Three ‘no-nos’ in one

The success in getting along with others on a social outing is to avoid three subjects, for they can easily sour the mood of an otherwise enjoyable evening.

Politics, religion and money are the three often noted culprits of hampering a good time. It wasn’t until a recent night out that the light bulbs went off and I realized the three ‘no-nos” can quickly roll into one big subject to avoid: unions.

That is said in jest, but a recent social outing turned to talk of the teacher strike. Very quickly the Doug Ford politics came into play, as did the money factor, and then a slight turn to religious devotion to the union cause. Three “no-nos” quickly came together.

Admittedly, my views on unions have tempered over the past quarter century commenting here.

It is pretty easy to be critical of organizations like unions that rarely seem satisfied. The push always seems to be on for more: more pay, more benefits, more time off. Equally, the push is there to do less and to cover up for those who can’t keep up.

Such sweeping generalizations have made unions a bad word in many circles.

But consider for a moment, the thanks unions are owed for improving working conditions in some horrendous workplaces, securing better pay for their members (which indirectly helps all workers) and ensuring trades people a respectable living.

As noted here when the first strike days commenced, the public is in the dark on this strike. Weeks and months later that darkness has not changed.

The talking points still include keeping wage increases to 1%, increasing classroom counts and allowing for the embrace of internet learning.

Since these discussions started months ago, strike days are set to increase.

The government has recently offered to pay parents an inconvenience rebate for those who need childcare to cover strike days. The basic $25 per day fee pales in comparison to the cost of childcare, let alone the loss to a parent or their employer when a day is taken away from productive work. There is a degree of stress for families caught off guard by strike days who need to work and make a living but want to do their best to care for their children.

Back-to-work legislation does not appear to be an antidote since the hit-and-miss days off do not qualify as a “pressing and substantial purpose,” which stands at the test for legislation. Rather, these intermittent days are an inconvenience at this point.

Parents have also been instructed in many cases that extracurricular activities like day outings are cancelled. For some kids, these activities at school are their only chance to experience culture and see new things. That we find sad, and not in keeping with current union promises that their efforts are all for the kids.

But this kind of irony is nothing new, nor are the tactics, actions and rhetoric of government.

Parents and kids pay the price.