February means a return to list bargaining
Last column I mentioned that February in Alberta means teachers’ conventions, but sometimes it also means bargaining. As our collective agreements are all set to expire on Aug. 31, we need to get back to work at the central table, which means bargaining the lists — that is, coming to an agreement on the list of matters that will be bargained at the central table and the matters that will be bargained locally. This list bargaining will begin even though many of our local bargaining units are still at work completing the last agreement.
As our collective agreements are all set to expire on Aug. 31, we need to get back to work at the central table, which means bargaining the lists.
Many of you are now thinking “Didn’t we do that list stuff two years ago?” and you would be correct. Part of the Public Education Collective Bargaining Act says that the lists for each round of bargaining will be negotiated by the respective parties. Yes, this means we do it all over again. The time frame, however, may not be as painstakingly slow, as last time we had a great deal of teaching to do at the table.
Bargaining with the Teacher Employer Bargaining Authority (TEBA) meant different players at the table. Representatives of Alberta Education did not all have bargaining experience, and reps from other ministries who did have that experience did not necessarily understand the education context. So it took time. The good news here is that as long as the TEBA reps do not change too much, this list bargaining should go much more quickly. The other good news is that different items can and most likely will be on the central table list.
The next question then becomes “So how do I have input into what’s on the list?” The online survey that is open now is a great place to start. Many of you will have received an email from a company called StratCom providing a secure link to the survey. If you did not, it is likely because the email address you provided us through your ATA website profile is an employer email. For security reasons, we will not use an employer email for anything to do with bargaining. So check your profile at
The other place you can express your opinion is through the Teacher Welfare Committee chair in your own local. He or she would then pass this along to our TW staff, who all meet with the central committee. We want to hear from you, so please share your thoughts.
One last thing. You might not be sure of who is on your Teacher Welfare Committee. That’s because this is the new name for your Economic Policy Committee (EPC). All EPC’s will be changing their names to better reflect the work that is being done. Same work, new name.
Find me at your convention to share your thoughts on this or other matters. Put seeing me on YOUR list of things to do. ❚