Public and Catholic Board Workers Rally in Chatham-Kent

A stock photo of a classroom.

With a work stoppage on the horizon for many education workers, close to 20 took their fight to Chatham-Kent.

On Thursday, protestors waved sign opposing cutbacks in the class room in front of Progressive Conservative Rick Nichol's office.

Erin Roy is Local 1348 President for OSSTF.

She tells AM800 News the cut backs are going to be a "disaster" when they finally hit classrooms.

"We're going to have the same number of kids if not more with 10,000 [teachers less] in the system," she says. "I think this just devastation to the system frankly. You'll have exploding class sizes, the infrastructure's not there and those numbers don't even include there plans with mandatory e-learning."

Roy says parents should be more outraged than teachers and support staff.

"People should be paying attention to what's going on, our education system should be one of the top priorities of all Ontario's citizens and some of these cuts that they're putting forward will devastate the system," says Roy.

Anne Marie diMario is the district president of OSSTF and says support staff will be on the picket lines if an agreement isn't reached, but they'll do their best to let students get to school on time.

"We're the secretaries at the school so we do safe arrivals for our students, so we'll see how our principals handle that," says diMario

If a strike occurs, the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board says all elementary and secondary schools will be closed.

The Catholic Board employs 565 full-time and occasional CUPE support staff, including educational assistants, designated early childhood educators, child and youth workers, psychotherapists and other para-professionals.

The Greater Essex County District School Board says it has a contingency plan in place and its schools will remain open.

— with files from AM800's Peter Langille