Thucydides 500 BC: "Those who forget their history are doomed to repeat it"
Recently, Ontario's teacher unions including AEFO, ETFO, OECTA, OSSTF and CUPE representing our education workers, met to plan for the widely anticipated province wide strike actions this fall. This is to be lauded, despite the strange bedfellows it might sometimes make, and of course one hopes that they proceed with caution.
Regretfully, our teacher unions accepted contract stripping in 2012-13. Our badly comprimised credibility and bargaining position shows that we are paying the price. Some will argue that once that line was crossed by one union, the others had no choice but to follow suit. However, responsible civil disobedience when need be, no longer seems to be a part of our protest lexicon. And truth be told, most of the affiliates have backed down on strike actions or seen their leadership defect to work for the government or school boards, since the province wide protest strike during the late 1990's against the Harris government. It would be foolish for us as members not to exercise critical thinking and be aware of what has happened before, as we embark on our latest all important protest endeavour.
In keeping with Thucydide's wise warning, one of the main features of this site is the "Teacher Free Speech News Link Archive" from 2011-15. It is located at the top left of my site for your convenience. There are over 600 blogs available for your perusal, listed in chronological order and accessible by the click of a button.
The purpose here is not to unnecessarily spread doubt or stoke any lingering animosity. Rather, by recognizing what has happened before, we can better avoid making the same mistakes again. Solidarity should not be something we naively blubber about as we hug each other and promise to "fight the good fight" together, only to end up feeling betrayed again. It needs to be informed so we can learn from our past mistakes and NOT repeat them again. It requires you, as a union member, to also be informed from a wide variety of points of view, and to be able to think for yourself. You are an educated teacher professional. Indeed, one doubts you would expect anything less from our own students let alone yourselves and each other.
Not everyone will agree. In times like these we will invariably be told to believe and do as we are told by our union leaders, elected or otherwise, for the cause. Sometimes to blindly follow the herd, to ill effect, as we have see on numerous occasions in the past. One is reminded of another timely quote from Voltaire, "to learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize."
It is important ot be able to question authority. We know that only too well from our own experiences with the MOE, and from over the years with each of the Ontario political parties; the OLP, PC's and NDP. Also remember, you are the union. It should be working for you, not the other way around. When you are not welcome to monitor, question or freely discuss how the union "powers that be" are doing so, then something is very, very wrong.
Please avail yourself of and share my teacher Free Speech Achives as need be, and as you see fit.
PS: Please also see "Teacher Free Speech + Grassroot Renewal" @ Here!