I have to take issue with your unsigned editorial concerning the teachers union’s current demands. You say that it is all right for the union to fight for smaller class sizes and better resources but not for money. I disagree. I am not a teacher, but a professor at Okanagan College. Like the teachers, our union too is fighting for a wage increase. This is the third contract in a row in which we have been offered a zero wage increase. That’s a full decade in which the buying power of my wage cheque has continued to decline.
You suggest that this is a bad time to demand higher wages. Apparently, there is never a good time. But I might remind you that in the decade when my wages, and the teachers’ wages, have declined in value, the wealthiest sector of our society has continued to accumulate obscene amounts of money courtesy of governments who refuse to tax them at a more appropriate level.
Professors and teachers are professionals who spent many years earning higher degrees – years in which it was understood that we would be making very little, in order to make a reasonable salary later on. But no. According to you, to make a demand for a wage increase tarnishes our “image.”
Two things might have occurred to you before you decided to take the employers’ side.
First, you say “that many businesses are struggling to make ends meet.” That was also the argument against raising the minimum wage. However, a higher minimum wage, and increased teachers’ and professors’ wages would mean that we would have more money to spend at these businesses, and they, in turn, would increase their profits.
Second, while you rightly praise Jack Layton for his support of the environment, the homeless, of women and of youth, you have forgotten that Dr. Layton was also, and perhaps primarily, on the side of workers and of unions. Odd that you should neglect that aspect of Layton’s work at the same time that you print an anti-union editorial.
Dr. David Lethbridge