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Minister disappointed ATA union rejects contract offer

February 26, 2013   (0 Comments)
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News Release

February 26, 2013
Minister disappointed ATA union rejects province's fair contract offer

After more than two and a half years of negotiations, the Alberta Teachers' Association (ATA) today rejected the Redford government's fair and reasonable offer of a four-year provincewide agreement.

"I want to express my personal disappointment that we could not reach a negotiated agreement with the leadership of the ATA that would have benefitted Alberta's students, our hard-working teachers and local school boards,” said Education Minister Jeff Johnson.

"Our proposal would have meant labour stability and cost certainty during these tough economic times while ensuring we continue to move forward with Inspiring Education initiatives that will improve our already world-leading education system.”

The four-year agreement, presented to the ATA and the Alberta School Boards Association earlier this month, would have seen salaries for nearly 35,000 Alberta teachers frozen for three years, followed by an increase of two per cent in 2015-16.

The average Alberta teacher with 10 years' experience makes more than $92,000 per year, the highest among all Canadian provinces. Over the past decade, the average salary of teachers with at least 10 years' experience has increased by 41 per cent from $65,203 in 2001-02 to $92,201 in 2011-12.

However, Johnson said the ATA's rejection of a commitment to study workload issues, the cornerstone of the offer, was particularly upsetting. Alberta Education had proposed an internal review to look at how teacher workloads could be adjusted without impacting the educational experience of Alberta's 600,000 students.

"Over the past several months, it has become clear that workload is the biggest issue for our teachers,” the Minister said. "We have taken those concerns seriously. However, we need to understand more about what contributes to those concerns and develop a co-ordinated plan to address them. I'm saddened the ATA leadership didn't share their members' concerns.”

Local bargaining between boards and their ATA locals will continue, but Johnson warned he doesn't want to see boards taking money out of classrooms to provide raises for teachers.

"Under no circumstances should funding provided for specific initiatives such as inclusion, class size or transportation be considered available funds for collective bargaining. These funds should continue to be used for their intended purpose.”

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