The Ontario Secondary School Teacher’s Federation (OSSTF) welcomes its new members whether they be teachers or educational workers and strives to provide them with the information needed to work safely and professionally. We also want to educate our new members as to their rights and responsibilities, both as members of OSSTF/FEESO and as employees.
OSSTF/FEESO, like every union, exists to protect and serve its membership — do not be afraid to ask questions or request assistance.
The five “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) categories below will provide information about a wide variety of questions that new members often have about being part of a union in general or about OSSTF/FEESO in particular.
If you don’t find what you are looking for in any of the sections below, please fill in and submit the “Send us a message" form on the Contact Us page and someone will get back to you with an answer as quickly as possible.
Who is my local executive?
You will find a list of the contact information and websites for all of the OSSTF/FEESO districts and bargaining units on our Districts and Bargaining Units web page. You should be able to find lists of the executive members on the website of your district/bargaining unit.
You will often also find the district and bargaining unit constitutions and bylaws on those local websites and these should tell you when and how elections for positions on the local executive and at the branch/workplace occur. Some local districts and/or bargaining units even have a specific elected or appointed position for a “New Member” representative on the executive.
In all cases, district, bargaining unit and branch/workplace executives are there to help members with any questions or concerns they may have. And all of them welcome participation from members. Indeed, democracy is the hallmark of OSSTF/FEESO decision-making. Anyone can rise to the level of their talents and commitment through progressive elections.
How can I stay up to date with relevant and up to date information?
All bargaining units and districts will occasionally put out newsletters or information bulletins. These may come through your branch or workplace representative as hard copies or electronically on the website or by email from time to time.
In addition, the provincial office produces Update newsletters 9 - 10 times per year andEducation Forum magazine three times per year (October, February and May). You should receive paper copies of these publications at your workplace (or by mail, if you are a casual employee); you can also choose to subscribe to the digital versions of these two publications by going to our “Go Green” section.
From time to time OSSTF/FEESO needs to provide critical and confidential information to its members; this is done in a variety of ways:
• By email: therefore it is very important that bargaining units have a non-employer email address for every member. Please contact your bargaining unit or district office to provide them with a personal email if you have not already done so.
• By means of the Members Only section of the provincial website: User accounts are created by Provincial Office. Your OSSTF/FEESO Membership ID can be found on your OSSTF/FEESO Membership Card and contains digits only. Your password is included with the annual renewal stickers that arrive in member mailboxes within the first two weeks of December. If you are a new member and have not received a letter containing the necessary details, please contact the Membership Database department at Provincial Office to confirm your eligibility to access this site.
• By means of membership meetings. Members are strongly encouraged to attend any “all member” meetings that are called by the district or bargaining unit. These may be needed to provide confidential information related to contract negotiation or ratification, or they may be the general meetings as required by the constitution for the purposes of annual reporting to members, or to amend constitutions/bylaws or for local district or bargaining unit elections.
Why is it important to attend rallies and Union activities etc.? How does my involvement make a difference?
Your participation in union activities ensures our commitment to protecting and enhancing public education. This results in the greatest good for both our members and our province. This is because:
• Without a strong public education system, our diverse, open and prosperous society is threatened;
• Without highly capable, dedicated teachers and educational workers, student success is jeopardized;
• And without positive learning and working conditions, educational progress is undermined.
Indifference is the surest way to erode Public Education – and to undermine the diverse, prosperous society it helps create. As one of the most powerful, progressive forces in the educational community, OSSTF/FEESO can back up its beliefs with action – and really make a difference.
OSSTF/FEESO has a proud history of collective action and political protest
that has resulted in positive changes for all of our members. These collective actions have stopped governments from imposing changes on our members that would both harm our bargaining rights and the public education system overall.
What committees does the OSSTF/FEESO have?
OSSTF/FEESO has a wide variety of committees in which members can get involved at a variety of levels – branch/workplace, bargaining unit, district or even provincial. Most districts and bargaining units have standing committees such as Educational Services, Communications and Political Action, Collective Bargaining, Health & Safety, Status of Women, Human Rights, and many others.
You will generally find information about the available committees in the district and bargaining unit constitutions and bylaws and these should tell you when and how elections or appointments for committee positions on the local and/or at the branch/workplace occur.
The OSSTF/FEESO Provincial Council Nominations Committee invites members who are interested in contributing to the work of the Federation by serving on a Provincial Committee or Council
to consider making an application. Under Related Links on that webpage you can navigate to an online application form (usually updated in January of every year). Under Related Attachments you will find documents that describe the work of each committee as well as the composition of each and how the appointments are made. The deadline for submission of applications is March 1. Any application received after March 1 but before May 1 will be considered a late application, and will only be considered for appointment if there are insufficient on-time applications on file at Provincial Office.