Strikes of any length are a burden to the workers. The brunt of the “economic” damage is felt by us, the strikers. The point of a strike is to inconvenience other people. This inconvenience helps remind the government why we are important. The inconvenience also reminds the employer of our power as workers.
The exercising of our power does not come without a financial cost. RTU staffers recognize this, and share it. The RTU president and executive assistants are not paid for strike days. We are part of the negotiating block and stand in solidarity with you, for the good and the bad.
RTU members (teachers) may need to have replacement income during longer strike actions. This is completely understandable. It is also common during prolonged strikes throughout unionism. Many workers in other industries understand and commiserate with the hardships we are facing. They have lived these experiences and support us.
There is no shame or recriminations for requiring another job during a strike. We ask that it not be in education as that is strike breaking. This includes private tutoring, homework assistance and anything else being recommended to parents to “ameliorate” the strike effects.
Regardless of what other work an RTU member chooses to do during the strike actions, we ask that members continue to come to the demonstrations that they can attend. The demonstrations will be at scheduled times. Generally they will last a maximum of 3 - 4 hours a day. We focus on commute times for maximum visibility. We also coordinate with the other locals working for RSB in the Commun Front. Attending these events even for only part of the time helps our negotiators. If we lose people on the lines, the government takes it as a sign that we are weakening and that they can continue to insist on bad deals for us.
RTU hopes that these reasons have convinced you to attend the strike actions we organize and to find work outside the educational field. That is the extent of our power over you. There are no mechanisms for RTU to punish or coerce anyone. We trust you to make the best possible decisions when you have been given all of the facts. We trust you to support the office agents, custodians, technicians and attendants that help us in our classrooms and schools. We trust you to show the government our strength.
See you on the lines.