100 Years Strong: 1919–2019

Chapter One · Chapter Five — Protest and Persuasion



Chapter Five — Protest and Persuasion

Protest and Persuasion:OSSTF/FEESO's Long Tradition of Political Action

Whether it is at a massive Queen’s Park rally, a local information picket in front of a local MPP’s office, a provincially organized “Lobby Day”, or canvassing for politicians who support public education OSSTF/FEESO has always believed that activism is one of the most important tools it has to protect and enhance public education locally, provincially, nationally, and even at the international level.

Whoever’s in charge at Queen’s Park, they need to know how dedicated all members of OSSTF/FEESO are to protecting and enhancing public education from JK to post secondary.

There are lots of ways OSSTF/FEESO/FEES gets that message out. Lobbying. Providing input into government policy. Organizing demonstrations. Getting involved in election campaigns.  Even running ad campaigns.

Here are just three of the times we’ve made a difference.

In 1989, one out of every six Ontario teachers rallied in Hamilton to fight for joint control of the teachers’ pension plan. It was an amazing show of solidarity that led to the formation of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, one of the most successful plans in the world. And then, support staff who contribute to the OMERS plan got the same rights.

In the late 90s, the Harris government attacked collective bargaining, increased class size and cut two billion dollars from education funding. It was all-out war. OSSTF/FEESO members stood firm, even hitting the streets in 1997 to get the message out. It was the biggest job action ever by education workers in North America and showed that we were determined to defend our rights and public education.

Then in 2014, when the Conservatives promised to fire 100,000 public servants, including teachers and support staff, thousands of OSSTF/FEESO canvassers and a powerful media campaign helped turn voters against them.

It seems, despite our proud history, the attacks on public education continue.  In 2018 OSSTF/FEESO launched one of its largest, multi-faceted campaigns, in response to the Ford Conservative government’s attacks on public education.  The No Cuts to Education campaign led to one of the largest rallies in Queen’s Park history with crowds estimated at 30,000.  The fight continues with seemingly no end in sight.  Thankfully, due to the resolve of our membership

Political action. It works and It’s how OSSTF/FEESO does what is right for public education in Ontario.

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