Work continues on securing local agreements for teachers in 51 of the 61 bargaining units, but that will not hold up preparations for the next round of central bargaining. The two-year agreement reached last spring between the Alberta Teachers’ Association and the Teachers’ Employer Bargaining Association will expire on Aug. 30, 2018.
The Association’s Central Table Bargaining Committee (CTBC) is already well on its way to preparing for the next round of bargaining.
“There is lots of work to be done,” says new CTBC chair and Association vice-president Jason Schilling. “We have already put together a research plan to collect information from teachers and a communications plan to ensure that members stay informed.”
Schilling says that the committee’s work has now turned to building a survey to find out about teachers’ needs in bargaining, which will then be used to build the opening proposal.
“List bargaining starts in March,” Schilling said. “And then we anticipate starting central negotiations sometime around May.”
The Public Education Collective Bargaining Act prescribes a three-phase negotiation process that begins with list bargaining to determine whether specific matters will be discussed in central negotiations or held for local negotiation, followed by negotiations on the central matters and then negotiations at the local tables. The act outlines timelines specific to each phase and states that list bargaining must begin before the end of February.
Schilling says that it is very important for teachers to be engaged and ready to participate.
“Our work will be led by teacher voice,” he said. “We will send out a survey in January and then we will start to build the opening proposal.”
Schilling said the team has listened to feedback and introduced changes to adapt the internal processes used in the last round, which was the first round under a new bi-level bargaining model instituted by the NDP government. For instance, he said that teachers will have a greater opportunity to review and provide feedback on the opening proposal for central negotiations.
He also said that the use of proven tools, like the Bargainers’ Blog and telephone town halls, will be expanded to ensure that teachers are kept informed and engaged.
Joining Schilling on the Association’s Central Table Bargaining Committee are ATA vice-president Jenny Regal, Edmonton McMurray district representative (DR) Darrin Bauer, North West DR Peter MacKay and South East DR Heather McCaig.
Teachers can stay informed of all bargaining developments and news by ensuring that they have a login for the Association website at www.teachers.ab.ca.