Hundreds of teachers protest outside Kitchener MPP’s office
Published Wednesday, January 16, 2013 5:14PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 16, 2013 6:34PM EST
About 500 teachers gathered outside the office of Kitchener Centre MPP John Milloy on Wednesday afternoon for a protest.
The demonstration was part of the ongoing battle between public board teachers and the provincial government over Bill 115, which the province used to impose new contracts on teachers earlier this month.
The Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation had planned to use Wednesday for a one-day walkout, but quashed that notion last week after the Ontario Labour Relations Board ruled that the action would constitute an illegal strike.
Instead, teachers were told to carry on with a normal teaching day, and head to Milloy’s office once the school day ended, which about 25 per cent of local high school teachers did.
“You’re never 100 per cent unified in anything, but I would say we are very strong,” said Charles Thompson, a teacher and coach at Kitchener’s Cameron Heights Collegiate.
While strikes are officially illegal and unsanctioned, many teachers have been boycotting extracurricular activities since December.
Not all teachers are happy about withdrawing from sports and clubs and spending time protesting instead, but local OSSTF president Rob Gascho says it’s necessary to send a message to the provincial government.
“It’s their choice, but they understand that we have to restore real collective bargaining in this province, and this is what we have to do right now in order to get there,” he said.
The demonstration in front of Milloy’s office was one of many held across the province Wednesday.