Alberta teachers will have to wait a few more months to find out if they will get a bump in salary after a six-year wage freeze.
Provincial issues, except for wages, were recently settled and ratified by the Teachers’ Employment Bargaining Association, with representatives from government and school boards, and the Alberta Teachers’ Association, which represents teachers across the province.
A mediator recommended arbitration to settle wages, and the arbitrator’s report is to be completed by Sept. 30.
Stephen Merredew, local ATA president for Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools, said 78 per cent of teachers across Alberta who voted were in favour of the deal.
“That indicates pretty strongly the will of the membership,” Merredew said.
“Virtually every ATA local in the province had something to gain from the deal that was offered from the mediator.
“I would characterize it as raising the floor. It brought up some locals that had some significant disadvantages in their local agreements in terms of their work-life balance and other items.”
He said teachers realize that the province doesn’t have a large pot of money and that strides were made in the past four years in other areas of teaching conditions through a classroom fund.
Provincial ATA president Greg Jeffery said teachers have had a zero per cent wage increase in six of the past seven years, so there’s some optimism that members will get a raise.
“Teachers believe that there should be a recognition that we have already done our part, and there is some catching up to be done here,” Jeffery said.
The collective agreement for more than 40,000 public, Catholic and francophone teachers that has been under negotiation will run from Sept. 1, 2018, to Aug. 31, 2020.
Jeffery said teachers continue to have the best interests of students at heart.
“Teachers are still working hard with their students to make sure their kids get the best education possible. This collective agreement will not affect that situation.”
He said now that provincial negotiations are almost complete, local negotiations can begin between teachers and their local school boards to address whatever local issues remain.
Those negotiations are likely to begin in the fall.