Strike Fever: The Math Doesn't Work

globeandmail.com: Ontario elementary teachers set date for strike vote
Parents of elementary students in Ontario's public education system could face a disrupted academic year after a Feb. 13 strike vote was set yesterday for 73,000 teachers.


Holy cats.
First it was university teachers wanting a 9% salary increase over 3 years.
Now it's the elementary teachers wanting a 12% over 3 years (the 4th year they will forgo an increase in lieu of hiring 1500 new teachers).

This is a really, really dumb year to try and strike or negotiate pay increases and increased benefits. Folks with jobs outside of unions are hunkering down, corporations are freezing any pay increases for 2009 and capping bonuses. But unionized, government education workers are  pulling out all the stops.

Man, no support for strikes this year.

I'm not quite sure how the elementary school teachers could demand 12% over 4 years. In theory, they are an operational expense for the Ontario taxpayers. In theory, I pay a percentage of property taxes to pay for education. Since it's primarily a closed operating system, in order to increase their salary 12%, there would have to be an equal increase on my education taxes of 12%.

If you have an average teacher's salary of $70,000, a 12% raise (sure, spread over 4 years) is an $8,4000 bump. What if there's no merit to that raise? You'd get $8,400 for the minimum requirement of breathing?Holy cow I'd love a guaranteed $8,400 raise. Would I!!

If you extend this raise across all the 73,000 teachers - you end up with an incremental $613,000,000 that needs to be funded by the Ontario taxpayer. Cripes. That's over half a billion dollars in net new taxes.

Perhaps the Ontario Teachers should be looking to cost saving options, leveraging technology and reducing expenses as opposed to throwing a hefty tax bill at the Ontario taxpayers in this climate. They just might see more support.