Deep Organizing in Education: An Analysis of Teachers’ Union Strategies in Ontario and British Columbia

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 16:15
Oral Presentation
Christopher BAILEY, York University, Canada
This essay assesses the neoliberal restructuring of kindergarten to grade 12 public education as well as the character of teachers’ union struggles to defend good quality public education in Ontario and British Columbia. I will focus on the recent struggles over education reform and collective bargaining in Toronto and Vancouver to demonstrate this shifting policy environment as well as the declining working and learning conditions facing teachers and students in those cities. I contend that in the face of mounting pressure from neoliberal reformers, teachers’ unions continue to be a progressive force in defense of accessible public education, however, the degree to which they have been successful in halting or reversing the restructuring and cuts to public education varies from province to province. Drawing upon the work of Jane McAlevey (2014; 2016), I aim to examine how teachers’ unions can effectively develop their capacities to mount resistance movements that move beyond the realm of any particular round of collective bargaining and into the social sphere via the whole worker approach to deep organizing (McAlevey 2014; 2016). This entails an examination of the organizational character of each teachers’ union as well as the dominant strategies they employ to achieve success. Here each teachers’ unions’ relationship to their employer, the communities they serve, their own members, and the wider labour movement will be explored.