Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Alberta Reaches Tentative Deal with Teachers; Wage Freeze for 3 of 4 Years

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Alberta Reaches Tentative Deal with Teachers; Wage Freeze for 3 of 4 Years

Article excerpt

Alberta teacher deal calls for wage freeze

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CALGARY - Premier Alison Redford says she got personally involved in talks to help her government reach a tentative contract with teachers.

The four-year deal comes after tense, often public negotiations between the province and the union representing 42,000 teachers. The Alberta Teachers' Association had turned down two other offers.

"We thought it was worth one more shot," Redford said Friday at a news conference with association president Carol Henderson and Alberta Education Minister Jeff Johnson.

"Carol and I had a conversation and we had the opportunity to bring some other people to the table, who were very smart and very committed to making this appearance happen.

"I am happy. I think it's wonderful that parents and kids and teachers will have certainty and stability. It's a much more constructive process."

Teachers have been without a deal since last August.

The proposal calls for wages to be frozen in the first three years. A two per cent increase would come in the fourth year, along with a lump-sum payment from the province.

There's also a promise to look into how much teachers are being asked to take on.

"I've heard from many teachers across the province that their concerns have never been about raises. It's been about workload and we want teachers to know that we are listening," said Johnson.

"Alberta Education will conduct an internal review, as well as a third-party study, to look at how teacher workloads can be adjusted and how we can improve the educational experience for Alberta's 600,000 students."

Henderson said workload and stability were the things that her members were most concerned about. She noted that the average work week for a teacher is 56 hours.

"I'm very pleased with taking this forward to teachers for those reasons. I'd like to thank the premier for making a big effort at the last of the 11th hour to get this done."

The new deal still has to be voted on by teachers. The province's 62 school boards will also have to approve it.

The Alberta School Boards Association was not at the announcement and did not return calls seeking comment. …

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