/Teachers continue job action with second strike
Teachers walk outside along the sidewalk steps from Haliburton Highlands Secondary School during the one-day strike on Wednesday Dec. 11 in Haliburton. There were close to 40 teachers out on the picket line joined by CUPE members at lunch hour. /DARREN LUM Staff

Teachers continue job action with second strike

By Darren Lum
colleagues walked back and forth in front of Haliburton Highlands
Secondary School, carrying flags and picket signs during the second
one-day strike in two weeks, their collective bargaining representative
for OSSTF – Haliburton Jason Morissette spoke about negotiations between
the provincial government and the teachers’ union. 
here because we truly are fighting to protect, honestly, our students
and the quality of education and the accessibility to it. Imagine being a
special needs student and you’re forced to do online learning. It’s a
devastating proposal and to cut your services for a lot of the most
vulnerable kids in our community. What will happen to the system?
Graduation rates? Test scores? All of these things,” he said. 
to 40 HHSS teachers and teachers from the neighbouring Adult and
Alternate Education Centre marched from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday,
Dec. 11. Organized into two groups, one in the morning and the other in
the afternoon, the members of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’
Federation marched the picket line. The group was also joined by  CUPE
members such as education assistants during their lunch hour.
points of contention include class sizes, e-learning, layoffs and
compensation. There hasn’t been a contract since August. 
said he wants the public to examine the facts, talk to teachers and
learn about them and what they are standing up for, which is not just
for themselves, but for the students and quality education.
a retired HHSS teacher for a father, three children attending
Haliburton public schools, and being a HHSS graduate himself, Morissette
is a passionate proponent of the public education system.
call it one of the greatest equalizers in society. There’s a lot of
people that come from different circumstances and because they get
access to a quality public education system [they are afforded
opportunities],” he said. “All these kids here are all in here together.
Whatever your background is, wherever you come from … It really
builds for a strong, strengthened education opportunity and experience,
but it also builds for a strong community. You get to know every walk of
life. That’s why I love working every day.”  
He said he’s never experienced this kind of strike action before. 
“I’ve never done this. I’ve never been on strike while on the picket line. It hasn’t happened since 1997,” he said. 
As a teacher’s son, he learned about the time and effort a teacher puts in outside of school hours. 
said he spent many hours travelling with students, riding school buses
for field trips, academics or sports. He acknowledges he and other
teachers benefit as much as the students from these experiences, but
points out many extracurriculars are made possible because of the
involvement and passion of teachers. 
talking about all kinds of things that we do because it’s good for
kids, it’s good for us and our spirit, but, again, if you demoralize the
profession, if you demoralize and don’t value a public education system
that’s very successful, and you’re saying, it isn’t. Then you’re saying
you want to make extreme changes to a system that you think is broken.
By all measure of the data, just look at the facts, it’s a very
successful system. It’s been very successful for many, many decades.
Many years,” he said. 
teachers’ unions are filing a court challenge against the provincial
government over Bill 124, the Protecting Sustainable Public Sector for
Future Generations Act. Unions said this bill caps all public sector
salary increases to one per cent annually for the next three years. They
contend this violates their charter rights.
Morissette was angered by this government action.
can’t legislate. That’s not a good start. For anything, anybody. I
don’t care, if it’s the teachers, or anybody. In society, a good
relationship is built upon mutual respect. I don’t think legislating is
showing any sign of respect towards our profession or the system, the
students and their needs,” he said. 
to OSSTF job action, Minister of Education Stephen Lecce released a
statement: “OSSTF union leadership have made clear that they will
continue to take job action – which hurts students most – unless
taxpayers accept their demand of $7 billion in enhancements to salaries,
benefits, and other entitlements.
there were any question that this wasn’t about salary, those doubts
were put to bed when the four teacher unions launched their challenge to
legislation that deals with compensation increases for the public
have made a reasonable offer on compensation – a $750 million increase
in compensation for the second highest paid educators in the country. 
are calling on OSSTF to cease from continued job action, accept our
offer of private mediation, stay at the table, and focus on improving
learning in the classroom, not enhancing compensation for their

Morissette said OSSTF will give five days notice before another walkout.
“I hope people understand,” he said.