The impact of zeros

May 2, 2017 ATA Teacher Welfare

How have zero increases affected teacher buying power?

How teacher salaries have held up to inflation depends on the time frame you look at. By the end of this agreement (Aug. 31, 2018), we predict that inflation will have increased by almost eight per cent since Aug. 31, 2012 (the beginning of the legislated settlement). During the same time, teacher salaries, on average, rose 2.16 per cent.

However, from Aug. 31, 2018 back to Aug. 31, 2007 (the beginning of the previous collective agreement), teacher salaries have outperformed inflation by 6.79 per cent. The long-term numbers back to 1992 show that average teacher salaries have exceeded inflation by 1.74 per cent.

How do teacher salaries compare to the Alberta Average Weekly Earnings (AAWE) index?

This is a very difficult question to answer given that Statistics Canada changed the calculation of AAWE since the government agreed in 2007 to peg teacher increases to that index until 2012. That agreement worked out extraordinarily well for teachers, which in turn caused school boards and the government to absolutely refuse any indexing of teacher salaries and brought about the current run of zero increases.

Ending the comparison to the index did not turn out badly for teachers, however, since the index retracted by 3.04 per cent between December 2015 and December 2016 and lost 1.17 per cent the year before. ❚

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