A Tale of Two Cities

Recently, Chicago resolved its teacher strike, delivering the teachers a 17.6% pay raise over four years. This was seen as an immense victory by many in the labour movement.

In Ontario, the dispute between teachers and the government still rages. (The Toronto Star has produced a helpful primer on the topic.) I’ve written before about the importance of teaching wages keeping pace with those of other professions, but the recent news from Chicago highlights two very different approches in these very different districts.

The stance taken by the province seems to be taking a position rather than negotiating in line with its interests, to use the language of Urry and Fisher in Getting to Yes. The province had no interest in most of what has emerged as contentions – they had an interest in keeping costs down and quality up. Now they have become embroiled in a dispute over the minutiae of the contract. In Chicago, they seemed to understand this difference.

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