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More support for teachers than government, poll shows

Saturday, December 22, 2012   by: Rick McGee

Ontario teachers appear to be strengthening their lead in the public opinion battle being waged with the provincial government over Bill 115.

A poll conducted by Forum Research this week found that nearly half (49 percent) of respondents now side with the teachers.

Slightly more than one-third (35 percent) come down on the government’s side.

Endorsement of the teachers' stance increased from 44 percent in late November, a Forum news release states.

During the same period, government backing fell from 39 percent.

More than half (54 percent) of those polled disapprove of the controversial legislation, which is at the centre of the dispute.

The bill paves the way for the imposition of contracts on teachers who do not sign deals with their school boards by December 31.

Other results from the most recent Forum poll show that:

• Most respondents (58 percent) agree the fight between the teachers and the government is about collective bargaining rights, not wages (20 percent).

• There is not strong support for rotating one-days strikes like the one conducted by Algoma District School Board teachers this week. Disapproval (47 percent) ranks ahead of approval (43 percent).

• Fewer than one quarter of respondents say they have been personally inconvenienced by the one-day strikes (22 percent). But "inconvenienced" responses rise to 38 percent among those with children under 18 and to 37 percent among respondents 35 to 44.

• 42 percent believe the teachers’ job action is effective in getting their message out.

• Two-thirds of Ontarians “have a teacher in their circle, either in the household (11 percent), in the family (20 percent,) as a friend (28 percent) or in more than one of these combinations (10 percent).”

Teacher strikes are different

"A teachers' strike is viewed differently than other public service strikes; it only affects a minority, and so many people know a teacher, it's hard to build the public indignation that, say, a garbage or transit strike creates," said Dr. Lorne Bozinoff, president of Forum Research.

The poll results are based on an interactive December 17 voice response telephone survey of 990 randomly selected residents of Ontario aged 18 or older.

Results based on the total sample are considered accurate +/- 3 percent, 19 times out of 20.

Subsample results will be less accurate.

Meanwhile, on Friday the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) made the government an offer that - if accepted - would end strike action, for a while at least.

The proposal asks the government to refrain from imposing collective agreements after December 31 under Bill 115 until a new premier is elected at the Liberal Party convention in late January.

“The appointment of a new premier will provide an opportunity to take a fresh look at the current collective bargaining impasse and find respectful solutions,” said ETFO President Sam Hammond.

“Our proposal respects existing collective bargaining processes and the fundamental rights of our members and all working Ontarians. If the minister decides to take precipitous action and trigger further disruption, this will aggravate the situation for parents, students, and our members.

“Education Minister Laurel Broten and her government must recognize that Bill 115 is a dangerous piece of legislation. It threatens the very foundations of Ontario’s democratic values and institutions. It is wrong, and the education sector has called the government to task for it with our job actions this fall.”

Heightened chaos at schools possible

Unless there’s some change in the situation, school disruptions could become more severe in the new year.

Hammond has said that teachers would walk out across the province in a mass strike if Bill 155 comes into effect.

And some 55,000 support staff - represented by CUPE Ontario - say they’ll begin one-day strikes if the government implements new collective agreements.

Support staff include educational assistants, library technicians, early childhood educators, custodians, food services workers and administrative staff.

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Zarm27 12/23/2012 12:14:41 AM Report

I love this, CUPE president, makes what, I'm estimating $400k a year salary and benefits solely on teachers paying dues. That's not my business, so good job on that. Although it makes me wonder how much was donated for political purposes from the unions to specific organizations solely for benefiting their long run goal.
Anyways, teachers are not the bad guys in this at all, they are forced into a situation where they need to pay into these "unions" and the second they do not follow the rules of such union, they are disregarded. It's part of the rank and file scheme created. That's to say, if you're over 40 and just became part of that union,you'll never attain the top tier and are essentially just a mule to bring in dues.

In reality you'll only make a name for yourself to get voted into the top tier if you push for the unions goals in drastic ways, this is easily researched online with the past. Take example Sid Ryan, even wiki has a page dedicated to his attempts to circumvent laws solely for his own benefit. People may notice his attempts to enter politics, and guess what he'd no longer be part of the union if he was elected, surprised?

People assume Unions are the way to operate, based on the past experiences. These people may might as well have been brainwashed, since it's subjective solely to a time period where it was needed. To this day, these particular unions will drop the priority of a lower end union members' problem if it affects a higher end member. To simplify it for these people, it's a pyramid scheme except you aren't selling anything but your hours of labour.

