If there was one teachers’ union president who created controversy during the 1997 two- week strike against the Mike Harris government, it was Earl Manners, president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF). Manners’ career path began as an early childhood educator with very young children and moved on to secondary students, a better paying and more secure job.

During the interview, Earl speaks the language of the left and of labour. He considered the OSSTF a white-collar union that was part of the labour movement. During his presidency, he moved the secondary teachers further to the left, where he could collaborate with other labour leaders. History has confirmed his view of the teachers’ unions.

Earl’s explanation of the end of the strike is a surprise, leaving us to speculate.

Interviewed by Andy Hanson and Harry Smaller.

Oral History ProjectEarl Manners
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