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What Are Labour Disputes Teaching Our Kids?

Updated on December 15, 2012
What are our children learning from the strikes, lockouts and work to rule around them?
What are our children learning from the strikes, lockouts and work to rule around them? | Source

Strikes, Lockouts, Work to Rule

Labour issues are very complex in our world today. Unfortunately, they often lead to strikes, lockouts or work to rule actions.

Currently, there are 2 labour issues that are affecting my life -- the NHL lockout which most of you (in North America at least) will have heard about, and the teachers' unions in many areas of Ontario.

I imagine that there are similar problems affecting areas of your life right now as well.

I have a question though. How does this affect our kids?

Millionaires vs Billionaires

The NHL lockout is looking grim from the point of view of a hockey fan, which I admittedly am.

The greatest game on earth next to golf is not happening because billionaires and millionaires can't agree on how to split up the pie.

Thousands of regular stiffs like me and you are not able to work in the arenas and other support services surrounding the NHL games. I'm sure that CBC is really missing their #1 revenue generator.

And it's all because the players want more money and the owners want more money and neither one thinks the other deserves it. How about dropping ticket prices so that the fans have more money!

But besides the lack of our favourite (well, at least MY favourite) winter entertainment, there is something that is being taught here -- an attitude.

Lessons at School

Looking at the situation in the schools here in Ontario, it is easy to see the impact that the teachers/government unrest has on our children.

My daughter is in 8th grade. This is the last year before high school. It is her opportunity to be a leader on the basketball team and the band. She has a year of learning to be a leader and role model for the younger generation before she slips to the low end of the scale in high school.

I want her to have these opportunities. They are a big part of the reason we've kept her in school rather than home schooling.

But they are extracurricular activities. And they were the first to go when the uncertainty about contract talks and possible strike or work to rule were in the air.

The sad thing is that the teachers at my daughter's school seem to be willing to put in the extra time but the school board decided to cancel the basketball season and band and other programs our kids were looking forward to anyway.

What are your Thoughts on Strikes?

How do you feel about strikes in general?

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Remember the Children

But all that aside, what lessons are being taught to the children in these situations?

I had a good talk with my daughter yesterday. The teachers will have a 1 day strike action this week that will shut the school down for a day. While it is nice to have the day off, she does really love school. She'll miss it.

The government doesn't seem too upset about the whole thing. The fact that students are missing out doesn't have an impact.

We also talked about how the lockout in the NHL is different, how we don't easily relate to either side of that battle.

But the bigger picture is what bothers me. And she understands that, thankfully. She sees the issue but I'm not sure that all the kids do.

The idea that doing something that hurts a 3rd party to get what you want is acceptable is what really bothers me. It's like they're using a human shield or hostage to get their way.

Our kids are with the teachers day in and day out. For the most part, students like or at least relate to their teachers. And they naturally side with the teachers. I'm sure some of them are hoping for a full blown strike -- extra long Christmas vacation 8=)

So, how will our children act when they hit the work force? Will they be willing to sacrifice someone else for their own agenda? Or will they find a better way to resolve labour issues?

I sure hope it's the latter.


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