MidlandToday welcomes letters to the editor at andrew@midlandtoday. Please include your full name, daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). The following letter is in response to 'ONTARIO: CUPE education workers start strike vote today,' published Sept. 23.
It seems to me that every couple of years strife arises in one sector of our education system or another over wages, benefits, whatever.
At this time, the area of concern for CUPE seems to be in regards to support staff such as librarians, custodians and administration staff citing wages barely able to support their well-being.
I do understand that $40K annually is not a king’s ransom, but then again how many folks in the private sector would jump at the opportunity to earn this level of income.
My father was a custodian in a high school. Our family was by no means “living the dream," but we got by on my dad’s annual salary, and my mom was for the most part employed part-time. The salary was sufficient to allow my parents to afford a home, own a car, have some of the conveniences and allow for an annual vacation. My father’s position offered probably similar benefits as offered to today’s education support staff. We had a large garden and lived well, really having only to purchase meats.
Perhaps the most important benefit was the pension that was offered when my father retired. Both he and my mother enjoyed their “golden years," again not “living the dream” but were quite secure with this pension.
My question is: How many members of our work force have benefits like health plans, sick days, work in relative secure environments, and how many are provided with pension plans? Many of these folks will face retirement simply relying on CPP, OAS and try to make ends meet, without the benefits of any other pension.
I am not saying that $40K is Cash For Life, but I am saying that again one of our favourite unions is telling only half-truths. Collectively, our education system has driven our province “to the brink.”
We in Ontario live in one of the most over-taxed areas in North America, partially due to the greed of our entire education system. If this union feels its members need better salaries, perhaps they should appeal to the elementary and secondary school unions to share the wealth of benefits they have accrued with other unions in that sector.
Yeah, I can see that happening, can’t you?