Autonomy and Solidarity
FNEEQ : a major player in education
The Fédération nationale des enseignantes et des enseignants du Québec (FNEEQ) was founded in 1969. There are 100 affiliated unions, which represent nearly 34,000 members in 46 CEGEPs, 43 private institutions (including colleges), and thousands of members at thirteen universities: ten unions of lecturers, including the Association of Graduate Students Employed at McGill, the tutors at Télé-Université and the course lecturers at the École de technologie supérieure (ETS). FNEEQ covers all levels of teaching in both the public and private sectors. It is the most representative union organization for higher learning in Quebec.
Professional support focused on members
Members are directly involved through their participation in work committees and also benefit from a team of professional support staff. FNEEQ services are focused on unions. A union advisor is a direct link to each union who can offer personalized advice in order to be a very efficient resource in defence of local members’rights. Support for unions and their members comes in the form of labour relations, grievance support and defence, appeals at administrative tribunals as well as during negotiations, job conflicts and union life.
This approach, based on respect for autonomy, is also manifested in a view of solidarity on all levels that considers larger alliances to be a strategic element. FNEEQ is one of nine federations in the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN) founded in 1921. The CSN is more than just a labour organization; it is a movement that brings together 300,000 workers from all sectors of Quebec’s economy. It takes an active part in many social debates. As at the CSN, FNEEQ’s vision of solidarity is not limited to questions of affiliation. It applies to sectoral alliances as well as inter-union alliances. FNEEQ and the CSN play a crucial role in the success of mobilization actions.
Unions without borders
Developing international solidarity is part of FNEEQ’s union action plan. Creating links, exchanging expertise, supporting the work of teachers in local unions has inspired us for more than 20 years. Along with bilateral links developed with northern as well as southern organizations, FNEEQ is affiliated with Education International (EI), a global federation of teachers’unions associated with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) that brings together 30 million teachers and education workers worldwide. FNEEQ is also a member of different coalitions like the Coalition tri nationale pour une éducation publique (Tri-national Coalition for Public Education), the Coalition of Contingent Academic Labour (COCAL) and the Confederation of American Educators (CEA). The globalization phenomenon and the commercialization of education provide important reasons to work in collaboration with other regional and international union organizations.
Union life at the CSN and FNEEQ is based on union autonomy. For example, while taking advantage of all the benefits of being affiliated with FNEEQ and the CSN, collective agreement negotiations are the union’s jurisdiction and are conducted by its democratic bodies. To facilitate exchanges between unions and to resolve common problems, FNEEQ classifies each union into one of three sectoral groupings: the regroupement cégep, the regroupement privé or the regroupement université.
Besides regroupements, FNEEQ has several committees that look at different aspects of the union and professional life of members. Current and emerging education issues, job security, retirement, workplace health and safety, women’s issues, international matters are some examples of themes to which federation committees devote themselves.
The congress and federal councils bring together all unions in the federation to share common concerns and opinions on social issues and problems facing the education system. The FNEEQ constitution is a major asset. The diversity of teaching personnel unions gives it a well-rounded view of the education system and prompts FNEEQ to develop expertise in all areas of teaching.