The decision is in your hands.
Central table bargaining has reached an important milestone. Your bargaining committee has advanced the objectives of teachers and made a compelling case for the compensation and conditions needs that you have identified. We have engaged a mediator to help sort through unresolved issues, and we now have a package for teachers to consider.
While we wanted to achieve important improvements to class size and complexity issues, we were unable to convince the Teachers’ Employer Bargaining Association (TEBA) to include those improvements in collective agreements. I want to thank my Provincial Executive Council colleagues on the committee for passionately sharing the personal stories and challenges they encounter in their classrooms every day. I am disappointed that TEBA did not take these concerns more seriously.
Having said that, we need to evaluate the agreements that the Central Table Bargaining Committee (CTBC) was able to secure and the recommendations that the mediator offers in his report and judge them on their own merits.
I believe that there are some good improvements being offered in this potential settlement. This is being characterized as a harmonization settlement and it will bring improvements to maternity/paternity leave, benefits, health-spending accounts, administrator allowances and substitute teacher pay for areas that have lagged behind the rest of the province.
For that reason, and because it offers a fair arbitration process on general salary increases, your Provincial Executive Council is recommending ratification. But the ultimate decision rests with teachers.
I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the mediator’s report, and I look forward to seeing you at one of the 24 Member Information Meetings that we have scheduled around the province over the next three weeks.
I would like to thank Vice-President Jason Schilling, executive staff and all of the members of the CTBC for their hard work, effort and time on this file. I know they have had the best interests of Alberta teachers in their minds, and your voice was carried to the table.
Colleagues, now it is your time. Get informed, get online and vote! It is your collective agreement, and all Alberta teachers have this opportunity to decide.
Greg A. Jeffery