Bargaining, Sanctions, Elections and More

What a week this past week!! We had a Federal Election On Monday, we were called back to the Central Table for Monday October 26th , and then the Premier threatened to dock pay if deals are not reached by November 1,2015……,

Election Update- Monday October 19th, 2015

Rania Abel Rahman Early Childhood Educator Voting for Change
Rania Abel Rahman Early Childhood Educator Voting for Change

First, thank you to everyone that went out to vote. The reponse to our selfie contest was phenominal!! I am so pleased that our members engaged in and educated themselves about the issues affecting unionized workers in Canada. As a labour movement, we were collectively planned to educate our members with the goal of defending the NDP seats locally and taking a seat away from sitting conservatives. We did it!  The Liberal majority was not expected. The day before election was held,  the polls were expecting a Liberal minority government. With the election of Justin Trudeau, we will continue to monitor his government’s performance and hold his government to account for the promises he has made. Thank you to everyone that went out to vote!! We could not have done it without you!!

Lisa Gretzky, Windsor West calls on the Minister of Education to resign. 

Minister of Education threatens to dock pay for ETFO, CUPE and OSSTF Support Staff should deals not be reached by November 1st, 2015.

This announcement is nothing short of a bullying tactic by the boards, to get have OSSTF accept a collective agreement that does not meet the needs of our members. The Premier knows that OSSTF is going back to the central table Monday October 26. 2015 with the hopes of reaching an agreement, and this is nothing more than a slap in the face to OSSTF since we were intending to meet on Monday in the hopes of reaching a collective agreement. I am not sure what the board would deduct our pay for?

Please sign up today!! You won't be disappointed
Please sign up today!! You won’t be disappointed

Hmm sorry Martha you get docked pay because you weren’t here at 7.30 am and didn’t stay until 5.30 and you didn’t volunteer to stay until 8pm tomorrow night for the open house, jk registration nights and didn’t take on more kids that we don’t have identified as requiring support …….it makes absolutely no sense to me and is a bullying tactic by the boards. Our resolve must be stronger than ever to allow us to achieve a fair collective agreement that meets the needs of all support staff.


Please call the Member data base department for your Member ID and password to access the Bargaining Bulletins. 1-800-267-7867

Tip Sheet for OSSTF-ESS Members

1. “Why are we on strike?” We are on strike because our collective agreements expired over 13 months ago, in August of 2014. We expect and demand that you, as a support staff member, are respected and heard at the bargaining table. The things that you would expect are important (salary, benefits, working conditions, job security, etc.) remain the topic of conversation at the central table and are going to have to be resolved to the satisfaction of our members. This demand of being listened to and respected comes with an obligation to force the other side to do so. Failure to back up demands would send a very weak message.

2. “Is the strike having an effect?” In discussions with school boards and with government, it is clear that our strike actions are having an effect. Most school boards are in the process of reallocating school administrators to deal with local issues and Directors have requested that the Ministry suspend any initiatives. There has been signifi cant media coverage regarding some of our sanctions. Sustained pressure is what is needed to bring negotiations to a satisfactory conclusion.

3. Strike actions vs. full withdrawal of services: We are often questioned about why we are engaging in these types of job actions instead of full withdrawal of services. In some circumstances, steady and sustained pressure is what is needed rather than something that is more extreme. These strategic decisions should not be confused with lack of will or weakness. There is a time and place for different types of strike actions. These are the actions that best meet our needs at the moment, but increased levels of sanctions may be implemented if the need arises.

4. “Aren’t these tasks part of my regular duties?” The term “work-to-rule” is often used when describing a limited withdrawal of services, which can be confusing. In this case, we’re engaged in a limited strike action whereby we are not performing certain tasks. Some of those tasks may be of a voluntary nature and some may be more directly tied to functions normally performed as part of the job. In either case, we’re engaged in legal strike activity and those tasks identifi ed in our sanctions are struck work, meaning that they won’t be performed for the duration of the strike. The easiest way to look at it is through the lens of a full withdrawal of services, in this way: “If I were on the sidewalk carrying a placard on a full withdrawal of services, would I worry about whether I had to perform the task in question?” The answer is invariably “no,” because in either case, we’re involved in legal strike action. Strikes are difficult for both sides.

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5. Communications: During any kind of job action, members of the media will often attempt to approach you to get your perspective. You should not offer comments to reporters who want to speak to you. Instead, you should direct all media inquiries to your Bargaining Unit President. All communications with the media must be approved by the Provincial Executive member assigned to your bargaining team. If a member of the public, such as a parent or neighbour approaches you asking about the reasons for job sanctions, or why you are on strike you may wish to state the following: We are on strike because our collective agreements expired over 13 months ago, in August of 2014. We expect and demand that as a support staff member, we should be respected and heard at the bargaining table and that support staff deals cannot simply be put aside. Salary, benefits, working conditions, and job security are important to us and need to be resolved in order to end this job action.

6. Management asking members to disregard some or all strike directives: OSSTF/FEESO is in a legal strike position. As such, you are required to participate in strike actions as mandated. It is entirely improper for management to interfere in any way in the administration of the union, including strike rules in this case. If your supervisor asks you to disregard some or all strike directives, inform them that you are within your legal rights to withdraw services at this time and any interference may lead to labour board charges against them and report any incidents to your Bargaining Unit President immediately.

7. Support from other unions and Bargaining Units: While we enjoy a great deal of support from other unions and Bargaining Units, we need to remain aware of the fact that others are not in a position to defy management in assisting us with our sanctions. For example, if a Principal/Supervisor orders a member from another union or Bargaining Unit to do work that we think crosses the line into ours; the other employee is not in a position to fl atly refuse, except if on strike or with explicit collective agreement language. However, if you believe that another union is undermining our strike, please notify your Bargaining Unit President.

8. “When will this end?” Strike actions will end after an acceptable and respectful central agreement is reached, not before

Want more Educational Resources and News from OSSTF? Click below to read this month’s edition of Education Forum

Education Forum Online Magazine for all OSSTF members

In summary I want to personally thank you for your resolve during the current sanctions. This is not easy, I know it is not. I appreciate your solidarity, your commitment and your resolve. Together we will achieve a collective agreement that respects the work that we do.

In solidarity,



Author: Martha Hradowy

President of the Educational Support Staff Bargaining Unit District 9

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