A press release by the Alberta Teachers' Association (ATA) has stated that teachers employed by the Rocky View School Division have voted 99.6 per cent in favour of authorizing the ATA to request a government-supervised strike vote.
According to the release, the action followed the rejection of a proposal by a third-party mediator to settle local negotiations in Rocky View. Teachers who gathered at the meeting held Sunday evening voted 98 per cent in opposition to the mediator’s recommendations.
Amrit Rai Nannan, President of Rocky View Local No. 35 said that teachers at Sunday’s meeting voted to send a clear message.
"This settlement package is completely unacceptable and Rocky View trustees must return to the table with an intent to bargain and to improve the settlement offer. Teachers are being left with no options. We are feeling extremely disrespected, and we are not prepared to take an inferior offer just because the board refuses to listen to teacher concerns. The board is telling us to settle for an inadequate agreement or go on strike, but we refuse to be coerced.”
School board negotiators have previously told the ATA that the trustees were done negotiating and that they would not be returning to the table if the mediator’s terms were turned down.
"Teachers at the meeting were upset by the take-it-or-leave-it ultimatum issued by the board’s position."
Nannan added that there are outstanding issues including working conditions for online teachers, compensation for school administrators and recognition for long service.
The press releases added that the school board bargaining team will need to return to the table and be prepared to listen to the concerns of teachers, or the mediator will need to write out of the dispute kicking off a two-week cooling off period.
"After the cooling-off period, the ATA would be able to hold a strike vote with teachers in Rocky View School Division."
Collective bargaining for teachers in Alberta is a two-phase process where matters of significant cost and broad impact have already been negotiated at a central table.
Central bargaining is followed by local negotiations between individual school divisions and ATA bargaining units on other, more locally specific, matters. Forty-four of 61 school divisions have already concluded local bargaining for this round, whereas teachers in Rocky View have been working without a finalized collective agreement since September 2020.
In response to Canada's Online News Act and Meta (Facebook and Instagram) removing access to local news from their platforms, DiscoverAirdrie encourages you to get your news directly from your trusted source by bookmarking this page and downloading the DiscoverAirdrie app. You can scan the QR code to download it.