Bill 115 attacks labour rights, democracy, and quality public education. Secondary school teachers and education workers want to defeat Bill 115, but our union's current strategy involves no real membership education, ongoing democratic input, or member and community mobilization. If you are an OSSTF member who wants our Provincial Executive to do a better job at fighting Bill 115, please read and sign this petition.
To the Provincial Executive of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF),
We, the undersigned rank-and-file members of OSSTF, are frustrated with our union’s lacklustre response to Bill 115 and the government’s attack on our collective bargaining rights.
We note that the Strategic Readiness Plan that was unanimously adopted at AMPA 2012 (OSSTF’s annual convention) included the following, under the category “collective action”:
- All-membership vote to show support for actions that may need to be taken on a province-wide basis;
- Selective service withdrawal sanction;
- Progressive province-wide selective services withdrawal;
- Rotating one-day strikes;
- Strategic local strikes;
- Full membership strike
Four months after Bill 115 became law, only the first three tactics have been utilized, and membership has not heard of any plans for escalation.
Our collective resistance, so far, has been minimal. We have come across as being more interested in negotiating agreements within Bill 115 parameters than in actually leading the fight to eliminate the Bill. At the District 12 Council meeting on December 13, Ken Coran announced a tentative plan for a one-day political protest, taking the form of indoor rallies. This is a token display of protest. Instead, OSSTF should be building sustained opposition that can inspire our members and allies, and that can show McGuinty and Hudak that public sector workers will not allow our bargaining rights to be taken away.
What we, the members of the OSSTF, need from our union is a strategy of education, ongoing democratic input, and mobilization of our membership and our surrounding communities. This should take the form of the following:
- Organize an education campaign about the struggle against Bill 115, aimed at members, local communities, parents, and students, involving door-to-door canvassing and local meetings. As many OSSTF members as possible should be involved in these activities.
- Replace tentative plans for indoor "political protests" with local, one-day, visible, public, outdoor protest actions across Ontario, inviting participation from our allies. This could be used as a way of building for longer strikes, leading up to, if necessary, an all-out strike of teachers and education workers from OSSTF, ETFO and CUPE.
Looking to the Liberals or any other existing political party to defend education workers and the quality of education was a dangerous mistake that cannot be repeated, whether in the context of the next election, or the current Liberal leadership race. Our politics need to develop independently from political parties. Our strength ultimately depends on our members, and on alliances with the broader labour movement and in the community.