, he added, gives youths the opportunity to a have successful life moving forward.

  Natyshak said it was important for him to be on the picket line to support the teachers and the educational assistants with the OSSTF as they are on the front line and know what kids need to succeed.

  “You can’t make it better by cutting too deeply,” he said.   

  Roy said the local community has been very supportive of the OSSTF. Local businesses have dropped off items to support the teachers and educational assistance while on the picket line. She said that support is appreciated. 

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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