I would love to hear a union member declare how they are not being used for an entity that only exists based on tax payers money. My beef has never been about teachers, they are essential and being part of Canada; they should be proud for what they accomplish. That isn't all of them, but really perfectionism is long gone in today's society.

I sincerely hope there's some people in their union that realize that it's impossible to increase funding without employing more teachers, which is impossible based on their scheme.

So, rather than simply trying to prove someone wrong, how's about we talk about productive ways to solve current problems instead of people ranting in a forum.

I would suggest to the government rather than instituting a mandatory limit on sick days, to instead have the excess paid by said union of teachers due to the excess funds created by union dues. Next intelligent (hopefully) suggestion to commence this.

Banber 12/23/2012 12:23:11 AM Report

Isn't propaganda a wonderful thing. You can twist anything any way you want it, pay for airtime and try to get people to believe it. Fact is that no union gives a care who they use to get to the money they want. Sickening that these bottom feeders have no problem using children as young as 4 yrs old as a tool for money. Do you see them paying parents for expenses from strike action? no . They don't care about anything or anybody, just money. polls can easily be swayed in one way or the other by choosing who you poll. You can't believe something so easy to get the results you want.
RLE 12/23/2012 6:37:48 AM Report

Banber;Guess your comments mean I shouldn't believe you
BigDaddy 12/23/2012 8:57:47 AM Report

This tells me that there is collectively, more intelligence then hate. This is a good thing. I'm not a Teacher but I do support their fight.

Yeah, did you hear about BIll 116? No, well it sounds something like 115, Essar Steel employers will take 0 wages increases (starting for the first 2 years), no overtime, no MORE severence (yes,they do get that), cut in vacation, cut in benefits (yeah, that's right after you have already negotiated reductions in prior years - too bad), etc and right, best of can't do a damn thing to fight it. Just accept it and smile. C'mon, it's's for putting the public first after all....
patsboy 12/23/2012 9:05:25 AM Report

What poll. I never saw one. Seems like every one I talk too does not support them. I wonder who did the poll. I find it hard to believe it.
B Boy 12/23/2012 9:45:15 AM Report

BigDaddy - if I remember correctly historically Algoma Steel employees took some pretty big hits to their shares that significantly hurt them financially in an agreement to ensure the longevity of the organization.
W. Yote 12/23/2012 10:22:47 AM Report

You fool. private sector just lays off or goes on workshare whenever there is a slow down and unions have made huge concessions in the private sector. We have all been dealing with that for the past 4 years and guess what, work share and layoffs are looming again.

The difference the public service employees fail to see is that they are paid through our tax dollars and do not provide a net benefit to the GDP. The higher your salary, the more taxes the public has to pay. When there are not as many jobs and therefore tax dollars, other services would have to be cut to pay their boom-time salaries. There has to be an equalizer somewhere.

Teachers should be thankful their salaries are not being REDUCED! Because if things were truly to equalize they should be!

Public service employees salaries should be tied to the economy.
cjborg 12/23/2012 10:27:07 AM Report

For what it is worth>>>>>>>>>>>>

Quoted in part from Wikapedia.

..."Political polling

Forum conducts regular polls on municipal, provincial and federal politics for major Canadian news outlets, including the Toronto Star[1], National Post[2] and Sun newspaper chain. The firm conducted extensive polls during the 2010 Toronto mayoral election and the 2011 Canadian federal election, in which it was the first to predict through polling the defeat of the Liberal Party in Toronto and Montreal to the New Democratic Party.[3][4] Forum was also one of the first market research firms to identify the NDP "Orange Crush," which was later validated by the official election results.[5]

The firm was heavily criticized in 2012 after two erroneous election result predictions during the final days of the Quebec[6] and Alberta[7] provincial elections.

Forum also conducts surveys on other social issues, including recent surveys on gun control[8], 'gay-centric' schools[9] and abortion.........."
W. Yote 12/23/2012 11:01:17 AM Report

Looks the government needs to step up its public service announcements and get the truth out there. Put things in perspective for the public who is being bombarded by fear mongering and lies from the Teachers unions.
B Boy 12/23/2012 11:10:48 AM Report

This is going to be my last post on the topic.

I'm absolutely sick & fed up with this nonsense about teachers "volunteering" their time for extra-curricular activities.

