Half a dozen local bargaining units have reached agreements with their employers, and all the agreements contain improvements for teachers, said Sandra Johnston, co-ordinator of the Teacher Welfare program area of the Alberta Teachers’ Association.
Under a new bi-level model introduced by the NDP government, a central table deal between teachers and a group representing their employers was finalized in May. This cleared the way for local bargaining units to begin negotiating on local matters.
The first agreement followed quickly in June, with others occurring throughout September and October. These are at various stages of the ratification process. Common themes within the agreements are improvements to leave provisions and a variety of improvements for school administrators, Johnston said.
“What we’re seeing is a number of small improvements that, together, make a good agreement for teachers,” she said.
With this round of local bargaining being the first under the new model, it was important to prove that the structure would benefit teachers.
“We really needed this round to be successful locally, or else why do it?” Johnston said.
“I’m pleased. I think in these agreements teachers can say that they achieved something in this round, which is very important.”
While some agreements have been reached relatively quickly, this won’t happen everywhere.
“We have some employers whose attitude is ‘teachers got enough out of the central agreement, what more do you want?’” Johnston said. “In places like that, we will likely be heading off to mediation.”
Johnston said that some employers are increasing assigned time to ensure that teachers are working as closely as possible to the 1,200 hour maximum that was part of the central agreement.
“Which clearly isn’t the intent or the language of the memorandum of agreement, so I’m going to prognosticate that bargaining in those places may not go really well.” ❚
Local collective bargaining report
Bargaining units in the following locals have reached collective agreements with their employers:
- Aspen View No. 7
- Black Gold No. 8
- Edmonton Public No. 37
- Elk Island No. 28
- Lethbridge Public No. 41
- Northland No. 69