Local Deal Ratified
Thank you to the Educational Support Staff of Greater Essex that attended the ratification meeting this past Wednesday.
I am so very honoured to be your President and proud of the solidarity you have shown over the last 65 days of our strike. I know that it has not been easy, but your Executive can’t thank you enough for your commitment to OSSTF and our goal to reach a fair collective agreement on your behalf. The result of the Central Vote is expected to be released to members this week.
Coldest Night of the Year
Walk with us on Saturday, February 20, 2016 in the Coldest Night of the Year, a fantastically fun, family-friendly walking fundraiser that raises money for the hungry, homeless and hurting in 100+ communities across Canada. All proceeds go to support the Windsor Downtown Mission.
OSSTF/FEESO welcomes inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls
Source (Provincial Office Website)
Related Link- Native Women’s Association of Canada
December 9, 2015 — The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF/FEESO) is pleased to see that the Trudeau Government is moving quickly to hold a public inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada. Over the past few years, OSSTF/FEESO has joined a large number of labour and activist organizations to lobby the Federal Government demanding that a public inquiry be held.
“The recent announcement that a public inquiry will be held is an encouraging sign that this government may be willing to act on the many important issues for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples in Canada that have been largely ignored by the previous Harper Government,” said OSSTF/FEESO President Paul Elliott. “We have worked with the Canadian Labour Congress and many other organizations, including the Native Women’s Association of Canada, to demand that the government hold an inquiry on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. We take the government’s announcement as an indication that our voices have been heard.”
“While we applaud the formation of the commission, and the government’s willingness to include the families of those Indigenous women and girls who have been murdered or are missing within the parameters of the inquiry, there is still lots of work to be done,” continued Elliott.
OSSTF/FEESO has been active in lobbying various levels of government to address a variety of issues involving First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples both in Canada and in other countries, including in the area of education. The Federation released a curriculum resource for educators in 2012 called Full Circle: First Nations, Métis, Inuit Ways of Knowing, and is currently exploring ways that OSSTF/FEESO can support the implementation of the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. OSSTF/FEESO has a First Nations, Métis and Inuit Advisory Work Group that provides advice to the Provincial Executive on many matters related to Indigenous issues.
Elliott concluded by stating, “I will be sending a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau on behalf of the Federation insisting that he and his government uphold their promises to address First Nations, Métis and Inuit issues, and that they implement the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. A full inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls is a good first step.”
Social Media Awareness for Members
(Source -Provincial Office webiste)
Facebook, Twitter and other social media services have been around for about a decade now. Millions of people have embraced social media and this has also resulted in employers taking an interest in what their employees are posting on their personal accounts. A recent Canadian survey showed that 63 per cent of employers look up potential employees’ social media profiles before making a hiring decision.
There has been a marked increase in workers being disciplined for their activities on social media. More often than not, arbitrators have been upholding employer decisions to discipline workers for certain activities on their personal online profiles including harassment/bullying, adverse comments about the employer, breach of privacy, and inappropriate postings.
Harassment/Bullying—When employees turn to social media to vent their frustrations, the public nature of social media can lead to a nasty war of words in a public forum. Recently, an arbitrator upheld the termination of a heavy equipment operator for posting “vicious and humiliating” comments about a co-worker on Facebook.
Adverse comments about the employer—Any public comments made by an employee that portrays their employer in a negative light can be subject to discipline. A short suspension of a teacher for comments they put on their personal Facebook page about what they thought was a bad decision by a principal was upheld by an arbitrator recently.
Breach of privacy—Because most members work with children, or handle records of students or employees, privacy is always a concern. Cases of discipline have occurred where an education worker adversely commented about a child’s behaviour in a classroom on social media and it was reported by a parent to administration.
Inappropriate postings—While the views expressed may be your own on your personal social media account, they remain public and are often tied to your job. School boards have called in employees to answer for comments that they have made about their students, or for photos that they have posted of themselves engaged in behaviour that may bring their personal judgement as an employee into question.
Education workers are held to a very high social standard and this must be remembered when it comes to engaging in social media. It does not mean that members should stay away from any social media activity. What it does mean is that members need to engage with social media responsibly, no different than how they conduct themselves outside of the digital world.