Red Deer teachers disappointed wages frozen again

Teachers have had no pay increase seven of the last eight years

Local teachers are disheartened that they will get no pay increase this year — the seventh wage freeze in eight years.

“Initial reactions from anybody I’ve talked to is disappointment, for sure,” said Kelly Aleman, a Hunting Hills guidance counsellor and president of the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) Local 60.

“(There’s) frustration, the feeling that teachers have done their part to absorb some of these things,” said Aleman.

In a decision released last Friday, an arbitration panel ruled that teachers’ salaries would remain frozen for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years. The ATA, which represents 46,000 educators, was seeking two per cent.

Aleman said even when the province’s fiscal picture was brighter in years past, teachers’s wages were frozen. The last time they got a raise — two per cent — was five years ago.

“Teachers just want to keep up with inflation. That would be fair. But that really hasn’t been happening over the last eight years.”

Aleman said teachers respect that times are tough. Many have friends and relatives who make their living in the oil and gas industry.

“It’s not like teachers don’t support that. But they just think education needs to be supported as well.

“Teachers, in general, are pretty understanding people and want to do what’s right. But I think it gets to a certain point where people go, well, (wage increases are) never going to happen.

“I think there are people who are disheartened that this continues to happen.”

Teacher wages are not the only part of the education system that is feeling the pinch, he said.

“I think there is a lot of pressure on the educational system in general. It’s just been chronically under-funded — not just this government, even our previous government.

“There is just not enough funding in general, and that’s not even including wages.”

The result has been larger class sizes and fewer supports for students in need, he said.

ATA president Jason Schilling also expressed his disappointment with the arbitrators’ decision.

“This decision just kicks the can down the road,” said Schilling. “Teachers will seek to correct this situation in the next round of collective bargaining.”

The current contract expires at the end of August and ATA expects to be back at the bargaining table in March.

“The stakes are going to be higher than ever. Frankly, Alberta teachers are tired of having to pay for the continuing failure of successive governments to adequately fund public education.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and Premier Jason Kenney participated in a livestream on Oct. 17, 2020. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
O’Toole and Kenney sit side-by-side for livestream without wearing masks

NOBLEFORD, Alta. — Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole praised Alberta Premier Jason Kenney… Continue reading

Commuters wearing face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus walk out from a subway station in Beijing, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
China’s economy accelerates as virus recovery gains strength

China was the first major economy to return to growth

Shipping containers are seen at the Fairview Cove Container Terminal in Halifax on Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. Statistics Canada says wholesale sales edged up 0.3 per cent in August to advance for a fourth consecutive month, though at a much slower pace. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2020 file photo the Glass Fire burns a hillside above Silverado Trail in St. Helena, Calif. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
‘First guys out:’ western Canadian air tanker fleet busy despite drop in wildfires

RED DEER, Alta. — A family-run company providing air-tanker support to control… Continue reading

Employee Sophia Lovink shows off a bag of merchandise in Toronto on Thursday, June 11, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Canada gets C-average grade on 2nd year of cannabis legalization

Cannabis Council of Canada releases report card on federal government and legalization

Los Angeles Galaxy goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann (33) stops a shot from Vancouver Whitecaps’s Lucas Cavallini during the second half of an MLS soccer match, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Koreniuk’s goal helps Galaxy beat Whitecaps, snap skid

Vancouver has lost five of its last seven games

In this file photo, Mike Weir, of Canada, hits out of the bunker on hole one during the 2017 Canadian Open at the Glen Abbey golf club, in Oakville, Ont., on Friday, July 28, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Weir settles for second as Mickelson wins to go 2 for 2 on senior tour

PGA Tour Champions’ stop at The Country Club of Virginia

In this April 12, 2019, file photo, Vasiliy Lomachenko celebrates defending his WBA/WBO lightweight titles after knocking out Anthony Crolla, in Los Angeles. Lomachenko fights Teofimo Lopez on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, in Las Vegas. Boxing fans should be thankful. They’re getting a quality fight _ and they’re getting it for free.(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
Lopez upsets Lomachenko to unify lightweight titles

LAS VEGAS — Teofimo Lopez dominated early and finished strong Saturday night… Continue reading

Patrons enjoy the patio at the Revival House restaurant in Stratford, Ont., Friday, Aug.10, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Robins
Restaurants near virus hot spots weigh safety-vs-profit with locals-only dining

Some southern Ontario restaurants are making the tough financial choice to bar… Continue reading

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam takes part during a press conference during the COVID pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020.  As parts of Canada face a new round of COVID-19-related restrictions, Canada's chief public health officer is urging Canadians to continue making a "collective effort" to tackle the pandemic.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Chief public health officer calls for continued ‘collective effort’ against COVID-19

TORONTO — Canada’s chief public health officer is urging residents to continue… Continue reading

Most Read