ESSP/ECE President's Message Week of Feb. 7, 2022

Black History Month, Bargaining Survey, Training Opportunities, and Pink Shirt Day


Black History Month


February is Black History Month in Canada and represents an important opportunity for OSSTF/FESSO leadership and individual Members to reflect on how we can continue to challenge and dismantle anti-Black racism in our schools, workplaces, and communities.


The national theme for Black History Month 2022 is “February and Forever: Celebrating Black History today and every day,” a reminder of the need to honour Black History year-round, with this month serving as an important way to start a larger conversation and celebration of the many achievements and contributions of Black Canadians.


Black History Month is also an important time to acknowledge the different experiences of Black Canadians and learn more about those unique journeys and the impacts that Black Canadians have had on our society, ourselves, and our histories.


From reflection and acknowledgment, we must also move towards action. This year, OSSTF/FEESO will be engaged in several actions. We will be sharing important resources and information from our Federation and community organizations across our channels and social platforms throughout the month. We will also support the national labour movement’s Black History Month actions.


The Canadian Labour of Congress’ (CLC) theme is “Supporting Black workers and communities beyond Black history month, toward building an anti-racist labour movement and a more just and equitable society.” The accompanying slogan will be: “Beyond Black History Month.” The CLC will also be sharing key resources all month long and hosting an online text rally on February 23, 2022 at 1:00 pm ET where labour movement members will be texting Canadians across the country and urging them to combat systemic anti-Black racism and send a letter to their MPs. There will be simultaneous interpretation available. OSSTF/FEESO Members can register for the event here.


2022 School Boards Collective Bargaining Act Provincial Bargaining Priorities Survey


As you are aware, collective agreements bargained under the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act will expire on August 31, 2022. In preparation for bargaining, members will soon receive a one-time link from Stratcom, giving them access to the bargaining priorities survey. This link will be sent to the personal email addresses members have provided to Provincial Office. This is an opportunity for members to provide their input on the importance of various collective agreement items. This feedback will provide OSSTF/FEESO with a comprehensive and accurate picture of the concerns and priorities of members as we prepare for the next round of negotiations. We strongly encourage members to participate.


New to the survey this year, is the opportunity for members to offer qualitative feedback on issues of equity that should be addressed at the bargaining table. This addition to the survey comes as a direct result of pre-bargaining interviews that were held with equity and/or sovereignty-seeking members who are in positions of leadership at the local level.


Additionally, Stratcom will once again conduct focus groups with members who volunteer to be interviewed. There is limited space and Stratcom may not be able to accommodate all those who are interested. OSSTF/FEESO will send an email shortly, providing the link for members to register for this opportunity. Interviews will be conducted virtually and will take place following the analysis of the survey results in order to provide OSSTF/FEESO with a deeper understanding of members’ priorities, including matters of equity. The members selected by Stratcom for participation in the focus groups will receive $100.00 as remuneration for their time.


We hope you will take the time to participate in this process, your voice matters in the union.

Bargaining surveys will be open until March 1, 2022 at 5 p.m.


All account inquiries must go to the Membership Database Department at membership-database@osstf.ca.


Pink Shirt Day


In 2007, a Grade 9 student in Nova Scotia faced homophobic taunts and threats of violence for wearing a pink shirt to school. As a sign of support, David Shepard and Travis Price bought and wore pink shirts to school. Other students at the school joined their movement to show support that sent a message to the school community that homophobia and bullying would not be tolerated.


Once again, OSSTF/FEESO members will join together to wear their commitment to kindness on Wednesday, February 23, 2022, and on the International Day of Pink on Wednesday, April 13, 2022.


Training Opportunity


OSSTF/FEESO is excited to offer “Our Union, Our Journey”, a winter and a spring virtual miniseries hosted by the New Member Engagement Advisory Work Group within the Union Training Academy (UTA).


The winter and spring miniseries are being held virtually via Zoom and are designed to address a variety of issues important to new members (10 years or less as an OSSTF/FEESO member). The Provincial Executive encourages District and Bargaining Units to promote the miniseries to all its new members. While priority will be given to new members, local leaders are welcome to register as well.


Winter miniseries topics include:


• Educator’s Financial Group: New Member Finances • Getting Involved: Provincial Committees, Councils and Work Groups

• Journeys in Leadership: Meet the Provincial Executive

• Myth Busting: What Unions do for You

• Violence in the Workplace


Please be advised that these sessions are union training intended for OSSTF/FEESO members only. There is no cost to register or to attend the training sessions.


To register, please go to this link.


Registration for each training session will be available up until 11:59 pm three (3) business days prior to the event.


Zoom meeting links will be sent out 24 hours prior to each session. Please check back on the registration page if the session that you are interested in attending is not yet available for registration.


Upper Grand Employee Assistance Program

If you are finding yourself or a family member or a colleague is needing additional support or resources please refer to the board's employee and family assistance program. This service is free and confidential. The board is not given the names of members who are using the service. It has been a challenging year with COVID and many of us are dealing with other challenges unrelated to COVID. This resource may be of help to members who need it.

Access the Upper Grand District School Board’s Employee & Family Assistance Program 24/7 by phone, web or mobile app 1-800-387-4765 | www.workhealthlife.com

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