Bischof joins striking teachers in Windsor

OSSTF President Harvey Bischof joins the picket line in Windsor, February 13, 2020. (Photo by Maureen Revait)

OSSTF President Harvey Bischof joined hundreds of teachers and support staff on picket lines in Windsor Essex on Thursday.

Public high school teachers in the Windsor area staged a walk-out to protest the cuts made to educational support staff, increases in class sizes, and mandatory e-learning. Bischof said they are going to keep the pressure on the government in hopes they can return to mediated negotiations.

“Our actions have touched on students about once a month. That impact, I don’t diminish it for students and their families, but it’s much less severe than these cuts will be over the long term,” said Bischof.

Bischof has visited picket lines throughout Ontario and said he is grateful for the support he has seen from students, parents and other members of the community.

“In 30 years in education, I’ve never seen this kind of support. It tells us that people understand what this battle is about and I’m absolutely grateful to students,” he said.

Members of OSSTF along with all other education unions will take part in a province-wide walk-out on Friday, February 21 unless an agreement is reached with the government.

In the latest statement issued by Minister of Education Stephen Lecce, he said students deserve better.

“While union leaders are organizing further disruption, our government remains focused on getting deals at the bargaining table through private mediation. We’ve made very significant moves on our position, but union leadership hasn’t moved on substantial items – like their already generous benefits packages and maintaining hiring based on seniority rather than on merit,” read the statement.

There are no talks scheduled between the province and OSSTF.