Analysis: Teachers who want to stay home on snow days? Flakes!

(QMI Agency Files)

(QMI Agency Files)

Christina Blizzard, Queen's Park Columnist

, Last Updated: 8:40 AM ET

TORONTO -- Why don't we just give up right now, admit that the inmates are running the asylum, and powerful teacher unions are not just running our elections, they're running the education system as well?

The latest demand by a delegate at the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) convention, that on snow days, when buses are cancelled, teachers should also not have to show up for work, is a case in point.

Fair enough in isolated and rural areas, where teachers may have long drives on icy roads, they may have an argument that it's dangerous for them to attempt to show up for work.

But the majority of schools in this province are in urban areas where there are transit options and where snowplows usually keep the roads cleared.

If teachers are worried about their driving skills in bad weather and prefer to take a day off, they can do so and take one of the generous numbers of sick days they were allocated in the last round of blackmail -- er, bargaining.

Despite the wailing and gnashing of teeth you heard at their convention this week, elementary teachers are not the downtrodden of the world.

In 2009 the province's teachers got a 10.4% pay hike over four years -- bringing the maximum salary to $92,700 after four years -- plus enhanced benefits.

For that kind of money, you buy snow tires and show up for work.

After the Bill 115 debacle, the ETFO made major gains.

First, they were given back the 2% raise the union forfeited in the previous round of bargaining because they were intransigent bullies.

Where other unions were more reasonable and signed on the dotted line, ETFO held out.

As a result, they didn't get the same hike the other unions got for signing early. After Kathleen Wynne took over as premier, her education minister, Liz Sandals, caved in and gave ETFO back the pay hike.

And sure, the government ended the practice of banking sick days, but they gave them a buyback. For every six sick days ETFO teachers don't use, they get one paid day.

They get 11 sick days at full salary and 120 sick days at 90% of salary. So if they want to stay home on a snowy day, they can come down with snowfluenza and take a sick day.


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