Abbreviated version of annual action plan to be presented at AMPA 2018
Over the last several years, the Annual Action Plan has addressed many issues of the day. This year, proposals will assist the Federation, its leaders and its members, in enhancing our core strategies of protecting and engaging members, extending OSSTF/FEESO influence, influencing decision makers, and shaping public opinion.
OSSTF/FEESO, along with other affiliates, exercised our influence this year when the Ontario College of Teachers attempted to increase college fees, ostensibly to pay down their mortgage more quickly. In keeping with this action and as a way to keep the spotlight on the college’s actions, we will highlight the proper roles, responsibilities and actions of the college in a campaign geared to our members. We will also look at the other colleges to which our members belong, specifically to ensure that there are no issues with them of which our members should be aware, and upon which OSSTF/FEESO should be acting.
This plan also creates opportunities to develop knowledge at the District level in several areas. The subject of mapping to engage members has been discussed a great deal over the last several years, and some districts/bargaining units have developed and used this method of looking at where their membership is and what they need to do to engage them.
OSSTF/FEESO is proud to have worked closely with the Canadian Labour Congress and the University of Western Ontario in developing a program to address domestic violence. This plan puts in place OSSTF/FEESO training that will assist with the direct support of members who are affected by domestic/gender-based violence.
Custodial and maintenance workers have some specific health and safety concerns, given some of the equipment and materials they are expected to handle. This plan will create a workshop aimed specifically at ensuring the health and safety of our custodial and maintenance members.
OSSTF/FEESO exists in a larger social context. As a way to extend our influence and help to make change on social issues which may not be directly within, but are nevertheless related to our purview, this plan proposes the creation of an Activist-in-Residence program.
Corporate intrusions into public education are a growing concern. The impacts of technology and its implications for privacy and professional judgement are significant. Corporatization and commercialization in education continue to be a concern. This plan proposes a work group to study these issues and proposes plans and strategies to address it.
Education Campaign Re: Professional Colleges
The Ontario College of Teachers continues to expand its mandate, to act beyond the scope of its role, and increase costs to Ontario teachers. In addition to the Ontario College of Teachers issues, there may be issues with other professional colleges.
OSSTF/FEESO will develop an education campaign for members about the role of professional colleges and any concerns OSSTF/FEESO may have with the various colleges.
Mapping and Mobilization
We are at a watershed moment in public education and within the broader labour movement. Austerity budgets have had a serious impact on the full funding of our system, and changes to election rules have forced a rethink of how we typically advocate for a public education model that reflects the perspectives of education workers. We need a plan that harnesses the only leverage we have—the insights, resources and energy of over 60,000 workers. Mapping enables a union to foster a deeper understanding of their membership and the challenges they face in their workplaces and in their communities.
The workshop that has been developed on Mapping was presented at Leadership 2017 and will be offered at Leadership 2018, but may also be used as a resource for districts/bargaining units, and could be made available if required.
Women’s Advocate Training
Over the past several years, OSSTF/FEESO has been at the forefront of issues around domestic violence and violence in the workplace.
OSSTF/FEESO will produce a train-the-trainer model to develop Women Advocates in our Federation who can identify warning signs and risk factors for domestic violence.
The Women’s Advocate will not be a counsellor, but will provide support for women in need of workplace and community resources.
Health and Safety Workshop for Custodial and Maintenance Staff
In order to promote the health, safety, physical and financial well-being of our custodial and maintenance members, we will develop a two-hour workshop which will address short and long term health and safety issues and injury prevention. The workshop would be ready for presentation at Leadership 2019 and would be available for bookings by local districts/bargaining units beginning in the fall of 2019.
Activist-in-Residence programs have become a feature of many organizations, including unions, universities, and other groups. Typically, the host organization provides basic infrastructure for an individual who is working on some kind of social change issue.
The 2018-2019 Annual Action Plan proposes the creation of an internal work group to examine how such programs operate in other organizations, and to develop possible models for OSSTF/FEESO.
Addressing Corporate Intrusions in Public Education
Many of our members have deep concerns about the degree of influence the corporate world has developed and continues to develop in public education. Whether it is efforts to promote various forms of privatization, the use of technology which may create professional judgement and privacy issues, or the surreptitious promotion of commercial interests in our public education institutions, the role which corporations are playing and want to play is sounding alarm bells for many of us. This Annual Action Plan proposes the creation of a work group to examine the current research on the corporate agenda for education, in Canada, the United States, and other relevant jurisdictions. It will also discuss ways to raise awareness of these issues and develop a counter plan.