OSSTF TTBU President’s Memo – Central Strike Strike Action, Phase One – Getting your Branch ready for Tuesday

Central Strike Phase One  

As you will have read in the recent memo from Provincial OSSTF, rather than immediately using a full withdrawal of services, and in an effort to keep students in classrooms, as a first step, OSSTF/FEESO’s central negotiations strike strategy requires Members to engage parents and community much like OSSTF Toronto has been doing so successfully for the past number of months.

We know that the public support we currently have is in no small measure because we have been out there, talking directly to parents and community members. We know the public trusts front line educators, so continuing to have the message about what we are fighting for at the central bargaining table come from you is key to the central table strike strategy.

We all have a stake in keeping the public and parents engaged because we know that keeping them informed about the issues only serves to strengthen public support.  Phase One, Information Pickets, gives us the chance to do just that.

The Selective Withdrawal of Services Strike is meant to engage Members of OSSTF across the province in collective action without immediately closing schools. It is purposefully designed to focus on Ministry mandated duties, and less on the local school, Board, or Principal.

TTBU all-Member Telephone Town Hall Meeting

There will be a TTBU General Membership Telephone Town Hall Meeting, Monday, November 25 at 7:00 PM to review the following information, and answer questions. To participate, answer your phone when we call around 7 PM on Monday. If the call is dropped or you miss it, you can dial in by calling 1-877-229-8493 and entering 114400# at the prompt. Do not post or otherwise share this information.

Branch Strike Committee

If you haven’t yet, now is the time to transition your Branch Action Team into your Branch Strike Committee/Action Team now.  If your Branch doesn’t yet have an Action Team, talk to your Branch President and make sure you get one together ASAP. Offer to be a part of your school’s strike leadership team today!

Starting Tuesday, November 26 all Members will engage in the following Strike Actions: 

Information Pickets – a time-limited action intended to provide a picture of solidarity across the province as we work together to keep the public and our communities engaged in our fight for public education. .

From Tuesday, November 26 – Tuesday, December 3, Members shall:

  • Participate in a minimum of two Information Pickets.
  • Member participation will occur during time free from scheduled work with students (regular, scheduled extra help; extra-curricular commitments, etc).
  • Each Branch will schedule 5 Information Picket shifts sometime between Tuesday, November 26 and Tuesday, December 3.
  • Information Pickets are to occur before school, at lunch, or after school.
  • Information Picket materials will be cabbed to you and should arrive mid-week next week.  If you do not receive them with enough time to do the full five, do as many as you can, up to the required 5.
  • See below for planning tips.

Limited service withdrawal – an ongoing action of collective withdrawal from a limited list of duties as detailed below.

From Tuesday, November 26 until otherwise notified, Members shall not:

  • Participate in EQAO preparation or testing.
  • Complete Ministry of Education Reports—data will be shared with the Board but reports will not be completed or submitted.
  • Participate in Board PA (ministry or Board topics), other than participating in self-directed PA. PA days organized by OSSTF/FEESO may continue as usual although if there is a Ministry/Board component, please check with your Executive Officer.
  • Participate in unpaid staff meetings outside the scheduled school day.
  • Provide comments on any secondary provincial report cards.
  • Perform the work of another Bargaining Unit, even if directed by administration.

Questions: Any question that arises about whether something is or is not a violation must go to your Executive Officer.  If you need an immediate answer, phone the office because if your EO isn’t in, one of the other Exec Members will help you.

If we can’t answer the question, we will kick it up to the provincial central rules committee. All answers are being shared between OSSTF Toronto bargaining units to ensure consistency.

Planning your Branch Information Pickets

Select your action (you may do more than one type of action/different actions on different days):

  • Adopt a  subway: Members stationed at the street level entries/exits. Hand out the provided information flyers to members of the public.
  • Spread the word in your school community: Choose sets of streets in your school’s neighbourhood. Members work in pairs to adopt a street or two each, to drop flyers in mailboxes
  • Picket your own school:  Hand out info to students and parents as they arrive/leave.
  • Spread the word on the street: Choose busy street corner(s) in your school’s neighbourhood. Station Members on each corner to hand out flyers to passers-by
  • Other ideas that you and your team/Branch think will be effective in getting our message out.
  • Note:  You cannot be on private property such as mall parking lots, liquor stores, etc. without permission from management.  This includes school property.
  • When engaging, hold out the flyer to passers-by and engage with an opener like “Information about teacher bargaining”.  Some may want to stop and talk. Do not get sucked into arguments with “live trolls”. Thank them and move on.

