On the Picket Line

Haven’t been on my soapbox for quite some time.  Still lots of issues I care about – but mostly I’ve been ranting over on Facebook and/or Twitter instead of here…. way more followers there  🙂

But I’m on strike – and if nothing else, that gives me lots to go on about…. and time in which to do it.

This is the second strike I’ve been directly involved in (there was one at Notre Dame of St. Agatha Children’s Mental Health Centre where I worked waaaaaaaaaaaaay back when but I was off recovering from a serious car accident then, so I didn’t actually have the dubious ~pleasure~ of walking the picket line.

Last one was in 2006 – and at the point, I had way too many physical ailments to be standing out there for four hours a day.  I had accommodations for strike duty; show up, offer coffee or bathroom run, do whatever, go home and collect strike pay.

This time I am in much better shape. No more plantar fasciitis, for starters! My reward for being in much better health? No accommodations necessary; I get to walk the line and earn my strike pay with everyone else.

I actually am not unhappy about that. For starters, I need to lose the weight that I’ve put on since I quit smoking (19-Aug; yay me!). It’s good to meet new people – and with seven campuses, there are lots of Georgian people I have not met. And last but certainly not least – as a matter of fact – first – is that this time we are on strike for issues that directly affect me.

It might wind up biting me in the butt, of course – most everything I do at/for them seems to any more – but even-so, the issues we are striking for are issues that I care about.

There are three:

  • Work towards 50/50 split between full and part time professors (from the 81/19 we are are right now)
  • Increased job security (and fairness) re: hiring of part-time and partial load instructors
  • Academic freedom and some input into the courses we teach

There were a whole bunch of other issues that we would have liked to include and resolve – but since the College Employer Council bargaining on behalf of the management of all 24 Ontario community colleges was clearly not open to dealing with all of that, in a last ditch effort to avoid this strike, OPSEU streamlined our demands down to three.

Just three.

Didn’t work, obviously – they rejected those just as quickly as they rejected everything else. No negotiation at all. Just ‘no’.  And they aren’t exactly chomping at the bit to get back to the table either.

It is discouraging.

But, on the plus side, I’m getting to know a whole bunch of people I might never have met otherwise.

And I’m getting lots and lots of steps in on my Garmin vivofit. Beating my kid for this week, even!  Still two non-picketing days to go though, so I’m not resting on my laurels quite yet.



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