The pay for this "volunteer" time is included in the salary, just like the time off in the summer & Christmas. Nearly every salaried person must put in additional time outside of business hours - the difference is that we in the private sector will be fired if we don't.

I'd love to be able to refuse what is considered to be part of my regular duties but maintain the same level of pay without being fired.

I chose not to be a teacher because I don't like teaching children. I taught & coached children's swimming for years and learned that I only like teaching adults which I still do.

Teachers are not saints. They've chosen this profession just like I chose to get into mine. I don't like my profession, but like a professional adult I accept the responsibility and will look for a different career if I feel the time is right.

Previously I took a 6 year wage freeze and reduction in benefits in order to ensure organizational longevity. It was a calculated decision in a difficult economic time.
By your leave 12/23/2012 11:52:25 AM Report

I'm wondering why the holdout teachers' unions aren't calling for all teachers to strike 24/7 during the Christmas break if democracy and kids are soooo important to them?

I guess kids and democracy really aren't that important to the union leaders.

@BibDaddy, I suppose from society's point of view that teachers working every day is way more important than steelworkers working every day. Unfortunate, but true. Steelworkers, and all other PRIVATE sector workers for that matter, will NEVER be legislated to work by the provincial government, or have contacts imposed on them.

By the way BigDaddy, the MAJORITY of our democratically elected representatives enacted Bill 115 because Ontarians are paying teachers and public sector workers with BORROWED MONEY. Taxpayers simply can't afford to continue to do this.

So much for their , 'democracy' and 'fighting for you and me' arguments :(

The holdout teachers' unions should simply and immediately agree to the teacher compensation package that so many other unions have agreed to, and let teachers get back to work after a relaxing Christmas break.

It's really not that hard teachers. Start pressuring your union leaders privately and/or publicly to sign the agreement.
Ricatoni 12/23/2012 2:32:19 PM Report

most of you on here dont even know what the issues are? bill 115 is going to be a huge pain in the back for all of you in Ontario........its going to get worse before it gets better trust me.When goverments start dictating what people can and cant do to better their lives guess what? goverments lose......communist countries clearly show the statiseics for that.....if what the liberals want is unhappy workers who dont care about their jobs in this province then they are on the right track....I have beeen in a union since i was 16 years old when i wasnt in a union the employer paid us $4.00 a hour with no benefits...the owner took all the money for himself while his workers lived in poverty.....this is the conservative ideology, which from reading some of the comments here is what most of you who are complaining bussiness people make me sick with your wa wa wa wa why should workers get anything wa wa wa....most of my friends who are in their late forties early fifties and who are proffesionala are leaving this province for better wages and benefits in other provinces like Alberta why would people stay here in a commuist province when they can leave and prosper in other provinces were there is no commuist dictators like Mcguinty and broten.....Ontario the once most powerful province is now the last province in Canada any one wants to go to .LOL......and all this since the liberals took over ....???what does that tell you about liberal politicians??? As far as I am concerned workers in ontario are about to unleash a wave of work to rule rights and you the regular joes can thank the liberals for your lives turning up side down in 2013.get ready you are about to be used as pawns in the fight against the liberal communist ideas......
doggs 12/23/2012 2:41:52 PM Report

There was no Poll ...The Normal working parent does not support the teachers ...Over paid ,Too many Holidays ( Paid ) ..They all have Sick days ..Yes they should be reduced ...It is time for restraint ...Everyone else is there '''' Take a poll asking the normal working parent & Non parent ..See the Results ''''
EPA 12/23/2012 3:21:35 PM Report

All I have heard since coming to Canada is my grandaughter saying her teacher wasn't in today, they watched fims, played all day etc. etc. There doesn't seem to be much academic work done at all. In England the children worked nearly all day with the odd short academic TV prog. - no free time etc except perhaps the last few days of term. Teachers were in their class room almost 100% of the time and still made time for out of school activities. A Teacher who is called to be a teacher and sees it as a vocation and not a job would never strike and put the children's welfare last. I was forced to strike just once back in England and I vowed never again. The children come first.
On the other hand I would also say that teachers should be working very hard planning, marking etc in their own time and even during the holidays I would spend approx 50% in school planning etc. They deserve a good pay scale if they are doing the job thoroughly.
Over the 40+ years of my teaching experience I have seen how
'Education' has lost much of the value it once had and this action can only lower the expectations and respect that should be held by our educators of our future.
halfday 12/23/2012 4:00:03 PM Report

