Attack on Ontario teachers is part of a trend: Walkom

The post-war bargain between labour and capital is unravelling. Teachers are the test case.

By: | Published on Fri Mar 15 2013 by The Toronto Star

The festering Ontario teachers’ dispute is not about wages and extracurricular activities, although these are the current flashpoints.

It is not about whether teachers should be forced by law to coach soccer in their off hours as Tim Hudak’s Conservatives demand.

Nor is it about eliminating the province’s deficit as Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne suggests.

It is not much about teachers at all.

At its heart, this fight is about work. It is about the implicit deal struck between governments, employers and employees more than 50 years ago to make the workplace a fairer place.

It is about the unravelling of that deal.

When the teachers’ unions say this dispute is about collective bargaining rights, that’s what they mean.

Yet the anodyne phrase “collective bargaining rights” does no justice to a complex system born literally out of bloody strikes and cracked heads — a system devised to adjudicate disputes between labour and capital that, until recently, worked tolerably well.

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