By Michael Boriero
While thousands of early childhood educators and daycare support staff across Quebec remain committed to an unlimited strike, Angie Mason, who works at the CPE Panda in Lennoxville, wants to remind everyone why this situation has spiralled out of control in the first place.
“We all understand that our salary is one of the main talking points […] right now but it goes far deeper than the actual salary and I think that’s what we all want parents to understand is that we’re out there hoping to maintain a quality education for zero to five year olds,” she said.
Mason is part of the daycare’s pedagogical and technical support staff. Her position would have received one of the lowest salary increases as part of the government’s latest contract proposal had it not been rejected last week. She just wants to be recognized for her work.
No one wants to be on the picket line, standing in the cold every day, Mason explained, but it’s necessary if they want to get their message across to the provincial government. And it has become increasingly difficult to see eye-to-eye at the contract negotiation table.
“We believe that we should have an equitable salary, you know, we are experts and professionals who have gone to school to ensure we understand what the zero to five development stages are, so right there, we’ve already got the required education,” she said.
However, as Mason pointed out, it goes beyond salary for many of the educators and support staff employed at the CPEs involved in the province-wide strike. The quality of service at daycares has been deteriorating for several years, Mason said, and it’s only getting worse.
“It’s getting increasingly difficult for the educators to leave for their planning time. Already they have approximately two hours per week which they can plan their curriculum and observations, you know we do evaluations or reports for the parents twice a year now,” said Mason.
She has worked at CPE Panda for over 10 years. And according to Mason, she has never seen anything quite like this unlimited strike. Educators have always fought for better working conditions, but now the situation is beginning to effect children and parents.
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