Some people need to get their facts straight before criticizing. The teacher's union is NOT Cupe. Cupe is the support staff. They are your secretaries, carestaff, educational assistance and more. We need you help to fight bill 115. We already took the wage freeze and reduction of sick days on Sept. 1st. We are asking to have the date of Dec 31, extended to be able to bargain properly. IT IS NOT ABOUT THE MONEY
Ricatoni 12/23/2012 4:37:59 PM Report

EPA:Over the 40+ years of my teaching experience I have seen how
'Education' has lost much of the value it once had and this action can only lower the expectations and respect that should be held by our educators of our future

Very true, but who is blame in all this? teachers who give their own free time for the betterment of others children?or the liberal goverment who is trying to take away the fundamental right to negotiate a good collective agreement. This is clearly not about money or better benefits this is about our right as individuals, in a democratic society to be able to make our lives and that of our children better....If you have a goverment who dictates what your future is going to be you have revolt .....period.......the goverment and minister broten could not run a province if they wanted to.just take a look at their record it speaks for its self..I to am from england and believe me i truly see the difference .Merry christmas :)
W. Yote 12/23/2012 4:57:51 PM Report

Bs. its about the money 2 yrs from now. If the teachers agreed to wage freezes now they wanted a guarantee they would get raises in years 3 and 4.

Government, in a rare moment of fiscal responsibility said we can't commit to that.

Teachers walked away, so government decided it was finally time to deem them essential service.
Zarm27 12/23/2012 5:30:05 PM Report

That was quite a fail, drunken rants should be avoided. I put the wrong Union up there, meant to put Mr Hammond of the ETFO, not CUPE.
By your leave 12/23/2012 5:47:47 PM Report

@Ricatoni, which of the following two rights is MORE FUNDAMENTAL:

1 - The right of taxpayer funded workers to negotiate "a better contract" through collective bargaining when there is no money available to negotiate, or

2 - The right of Ontario school children to recieve strike-uninterrupted, taxpayer funded educations

Please answer this question Ricatoni.
muf 12/23/2012 6:03:40 PM Report

To all the whiners on here pissing and moaning about the teachers how about just home schooling your children. That will show those teachers !!. In fifteen years when all unions are gone and your kids are making peanuts they will have you to thank ! 12/23/2012 6:09:47 PM Report

The problem goes back to the consolidation of our school boards and schools. If the schools were still in our communities and managed my the municipalities as originally set when this good country was formed, we would not have centralized control or the big unions. Teachers would be hired by local communities and the families of students and be accountable at that level. Big government and big unions only benefit the high paid executives on both sides. Look at the non teachers and support staff at the SSM Board offices. My property taxes should pay teachers not union execs and many levels of specialists/political correctness police. Give us back our schools or give us a choice to where our kids are educated and give back the tax funds we pay to support those choices.
By your leave 12/23/2012 7:04:39 PM Report

Amen to that Fremmar!

As for home schooling, muf, unfortunately I, like you, have to pay taxes to educate Ontario's children. So tell me again why I should pay NOT to send my kid to a school?

Besides, I love teachers muf! I, like you, want MORE of them!! Unfortunately MORE TEACHERS is simply not an option at current levels of teacher compensation. Perhaps teachers should make less so we can hire more of them and they can have a less stressful work environment :)

What'cha think muf?
cjborg 12/23/2012 7:17:58 PM Report

This will be my last thought or opinion on this subject this year...

It would be wise for the Teachers & CUPE Unions to heed the law and not cause any further work stoppage or disruptions when Bill 115 comes into effect on Jan. 1, 2013. (Look in the mirror on the wall and keep telling yourself......... its not the money, its not the money etc. etc.)

It would be far wiser for them to just concentrate on the students welfare, first and their own pocket books, second.

As with any citizen, group or lobby they can try to influence the new Liberal Leader to reverse Bill 115 by normal political means when the next election rolls around!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (remember Rae Days and the Common Sense Revolution?? All political parties at some point get fed up with bullying tactics and run-a-way expenditures..)

It can only be expected that breaking the law could and should prove to be very very costly for the teachers, support workers and and foremost their Unions.... The majoriy of politians have voted for this bill.. it will be the law after Jan. 1, 2013 .... Co-ercion and false appeasements cannot be tolerated in a free and democratic socitey.... (Remember: in future, contracts can be notiated downwards as well as upwards!!!!!!!!!! In addition, Unions can also be legislated to provide full disclosure of their income, salaries, political support and other expenditures as well.... just like corporations, charities etc. etc......)

