File spoon-archives/marxism-international.archive/marxism-international_1997/marxism-international.9710, message 527

Date: Mon, 27 Oct 1997 10:01:21 -0800 (PST)
Subject: M-I: Ontario Teachers Strike

Major battle heating up in Ontario as 126,000 teachers walk out today in an 
"illegal" strike. This is the 1st province-wide action by the teachers' 
union (usually divided into regional bargaining units).

They are striking against Premier Mike Harris and the Conservative 
government's Bill 160, which would give cabinet the power to cut high 
school teacher prep time, set class sizes, and allow non-certified teachers 
in the school. All this in the setting of major cuts to education and 
programs for children.

Support for the Teachers' Federation is high right now. From the radio 
reports I hear this morning it sounds like the teachers are unified with 
solid picket lines and very few crossing. I did hear some catholic schools 
remain open, but the definition of "open" depends on who you talk to. Some 
boards are opening the buildings, but no-one is entering. Some boards have 
given up all together. This is pretty militant stuff coming from a fairly 
conservative group of workers. Education and health remain central 
touchstones for organizing in Ontario. Support for teacher/education 
protests were high in the spring. We'll see how it goes when parents are 
forced to deal with closed schools.

If anyone knows more about what's going on in Ontario let me know. I'll 
keep listening to the limited news I get here in Nova Scotia.

Gay Harley
Halifax, Nova Scotia

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