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Ontario premier threatens to ban strike as education workers prepare to step out to defend public education

The Ontario Education Workers General Commission (OEWRFC) will host a public meeting tonight, Tuesday, October 11, at 7:00 PM ET to discuss how to move forward in the education workers contract battle. Register here to attend this important event and spread the word to your colleagues.

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As 55,000 education aid workers prepare to strike against Ontario’s far-right Progressive Conservative government, Prime Minister Doug Ford has criminalized the strike even before it begins. issued the most direct threat ever. Ford made provocative comments following his overwhelming 96.5 percent vote in favor of strike action by educational assistants, caretakers, librarians, early childhood educators and administrative staff.

Ontario support staff workers protesting low wages and terrible working conditions (OSBCU Facebook)

“Don’t strike. Don’t force my hand,” Ford said threateningly at a press conference last Thursday in response to a question about whether his government would impose a return-to-work law. Education Minister Steven Lecce has repeatedly suggested that the government ban the strike, which was carried out against Ontario’s education workers by the union-backed Kathleen Wynn liberal government in 2015. This is the last step.

Ford, a billionaire and right-wing thug, expressed in his remarks the fierce hostility of the financial and corporate elites to education workers and the public education system. His government offered a 2 percent annual wage “increase” for support staff earning less than $40,000 and a dismal 1.25 percent for workers earning above. With official inflation surpassing 8% over the summer and prices of basic necessities soaring, Ford has announced an even more devastating real cut on top of the cuts it has received to date for its educational support staff. I am willing to accept a reduction in wages. Years of wage freezes and “wage restraint” programs.

To add insult, Ford and Lecce routinely accuse educators of fighting for their lives and defend public education for “disrupting” student learning.

These cuts from a government that plans to cut billions of dollars from education over the next 10 years and whose dire living profit COVID-19 pandemic has caused the greatest disruption to Ontario’s education system in modern history. The claim is an outrageous provocation.