Edmonton

New bargaining process for Alberta teachers passed by legislature

A new bill that changes how salaries are negotiated with Alberta teachers passed third reading Tuesday night after the education minister introduced an amendment.
Education Minister David Eggen says the new bill will provide more consistency with teacher's contracts. (CBC)

A new bill that changes how salaries are negotiated with Alberta teachers passed third reading Tuesday night after the education minister introduced an amendment.

Bill 8, the Public Education Collective Bargaining Act, sets up a two-table approach to reaching collective agreements with teachers.

One will negotiate salary as well as other issues deemed to be provincial in nature. The other will allow school boards to negotiate with Alberta Teachers' Association locals on matters that affect their board.

A body known as the Teachers Employer Bargaining Association (TEBA) will represent the government and school boards at the main table with the Alberta Teachers Association (ATA).

The government was planning to negotiate the next contract on its own because TEBA wouldn't have been set up in time for the start of negotiations in early 2016.

School boards weren't happy about this so the amendment allows TEBA to get set up faster. 

"The original version of this bill proposed that government would negotiate with the ATA on these matters, and I was doing that to have haste and speed," Education minister David Eggen said.

"It was a matter of speed, but we found that we could in fact gather together the TEBA and the necessary components so that we could do it as I'm describing here in this amendment."

The bill changes the old system where 61 boards negotiated 61 contracts with their ATA locals. However, the government, which funds the majority portion of school board budgets, wasn't at the table. Bill 8 aims to change that to provide more consistency to bargaining.

The current collective agreements with teachers expire on Aug. 31, 2016.

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