Set a Schedule:

  • Information pickets will take place between Tuesday, November 26 and Wednesday, December 3rd.
  • Set a schedule for your Branch by agreeing on dates and times.
  • On any given day you could hold an information picket before school, during lunch, or after school, or any combination of the three.
  • Select a start and end time for each shift. Shifts are to be no shorter than 20 minutes, but to be meaningful are better scheduled for 1-1.5 hours.
  • Each Member is expected to participate in at least two Information Pickets at times not otherwise scheduled to work with students (regular extra help period; extra-curricular activity, etc).

When you have your plan:

  • Use this form to submit your plan so that  Members who work out of Learning Centres, at small sites and Members of the PSSP BU can sign up to join Branch Actions near where they work.  Please welcome these Members!
  • NOTE: Daily OT’s are being told to join the Action of the Branch where they are working each day that they are called to work.  If you see a daily OT in your Branch, take a moment to tell them about that day’s Action and invite them to join.
  • LTO’s are expected to sign up for Action at the Branch where they are working.  Please share this information with them.


  • Designate a Picket Shift Captain and Social Media Captains for each Information Picket.
  • The Picket Shift Captain is responsible for making sure the materials get to the Picket site, for handing out the materials, and for collecting and returning any unused materials at the end of the Picket.
  • The Social Media Captains are responsible for taking photos and posting them on Twitter, Facebook and/or Instagram tagging Minister Lecce, @sflecce; Premier Ford @fordnation and using #onted and #osstf
  • Create a sign-up sheet for your Members.
  • If you are engaging off site, make sure your Members either travel together, or have a specific meeting place/time where they can pick up the materials.
  • Note: Only No Cuts to Education Signs and the Provincial OSSTF materials may be used during the Information Picket phase of the strike. Collective messaging only.  Save the picket sign poster boards you receive for further actions.

Communicating your plan with your Members

  • Hold a Branch Meeting or speak directly to Members in small groups or one-on-one to review your Branch Information Picket plan including when, and where, as well as requirements for Member participation (all Members are expected to do at least two shifts).
  • Provide a process for information Picket sign up. (If after being given ample opportunity, a Member hasn’t signed up, or refuses to do so, speak to your Executive officer).

What to do if you are asked to perform a duty we are striking:

  • Starting on Tuesday, November 26, you are on a legal strike. If a representative of the employer (Principal/VP/SO/Manager, etc) or a Member of another union asks you, or tells you, to perform any duty that is a part of our strike, it is the same as that person walking up to you on our picket line and asking you to cross it to come inside to work.
  • The duties we are withdrawing from are our picket line during a Limited Service Withdrawal.
  • If your employer asks you to do something that you believe is a contravention of the strike rules respond as follows: “I believe that is a contravention of our strike rules.  I am going to check with the union. Someone from the union will get back to you”. Speak immediately to your Branch President or call the Union Office and ask to speak to a Member of the Executive.
  • Add the OSSTF Toronto number to your contacts now: 416-393-8900.

What we are fighting for:

  • This is a fight for the very existence of publicly funded education as we know it. If the Tories are allowed to make the changes they want, they will cause irreparable damage taking Ontario down the road toward an education voucher system and creating a US-style privatized education system in Ontario.

In addition we are fighting for:

  • Reversal of the funding cuts: There are still 120 OSSTF TTBU Members who are under- or unemployed; 100’s more TTBU jobs will be lost at an average of 25:1.
  • Recognition of Adult Day School Teachers as Teachers under the Education Act, with access to all the same rights, benefits and protections as their colleagues.
  • A moratorium on mandatory e-learning (which will cost hundreds more jobs) until a full study can be completed and everyone can be assured it is the right way to go for students.
  • No strips to class size language.
  • No cuts to our current coverage and supervision protections.
  • No strips to our sick leave protections.
  • A reasonable pay increase, calculated based on cost of living.
  • Improvements to the hiring process and re-hiring process for Teachers made surplus by Ford cut.s

This is the beginning of the next phase in our ongoing fight to save public education in Ontario.  Shared goals, solidarity of action!

If you have any questions at any time, contact your Executive Officer right away. Keep the OSSTF Toronto number in your contacts: 416-393-8900.