As an OSSTF/FEESO member, you have ready access to a wide range of services. They span the personal, professional and protective needs of all members.
If you are a teacher or an occasional teacher and have not applied for an OSSTF/FEESO Certification Rating Statement, ask your branch president (representative) for an application form. The Rating Statement will determine your placement on the salary grid in the teacher collective agreement.
Many local bargaining units or districts have a permanent office with full-time staff. The local organization will provide you individually with advice and assistance. First and foremost among the objects of OSSTF/FEESO is the protection of members, both individually and collectively. In order to carry out this objective, your local bargaining unit or district has a number of committees to serve you, including:
- Collective Bargaining
- Educational Services
- Status of Women
- Communications/Political Action.
Many local units also provide a Long Term Disability Plan, Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or other benefits and services. Ask your branch representative for information on the services in your district or bargaining unit.
Provincial office services
OSSTF/FEESO’s Provincial Office operates in three major areas: protective services, educational services and communications/political action. Staff at Provincial Office offer advice, assistance and training in the areas of:
- pensions - both OMERS and TPP;
- grievances and arbitrations;
- professional colleges;
- health and safety;
- employment insurance;
- pay equity;
- workers’ compensation (WSIB);
- human rights;
- scholarships, grants and awards;
- professional growth issues;
- French language services;
- educational finance
Provincial office provides support and assistance to all local bargaining units upon request in all OSSTF/FEESO activities.
You can also view our constitution, bylaws, and Policies & Procedures Manual. These documents define your rights, privileges and responsibilities as a member, and a provide full set of Federation policies and procedures.
The Educational Services department is responsible for issues related to teacher education, testing, curriculum, resource books, educational research, professional colleges and special education. The department administers scholarships and bursaries, and sponsors professional conferences and workshops. It also manages the work of two OSSTF/FEESO councils - Parliamentary and Constitution and Judicial, and the Educational Services Committee.
Protective Services staff, in conjunction with the Collective Bargaining Committee, assist members of local districts in all aspects of negotiating collective agreements and maintaining the agreements once in place. Training is provided on health and safety, negotiations, grievance and arbitrations and education finance through conferences and regional meetings. The department also gives direct assistance to members on employment insurance, pensions, benefits and WSIB issues.
The Communications/Political Action Department is responsible for communications, both internal and external; public relations; media relations; political action; legislative research; lobbying and awards. Training is provided at conferences and regional meetings.
Three provincial committees assist the department: Communications/Political Action, Human Rights and Status of Women. In addition, the Mediation Services Resource Bank is accessed through this department.
OSSTF/FEESO publishes Update, a newsletter for all members, every three weeks. Education Forum, a periodical, is issued three times per year. The provincial OSSTF/FEESO website provides a wealth of valuable information.
Whom to call...
Do you have problems, concerns, questions? Do you need advice, or assistance? Find out who your workplace representative is from other employees. They will be able to direct you to your local bargaining unit officer who will give you the assistance you require or direct you to the Provincial Office field secretary assigned to your bargaining unit.
If you wish, call the Provincial Office directly at 1-800-267-7867 and ask for the Duty Officer. The Duty Officer will put you in touch with your field secretary or help you if the field secretary is not available.
Remember that OSSTF/FEESO exists to serve the membership - do not be afraid to request assistance. Never resign under pressure! Check with OSSTF/FEESO first. You have the right to representation In any interview with the employer or its agents regarding your job performance, you have the right to have a representative of OSSTF/FEESO appear with you on your behalf.
Your collective agreement
The collective agreement, negotiated by your bargaining unit with your employer, defines your entire working relationship with your employer. It contains vital information regarding your salary and pay dates; your benefit plans; your holiday entitlement; maternity and other leave plans; seniority; posting procedures; transfers; working conditions; and other matters that affect your day-to-day working life. Ask your workplace representative for a copy of the collective agreement. It is your guarantee of protection and security.
The grievance procedure
Remember that the collective agreement has been negotiated. Both the bargaining unit and the employer have an obligation to enforce the terms of the agreement. If there is disagreement about what the agreement means, or if you believe your treatment by the employer violates the terms of the agreement, the grievance procedure should be used to ensure that what has been negotiated is maintained. Contact your workplace representative immediately! The grievance procedure is a problem-solving device to resolve differences between the employer and the employee. From the first step of the procedure to the last step of arbitration, OSSTF/FEESO will be there to represent you.
Most collective agreements contain a “just cause” clause which prohibits the employer from acting in an arbitrary manner with regard to firing, demoting or disciplining an employee.