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ATA warns government against imposing contract

EDMONTON — The Alberta Teachers’ Association is warning the government not to impose a contract on the province’s 42,000 public school teachers.

Education Minister Jeff Johnson has been talking about the possibility of a legislated settlement during meetings with individual school boards.

Association president Carol Henderson said such talk is needlessly provocative.

“I’m extremely puzzled that this minister, and for that matter this government, continues to take a confrontational approach to negotiations with teachers,” she said Tuesday.

“I will tell you a legislated settlement — we would consider that a direct and unwarranted attack.”

Alberta teachers walked away from talks about a provincewide deal in December after the government rejected a four-year offer that included no wage increase in the first two years, one per cent in the third year and three per cent in the fourth year.

The association is now negotiating separately with each of the province’s 62 public boards.

Alberta Education spokeswoman Kim Capstick said some school boards have asked the government to impose a wage settlement because of tight budgets.

She said the idea of imposing a deal was first raised by a trustee at one school board, but now Johnson has been raising the issue when he sits down with every board to discuss contract talks.

Alberta Education says teachers in the province are among the highest paid in Canada.

A teacher with 10 years of experience earns an average of $92,300 per year.

 
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