Government Will Use Teacher Strike Savings to Pay for Future Deal

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As I sit on the eve of strike action by Ontario public high school teachers - I really have to shake my head as to why the provincial government allows this to happen.

No, I am not talking about the government giving in to all the demands of the teacher unions to make labour peace. What I am questioning is why they allow the right to strike in the first place.

If you believe in the collective bargaining process, then let it run its course. Instead the current government, like the previous one would rather circumvent the bargaining process and impose legislated caps on pay and sick leave. That leaves the public unions with few options to apply bargaining pressure on the government.

Job action, is very unpopular for all involved. As a parent and taxpayer, it is very disrupting and makes for bad public service.  But what choice do public unions have when many parts of the contract are being imposed.

It might make you wonder why the government allow public sector strikes to happen at all.  The government could pass essential work / back to work legislation if it wanted, just like it did imposing wage freezes. So why don't they?

For the government strikes are a way of saving money  Back in the 90's then Ontario Premier  Harris, wanted to end the strike option for teachers, but his labour minister - Chris Stockwell, convinced him that strikes actually save the government money.  Think of how much the system is going to save  with tomorrow's province wide job action.  Any future deal will be funded in part with this savings. 

So you can complain if you want about the teacher's striking again, but its the government of all political stripes that allow this to happen.

The pathway forward for the government is clear - either bargain in good faith, or follow the process used with the police and other essential public service workers.  But the government should stop blaming public sector unions for striking when they allow them for their own self interest.