Joan Westcott was the executive director of the Federation of Women Teachers Associations of Ontario (FWTAO) when the two elementary unions amalgamated. She had held that position since 1987. She was local president of the Waterloo women teachers during the one-day walkout on December 18, 1973. In the interview, Joan relates the organizing that led up to the protest at Queen’s Park and the personal struggles over the strike that politicized teachers.

      She was elected FWTAO president in 1978-79. In the interview, she he gives us an inside view of the problems of two unions negotiating as one. She recalls some of the first strikes after Bill 100.

      When Bill Davis extended full funding to the Roman Catholic boards, Joan was OTF president and was able to negotiate how public-school teachers would be treated if they became redundant due to the new funding model.

     The FWTAO was deeply involved in the feminist movement. Joan talks about the creation of LEAF and its connection to the teachers’ union.

      Joan’s analysis includes the successes that came out of the 1997 strike. And she is frank about the struggles involved in the amalgamation of the two elementary teachers’ unions that followed.

Interviewed by Andy Hanson and Harry Smaller.

Oral History ProjectJoan Westcott