[1970, revised 1991, 2001, 2011]
Teachers must maintain the right to determine the
conditions under which they work. Collective bargaining in the field of
education must include all matters that affect the quality of the educational
system and that affect decision making in public education. In short,
negotiators in the education sector should begin their work with the premise
that everything is negotiable.
Responsible, comprehensive collective
bargaining has stood the test of time as being the most effective means for
attaining the goals of the Alberta Teachers’ Association and its members. The
Association opposes any attempts to declare teaching as an essential service or
impose contrived settlements. The Association favours bargaining for some
matters at a central table, with the Government of Alberta as financier, while
preserving the importance of separate collective agreements with each school
Membership in the bargaining unit must be
of concern to the Association. It must continue to oppose the exclusion of
personnel presently included in collective agreements and should press for the
inclusion of all personnel involved in the education process.
The ability of the Association to
negotiate job security in the face of innovations in teaching depends on its
ability to guarantee that members of the teaching profession will remain
abreast of the changes and capable of adjusting to them. In order to do this
and to ensure the maintenance of high standards of professional service, the
Association should take a firm stand on unprofessional behaviour by assuming a
degree of control over certification and decertification of its members.
In return for a commitment to maintain the
quality of the teaching force, the Association must insist that it have a major
voice in certification. However, the burden for the adjustment to changing
techniques cannot be borne by teachers alone.
Impending changes in education point out
the need for teacher–board cooperation. Neither party can operate in a vacuum
and expect complicated problems to be resolved during the heat of regular
collective bargaining. Use must be made of joint meetings prior to negotiations,
continuous discussion between negotiations and joint study groups to enable the
system of collective bargaining to keep pace with changing conditions.
For many years, school boards have
determined educational policies unilaterally. Through their impact on teacher
classroom functions, these policies affect working conditions. Teachers can
implement educational policies more effectively when they have helped to
formulate them. Consequently, they must actively participate in policy making.
Given a share in the determination of these policies, teachers will be able to
evaluate functions before final policy decisions are made.
A further policy decision in which
teachers must have a decisive voice is that of the determination of the various
facets of teacher load. To provide high-quality education to Alberta students,
teachers must have sufficient time for preparation of lessons and assessment,
time during the day for nonteaching professional activities, a limit to the
number of students, and a limit to the total amount of student–teacher
interaction time. Class size, composition and complexity must be tracked and
the negative impact of “system average” class size minimized. As well, it must
be recognized that teacher participation in school sponsored extracurricular
activities is voluntary. Consideration must also be given to the issues of
hiring practices, transfers, natural justice and replacement workers.
Educational expenditures help to determine
the effective performance of teachers. Therefore, teachers must have an active
part in determining how the educational budget is spent.
The curriculum must provide leeway for
teachers who desire to be innovative. Teachers must have control over adapting
the curriculum to suit the needs of the individual class. Teachers must also
have a greater voice in the actual building of the various curricula.
Improved nonwage benefits must be viewed
as part of the total compensation of a teacher. Parental leave provisions must
allow teachers to fulfil their roles as parents. Improvement in working
conditions and benefits will enable teachers to provide a higher standard of
professional service. The recognition of and provision for a comprehensive
benefit package for all teachers will provide needed security and improved
classroom performance. It is necessary to recognize that benefits and
stipulated cost sharing of premiums must continue while teachers are under
Teachers must achieve a higher relative
economic position in society. Actual dollar values are losing significance in
the spiralling economy but relative economic position is becoming increasingly
Adequate remuneration for teachers should
be based on the following principles:
• Beginning salaries should be reasonably equitable
for university graduates from the education faculty as compared with salaries
offered graduates from other faculties.
• The salary scale should grant financial recognition
for changes in qualifications and provide an incentive for improvement.
• Financial recognition should be given to experience.
• Progress from minimum to maximum earning capacity
should be accomplished in a sensible and orderly fashion.
• The rate of remuneration should be such as to
attract and retain teaching staff.
• The salary scale should reflect economic conditions.