The Alberta Labour Relations Board has found the Red Deer Catholic Regional Division guilty of unfair bargaining practices after central office employees attempted to interfere with the rights of teachers and the Alberta Teachers’ Association.
In a decision rendered Dec. 4, the board found that the division’s top administrators engaged in communication that interfered with the ATA’s ability to represent its members. The board has ordered the division to “cease engaging in such conduct.”
“We are pleased with this decision and feel vindicated that our concerns were validated,” said Red Deer Catholic Local president Stephen Merredew.
“Local bargaining has stalled as a result of the board’s use of these divisive tactics. Teachers are getting very frustrated that this dispute has gone on for so long and simply want the board to get on with reaching a settlement.”
Teachers in Red Deer Catholic have been working without a collective agreement for two and a half years. Out of 61 school jurisdictions in the province, the school jurisdiction remains one of 13 boards that have not reached an agreement for the period from 2016 to 2018.
Merredew is encouraging the board to return to the bargaining table and work quickly and constructively toward an agreement. If it is not willing to do that, teachers have authorized the use of voluntary binding arbitration and will ask the board to agree to that process.
Merredew said his message for the school board is simple.
“Quit playing games and quit thwarting settlement. Let’s get this done so teachers, students and the school division can move on.” ❚