When Ontario teachers and education workers walk off the job Feb. 21, they’ll hit the bricks with a lot of public support.
Since contract talks began, Minister Stephen Lecce and Premier Doug Ford have tried hard to divide workers from their unions and unions from the parents, guardians, and grandparents who care about what happens in our schools. But instead of sowing division, Lecce and Ford have created a unified opposition—one that agrees on both issues and strategy.
The result? In these negotiations, education unions have become the de facto bargaining agent for the majority.
Recent opinion polls suggest that when it comes to schools, Ontarians back the unions’ priorities, not the government’s. Most people don’t support larger class sizes. They don’t want mandatory e-learning in high school. They don’t see an upside to cutting special education and mental health supports.