Listening to members across the province

Provincial Executive visiting schools and worksites in most Districts during the winter

Members of the Provincial Executive, along with Provincial Office staff, have begun to fan out across the province to visit schools and worksites in most OSSTF/FEESO Districts. The focus of these site visits, which will continue through the winter, is to ask members what they see as priorities in the next round of bargaining, which could begin as early as June 2019. Contracts for members covered by the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act expire on August 31, 2019.

The worksite visits to discuss bargaining goals are among the priorities that have been set for 2017/2018 by the Provincial Executive. While it will be impossible for the seven elected officers to visit every one of the more than 2,000 individual schools and worksites where the Federation’s 60,000 members work across the province, the Provincial Executive does want to see as many members as possible over a relatively short period of time. These visits will focus on members who are employed by school boards and covered by the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act.

In his address to delegates at OSSTF/FEESO’s annual Leadership Conference in August, President Harvey Bischof described the planned site visits as a way “to ensure that we gain a detailed picture of what our members hope for out of the next round of bargaining—not only what issues and priorities they feel need to be addressed, but also how far they are willing to go in support of those issues.”

“Our hope,” said Bischof, “is to gain a deeper understanding than we can achieve through surveys alone—a more detailed and more nuanced appreciation of what’s working and what isn’t working for our members in their workplaces.”

The visits, which are being coordinated with local District and Bargaining Unit leaders, began in early November and will continue through to the end of February. Most visits will occur before the workday, during a common lunch period or after work.

For members who are not able to speak to Provincial Executive members during this tour, OSSTF/FEESO plans to launch local and provincial level bargaining surveys in the coming year to acquire additional feedback from the membership in preparation for the next round of bargaining. Members can also send feedback through their worksite or branch representatives to their local Bargaining Unit executive, who can ensure that it reaches their Provincial Executive liaison.

OSSTF/FEESO by the numbers

  • Over 60,000—Estimated number of members that are active and dues paying at any one time
  • 2155—Total number of schools + worksites where OSSTF/FEESO members work in Ontario
  • 230—Approximate number of OSSTF/FEESO job classes in public education from kindergarten to post-secondary
  • 151—Total number of bargaining units in OSSTF/FEESO
  • 37—Total number of districts in OSSTF/FEESO
  • 7—Total number of elected Provincial Executive members.

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