Maureen Weinberger was a teacher for 25 years, a union member for just as many, and has been a social justice advocate for even longer.
For Weinberger, standing up for what is right has always been deeply rooted in her values. A strong social justice and issues advocate, she has always been involved in unions and committees to ensure that her rights, and just as importantly the rights of others, especially women, are respected.
In regards to her involvement in unions, Weinberger explains: “I always believed in unions and the work they do, as well as believing in the importance of standing up for myself. Unionizing was just a given.”
“I saw it as an opportunity to be of use to people. I could stand up for myself, but for others as well.”
Just the same, for Weinberger becoming a teacher was never really a question. “I’ve always wanted to be a teacher and I’ve always loved kids so it was a good match.”
Weinberger was a member of the Federation of Women Teachers’ Association of Ontario (FWTAO), and took part in the amalgamation of the FWTAO and the Ontario Public School Teachers’ Federation (OPSTF) to become the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO).
When ETFO put into place a designated female Vice-President role, it was an opportunity that Weinberger did not hesitate to seize. “I saw the opportunity and I took it,” she says. In 2009 she went on to be ETFO’s first Vice-President (female) and assumed that role from 2009 to 2015.
Weinberger was deeply involved in various committees and took part in various events to represent both ETFO and the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) where she served as a CTF Vice-President. Among the many events in which she participated include the sessions of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in 2010, 2012-2015 and both Education International (EI) World Women’s Conferences in Bangkok and Dublin. Weinberger is also a former president of the Halton Teachers’ Local, a former ETFO representative on the Ontario Federation of Labour Executive Board and on the Ontario Board of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, and ETFO’s former liaison to their International Assistance Committee. She was also a member and former chair of the CTF Advisory Committee on the Status of Women. This is only to name a few of the various positions she has held in the education field to promote the teaching profession.
She attributes her success not only to her hard work, but to the people surrounding her, who were relentlessly supporting and encouraging her in her endeavors. Weinberger notes she owes a lot of that success to the women in her entourage.
To recognize Maureen Weinberger’s relentless work for the teaching profession, her colleagues, and for herself, ETFO nominated her for the CTF Special Recognition Award.