Gateway Gazette

Government Introduces Improved Teacher Bargaining Model

Education Minister David Eggen has introduced Bill 8, the Public Education Collective Bargaining Act to bring education partners to the negotiating table.

If passed by the Legislature, Alberta’s teachers would negotiate their next collective agreement with both their local school boards and a new provincial group under Bill 8, which introduces a formal two-table model for future collective agreements. A new organization called the Teachers’ Employer Bargaining Association (TEBA) will enable representation from both the Alberta Government and school boards in negotiations with the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA).

“This new model will allow school boards, the government, and the ATA to negotiate at a provincial table on issues that are relevant to all school boards. It also retains school boards’ autonomy to address local conditions that affect their local teachers. This system puts all the affected parties, including government, at the bargaining table in a transparent way.”

~ David Eggen, Minister of Education

The introduction of Bill 8 is just a first step. Many of the details are still to be developed in co-ordination with both the ATA and school boards. This includes which issues will be negotiated at the provincial or local tables, the organizational structure of the TEBA, and the extent of Government’s involvement in the new organization.

“The government today has committed to taking an active role in bargaining – it’s important to have the funder at the table. The Association will work with government and school boards to create an effective bargaining structure that will meet the needs of teachers, students and the public.”

~ Mark Ramsankar, Alberta Teachers’ Association

Under current legislation, school boards negotiate directly with their ATA local bargaining units on all terms of a contract. Since 2007, government has been involved in negotiations informally. This legislation helps to formalize the roles of all stakeholders – government, school boards, and ATA – in the negotiation process.

All 61 current collective agreements are due to expire on August 31, 2016. If passed, the legislation would take effect January 1, 2016, would provide a clear process for all parties and would allow school boards to remain focused on learning.

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