Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli says the proposed transitional stabilization centre to replace 29 addictions beds at the North Bay hospital will help more people. (Rocco Frangione, MyNorthBayNow.com staff)
Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli says by continuing their job actions high school teachers are eroding student education.
Fedeli was reacting to nine school boards across Ontario, including secondary school teachers with the Near North District School Board, who are holding a one-day strike on Wednesday to protest contract talks.
Fedeli says in more than 200 days the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) has not changed its proposals and has not suggested any new dates to resume bargaining.
Fedeli says the federation has said publicly it’s not willing to change any of its proposals and further adds the union leaders have not made any “substantive moves to date”.
“Their approach is to ask for $1.5 billion from the taxpayers for teachers who earn an average salary of $92,000,” Fedeli said.
“Our role is to always put the students first, to put kids in the class and to make sure that they’re always in the classroom.”
Fedeli says the Ford government has modified its earlier proposal on average class sizes and instead of taking the average size to 28, it’s proposing 25 students as an average size.
He says movement has also been made with online learning and the provincial government is ready to put $200-million in public education.
“We have made moves, we have stayed at the table,” Fedeli says in a statement.
“The leadership of the teachers’ unions have dug in their heels because they exist to advance the interests of their members.”
Glen Hodgson who is the OSSTF President of District 4 representing high school teachers with the Near North board agrees with Fedeli on one point.
“Yes, my members have dug in their heels,” Hodgson said.
“That’s because they know the changes being proposed by this current government are not in any way good for our schools or our communities for the Near North. We are digging in our heels on behalf of our students, communities, parents and the public education system.”
Hodgson says Fedeli is wrong when he says teachers are looking out only for themselves when they dig in their heels.
Hodgson says the government’s proposals would destroy the public education system.
Responding to the government moving on some of its earlier proposals, Hodgson called them “non-starters”.
“Just simply modifying you’re already bad position is not a step forward in collective bargaining,” he said.
Wednesday’s one-day strike will keep the Near North’s high schools and elementary schools closed.
The board says in a statement it is keeping its elementary schools closed because Early Childhood Educators, Educational Assistants and other support workers like Psychologists and Speech-Language Pathologists are part of the high school teachers’ bargaining unit.
As part of the bargaining unit, these support workers are also part of the one day strike and the board says under these conditions it will keep the elementary schools closed on Wednesday because it cannot provide required supervision for the students.