Walkom: What’s behind McGuinty’s threat to legislate teachers back to work

By Thomas Walkom, published August 03, 2012 by The Toronto Star

“And then into this Eden rides Premier Dalton McGuinty. Teachers may not be on strike. But as the Star reported Thursday, he says he’ll legislate them back to work by the beginning of September anyway.

Huh?

Welcome to the new era of labour relations in Canada. In the past, governments waited until labour disputes began before intervening. Even then they did so reluctantly, saving their statutory power for strikes and lockouts that were important.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s federal Conservative government broke new ground when it started legislating Air Canada workers back to work just for threatening to strike.

But McGuinty’s Ontario Liberal government has gone even further. It’s promising to legislate an end to a non-existent strike that has never been threatened.

No wonder the school boards are confused. Toronto’s says it can’t meet the government’s new and arbitrary end-of-August deadline because its negotiators are on holiday.

The teachers unions (save for one which has already signed with the government) are just ticked.

They sense, correctly in my view, that McGuinty is looking for an excuse to override normal collective bargaining and impose cutbacks in teachers’ wages and benefits.”

Read more: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1237102–walkom-what-s-behind-mcguinty-s-threat-to-legislate-teachers-back-to-work

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