After a one-day, province-wide strike on December 4, 2019, OSSTF/FEESO members have continued the resistance to the Ford government’s education agenda with five one-day full withdrawals of service in selected locations over the ensuing five weeks. OSSTF/FEESO’s strategy has continue to be measured, and focused on maintaining the quality of public education in Ontario.
OSSTF/FEESO’s job actions send a strong message that education workers and teachers are ready and willing to take action—including full-withdrawals of service—to defend Ontario’s publicly-funded education system.
Any job action can create fear, angst, and frustration amongst members. For many, this is the first time they have participated in a limited or full withdrawal of service. Yet, based on the plethora of actions members are taking—from letter writing, media interviews, creative picket line actions, to social media monitoring and reaction to every post made by a Ford MPP—regardless of the school or worksite picket location, the commitment and resolve of members remain strong.
Although it is impossible to predict how this will end, there are signs that our strategy, along with the solidarity shown by members, are having the desired effect.
Although the job actions taken by education workers and teachers can be temporarily disruptive to families, a number of polls show that the majority of Ontarians do not support the Ford education agenda and believe the government is on the wrong track when it comes to public education.
Perhaps even more encouraging than the poll results is the surge in grassroots, parent, and community advocacy groups that continue to sprout up across the province since the election of the Ford government. Ford’s and Lecce’s actions have inspired many Ontarians to stand up and fight back. This kind of mobilization has not been seen in Ontario since the dreaded
Parent and community groups understand what is at stake. Groups like Ontario Families for Public Education and the Ontario Parent Action Network have helped spark a new movement that is determined to push back against any government-led attack on publicly-funded education.
Education sector workers will continue to be tested by this government. History has shown that labour negotiations are, more often than not, a marathon rather than a sprint. However, your commitment and solidarity in support of the Federation’s bargaining strategy remain the best hope to thwart this government’s misguided ideology and its efforts to dismantle Ontario’s publicly-funded education system.
It is your passion, desire, and commitment to providing the best possible learning environment for students that fuels all of our efforts to defend public education.
Stay strong. Stay united. Moreover, as always, let us help one another as we fight to protect and enhance public education.
- April 29, 2019 OSSTF/FEESO files notice to bargain
- August 31, 2019 Collective Agreements expire for members workers covered under the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act
- November 18, 2019—OSSTF/FEESO’s education workers voted 92 per cent in favour of strike action, and the Federation’s teacher and occasional teacher members provided a
95.5 per cent strike mandate.
- November 26, 2019—limited withdrawal of services begin, first province-wide job action in more than twenty years
- December 4, 2019—one-day, province-wide full withdrawal of services
- December 11, 2019—one-day, full withdrawal of services in selected locations across Ontario
- December 18, 2019—one-day, full withdrawal of services in selected locations across Ontario
- January 8, 2020—one-day, full withdrawal of services in selected locations across Ontario
- January 14, 2020—one-day, full withdrawal of services in selected locations across Ontario
- January 21, 2020—one-day, full withdrawal of services in selected locations across Ontario.