Francophone teachers in northern and central Alberta, including staff at Red Deer’s École la Prairie, voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action.
Greater North Central Francophone Education Region teachers voted earlier this week, and has 278 full and part-time teachers in schools in Red Deer, Edmonton, St Albert, Fort McMurray, Legal, Sherwood Park, Camrose, Jasper, Wainwright, Beaumont and Lloydminster.
By law, a strike could happen at any point within 120 days after providing 72 hours notice.
If francophone teachers strike, they will be the first teachers in Alberta to go on strike since Parkland School Division in 2007.
“We know the impact this has on parents and our students, and we are truly disappointed the board has put us all in this position, but the vote results show that our teachers believe they have no other choice,” said Éric Cloutier, president of L’Unité locale francophone No. 24.
“We would prefer to be in the classroom, but we don’t believe that francophone teachers should be treated as second rate compared to the rest of the teachers in the province.”
The ATA said francophone teachers have been working for over two years without a finalized collective agreement. Greater North Central Francophone is one of only four school boards in the province that have not reached a local settlement for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years.
Cloutier said teachers are only looking for an agreement that would reflect the terms and conditions reached at the 57 other school divisions in the province.
“Parents need to be prepared, because a strike means teachers would not be providing any at-home learning. If parents are concerned about this, they need to contact their trustee.”