In the meantime, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to one and all........
beanie 12/23/2012 7:46:25 PM Report

By your leave,

Two very good points that nobody seems to want to answer.. well said!
little lulu 12/23/2012 10:32:36 PM Report

HAHA they must have known better than to poll people in the soo....people who don't get the full story and use only partial truths to support their arguments! Way to go Sault Ste Marie! Way to show support for the people who spend more time with your children/grand-children. I'm not one who likes to say "I told you so" but I have a feeling that I won't be able to resist in a few short months when you're all on here complaining because the government has trampled on your rights, taken your pensions, clawed things out of contracts that were fairly negotiated....mark my words...continue to support the government and you will soon be in for a painful wake up call
Zarm27 12/23/2012 11:32:11 PM Report

"fairly" negotiated, hold the education of a country hostage until demands are met... How the f*ck is that fairly negotiated? It's that blatant disregard for our country that has been going on for many years that the rest of the country needs to focus on. What you are showing is that teachers do not care about the overall well being of Canada, but rather their own pockets.

People keep saying how Bill 115 is infringing on their rights. No, it's focused on the effect of people striking all across Canada and literally shutting it down just to justify their own goal.

How basic can people be, the Union is like that child throwing a tantrum, and for years it was placated by given it's absurd request. We now are witnessing the parent attempting to refuse and correct this stubborn brat and yet people that know nothing of the history nor the purpose of their action are still assuming correctness due to the media influencing based on propaganda.

One last thing, how is it that a PE teacher becomes president of a union receiving much more than he would have normally received being a teacher within only 15 years of teaching? It's called corruption, you people supporting these strikes are seriously blind. I can't even laugh, since it's honestly disgusting how oblivious even educated people are.
goldenvehicle 12/24/2012 12:28:16 AM Report

all im getting from this garbage, is that teachers are the only people that have a lesson to learn .
Im done ....
No support ....
J_B 12/26/2012 9:15:44 AM Report

Hey guys, the Soo used to be a Union Town. Look what you've become...I don't think it's for the better. Dofasco, a non union steel maker bought Algoma in the mid 1980's. Dofasco sold Algoma to the highest bidder when Bob Rea told them they weren't allowed to bankrupt the company. How much longer do you think it's gonna be before Essar looks like St. Mary's Paper. And in a few short years all you non union guys will be on out of business when the union guys who built this town and buy your products are all gone. We are all in this together, support one another. It's scary when you think that government and big business are your friends. Kill the Bill, and don't kid yourself if you are not a teacher you are next.
Zarm27 12/27/2012 11:37:32 PM Report

"Look what you've become".

I see Essar being saved based on capital and investment, yet the second a wife of an employee doesn't get a bonus cheque she blasts the company as a whole.

There's a big difference between union workers and business employees. If you are focused on the business, it's expected that you want the company to flourish and will accept the tough times during a bad quarter. It's just part of how things are run, where a "union" employee expects a standard and will not accept less.

That is the essential point here, be it money or benefits, and using the steel plant which is not a public job is comparing apples to oranges.

People assume unions work on their behalf, which yes you pay dues and they are meant to look for the employees' best interest. However, that is economically unfeasible in regards to public sector positions.

A real risk when determining buying a company as an asset is how their company acts as a whole. What that means is if the Union of said company is too strict in their demands, it'll become a money pit. There must be respect for both sides, without it a company will fail.

There are many people who work at the steel plant that understand it, and I'm confident the company will thrive even during difficult times.

Our Government however, will be attacked by pretty much anyone that thinks they know what they're talking about.

With the labour board, really there isn't a need for unions in my opinion. If people want to pay into a scheme that's their business. Although I would want this Country to thrive, if there's going to be so many people on social assistance and others that just hate the government and want to bleed it dry, why should I care? That's a rhetorical question, instead of typing bulls*it to support a blind cause just think of the key points I mentioned.

P.S. I'm done typing on this article, I actually believed it to be dead until I saw the new post.
Zarm27 12/28/2012 2:19:45 AM Report

Before I disregard this article, if everyone was to look at cjoborg's first comment. They would actually see that it's a biased polling that the article was based off. If you look at the "key" points, it would make you see who was pushing it. With only 3 major political parties it should be fairly obvious to anyone.

Kudos to cjborg, and sorry I didn't see it earlier.
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