Our most frequent contributor provides his perspective on the Support Staff strike:
The question of the Support Staff strike is not difficult. The position of professors has been systematically undermined by the build-up of part-time positions, so now something like two-thirds of teaching is done by non-full-time faculty, all working on-the-cheap without benefits and job security. The position of support staff is similar, with more and more jobs (e.g., security, cleaning) being contracted out to non-union people who are working on-the-cheap with few benefits and job security.
Even if we were not both unionized employees (and in the same union at that), we’d have every reason to do what we can to help them out. The fact that they’re our sisters and brothers in OPSEU seals the deal.
As for management, it will say anything it can to undermine workers. Look at ex-President Miner’s statements about how we were all underworked and overpaid during our strike! Of course, it’s always possible to get around the money issue by saying that the capital budget for expansion doesn’t affect the operating budget for wages, but that’s a lot of codswallop too.
Although I have no access to the mind of management nor to the tactics of the Government of Dalton McPhussbudget, I can look at history. I joined the picket lines in the last Support Staff strike in 1979 and I’ve participated in all of our strikes ever since. What have I learned?
1. Management will keep college personnel out for two to three weeks;
2. The provincial government will legislate people back to work;
3. Arbitration will impose a settlement and (Hey Presto!) management will find the money for a modest pay raise – largely from the savings gained by not paying people for two or three weeks.
Unless something strange is happening, the entire affair has been scripted, choreographed and orchestrated. In an election year, it may be the same thing only more so!
So, what would Jack do? He’d have supported Support … and found some time to campaign for Andrea Horwath too.