2016—2017 · Vol. 44 No. 1



Leadership training 2016

Over 400 local Federation leaders converged in Ottawa in mid-August for Leadership 2016, this year’s edition of OSSTF/FEESO’s annual training conference. Designed to help local leaders and activists improve service to members, and to bring them up-to-date on current issues in education, the Leadership conference was organized by OSSTF/FEESO Vice-Presidents Harvey Bischof and Cindy Dubué, with the assistance of Provincial Office staff.

Training began with a full day of sessions for 24 first-year Bargaining Unit presidents, followed by two and a half days of workshops for all delegates.

President Paul Elliott opened the conference with an address that updated delegates on recent issues concerning public education and bargaining, and laid out some of the Federation’s priorities for the upcoming school year. He noted that, a full year after a central agreement had been reached, there were still teacher Bargaining Units that did not have local deals with their school boards.

Pointing out that these boards have shown very little will to negotiate fair deals in the new two-tiered bargaining environment, Elliott said that the failure to have full agreements in place with these boards was “…unprecedented, and simply not acceptable.”

The president went on to review some of the issues that continue to challenge members of OSSTF/FEESO, including violence in the workplace, a lack of transparency in university funding, health and safety concerns and problems with the implementation of the Early Learning Program, to name a few. Elliott also highlighted the importance of our Charter challenge victory on Bill 115, not just for our own members, but for the broader labour movement.

Delegates also had the opportunity to hear from two keynote speakers. Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dubé talked about his newly expanded role dealing with complaints concerning school boards, and the deputy general secretary of the South African Democratic Teachers Association (SADTU), Nkosana Dolopi, reflected on the strong relationship between his union and OSSTF/FEESO over the past decade. He also updated delegates on both the progressive changes his members have seen in South Africa, and the challenges that they continue to face.

Local leaders had a choice of over 50 workshops on a wide range of topics, including communications strategies, political activism, supporting members in difficulty, issues of common concern, social justice, collective bargaining, and many others.

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