Teachers demand arbitration look at class size
The head of the Alberta Teachers' Association says his members will head back into some form of job action if the government's binding arbitration process doesn't include a look at classroom conditions.
Premier Ralph Klein says a three-member arbitration board will be asked to look at teachers salaries, conditions at the local board levels, and the current economic climate in the province. Klein says class sizes will be addressed later, by a soon-to-be-announced commission looking into education concerns facing Alberta.
Larry Booi, the ATA's president, says teachers are holding an emergency meeting Monday afternoon to plan their response to the coming legislation.
"Imagine the feelings of teachers right now, who tried to shine a spotlight on classroom conditions, who asked for the kinds of fair wage increases that MLA's gave themselves, 17 per cent they gave to themselves over two years," says Booi.
"It turns out they're going to have some four and two settlement imposed on them, and can't even talk about working conditions. Why wouldn't teachers go in the direction of regarding them with complete hostility?"
Details of the arbitration process the government wants to use to resolve the teachers' labour conflict are to be announced Monday morning.
Booi says he still holds out hope the arbitration process will look at class sizes. But if not, Booi says teachers will begin by withdrawing all services not directly related to teaching.