Here we go again. With the strike vote given their union, Saturday last, by early-childhood educators in our region’s 19 daycare centres (CPEs), it’s parents who are against the wall. Whenever the union has reached its limit in talks with the provincial government and their employers – scramble, parents! Ninety-nine per cent of those voting approved the strike – clearly no frivolous desire for a holiday.
Are daycare-educators’ demands about to bust Quebec’s budget – by asking their old contact be renewed? Wake up, Quebec City!
Four hundred educators in the Outaouais have been without a contract since March 2015. There are 11,000 unionized workers in Quebec working with no or with expired contracts. Is this the way to run an economy? How can this be considered good government and good business management? How family-friendly is it to push daycare workers to strike?
One point each of us should ponder, with kids or not, married or not, retired or not, is that educators bear one of our society’s most fundamental responsibilities – yet are treated so cavalierly. The purpose of government is not to save money. We have banks. Government is here to make sure we obtain the best from ourselves, for ourselves.
Nickel-and-diming professional employees won’t do that. Just the opposite.
Human development studies place the first three-five years as the most important for our health, development, and education. What we pick up during those hyper-impressionable years will colour our lives, our life choices, and our ability to give back to our communities.
These brief years demand an intense effort – and attention – from everyone, especially parents and educators. Impoverishing them (both) might save almost half a per cent on the provincial budget, but will produce a generation of citizens incapable of, and unwilling to, contribute their maximum for the benefit of us all. Smart governance?
A bigger question is this: is confrontation the most productive way to manage an economy? When does “them vs. us” ever yield good results?
And there are always two sides. Unions are not as socially-oriented as they should be, and as they have been in other times. Unions, besides monetary demands, often make requests that are embarrassingly self-serving.
The idea that employees should do less, do only specific tasks and no others, that they should gain multiple pay cheques for any overtime – all these elements of negotiation – become selfish, anti-social, and self-destructive in the end. Hence, unions are disappearing. Employers are robot-izing/uber-izing many tasks because of this bureaucratic and greedy approach to a working life. Union leaders, like the worst of politicians, pick “wedge issues”, like employees’ task definitions, to re-enforce their own personal positions.
Last, these are our kids, not factory products. Let us know the issues, the demands, the refusals on both sides. Employers: value employees’ tasks at their true worth to society. Employees: take pride in your profession and in your daily occupation. Negotiate as if all children are our community’s future. Please!