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Dawson Teachers Don't Want a Strike

October 22, 2015 | News

The Dawson Teachers Union on strike. Dawson Teachers’ Union Facebook page

Gabriel Tordjman, the Vice President External of the Dawson Teachers’ Union (DTU), spoke to students of a Feature Writing class about the vote for the teacher’s strike and the aftermath of the results, which were 81.6% in favor of striking.

“The real purpose of this vote for a strike isn’t to hold a strike,” he says. “We want to intimidate the government intro re-negotiating our contracts and working conditions.”

Tordjman explained how the DTU wants to use the strike as a threat and that ideally they’d like the government to resolve the issues now, so that it won’t have to come down to a strike. However, the teachers are fully prepared to strike if necessary.

“We don’t know exactly when the strike will happen if it does come down to it,” Tordjman told the students. “Whether it’ll be an extended semester, or days taken away from scheduled ped-days, or any other decision regarding how to make up for those lost days is all up to the administration of Dawson College.”

Tordjman says that the teachers will do their best to reorganize their teaching plan to accommodate for the lost days, but other than that there isn’t much the teachers can do because the final decision lies with the administration.

Tordjman guesses that if a strike were to happen, it would take place within the months of October and November. “We’re trying to find the best time to strike,” he says.

He points out how the people who are in favor of the vote believe that these issues they are fighting for pertain not only to teachers but also to the students. He explains how if these issues do not get resolved it will negatively affect the teacher’s teaching methods which will have negative consequences on the students.

The two main issues that the teachers are trying to renegotiate in their contracts are the non-permanent teachers’ lack of resources and inequality of wages. They are asking for a 13.5% increase in pay over the course of five years, to receive more resources for special needs students and programs, as well as maintain or reduce the class sizes and student to teacher ratios.

“The government has so far responded with giving us delay tactics and quite shocking counter-arguments,” Tordjman says.

The government has ignored the demands of the teachers and have in fact made it more difficult for non-permanent teachers. “They say there’s no new money available and also that if we want more funding into one resource then it must be taken away from another resource.”


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