January District Representative Update

District Rep report for January 2014

  1. Joint C2 Committees on teacher’s life continues for all locals. To Do: C2 leads must share the C2 report with the EPC chair so that they can coordinate their activities appropriately. The website continues to be upgraded as committees provide info. C2 leads will be having a meeting along with the Presidents at Barnett House on February 7 and 8.

  1. Negotiations for the 20 locals who haven’t reached an agreement are “technically” over. Locals who do not have a memorandum of agreement will be going to arbitration. The Minister of Education has appointed David Jones, QC, to serve as the case management arbitrator for the disputes not yet resolved. Case management will commence shortly.

  1. The Teacher Welfare Area Conference (TWAC) was held on November 22 and 23. Local reps were informed of some alarming trends in the Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining in the education sector throughout the world. Some collective agreements are:

  • being revoked,

  • wage settlements are being legislated,

  • pension plans and teacher unions are being attacked

  • boards are being amalgamated

We need to keep current. One powerful American lobbyist, Grover Norquist, claims that “one way to get rid of unions is to attack their pension plans.” Keep yourself informed. What are the goals of our Alberta political parties? Are we being attacked now? Why are we not at the forefront of the Task Force for Teaching Excellence? Is the outcome of this Task Force already determined so that changes “are required/” Why are we’ fixing’ an Education System that is ranked one of the top in the world? Is our Pension Plan going to be attacked despite the fact that it is very solid? What is the agenda of our Government? Barnett House want members to keep ut to date on happenings, to engage politically (including working “on their” MLA’s) and to stand with Council should the need arise.

  1. EPC’s were reminded that their work is just beginning. We must prepare, build commitment, educate and research. Everything else being equal, bargaining will commence again in 2016. What will our teachers want after 3 years of 0% followed by a 2% increase? EPC’s need to be able to attract new teachers to take up the new challenges that are forthcoming.

  1. PEC News

  • The annual Leadership Essentials held on November 18-19 were attended by 143 administrators new to their role. A total of 5 administrators from Central South participated.

  • Stephen Murgatroyd and J-C Couture have edited a new book Rethinking Equity: Creating a Great School for All. The book features chapters by a number of experts who explore Alberta’s successes and lapses in creating a great school for all. The book will be coming out shortly.

  • A new local is being created. St. Thomas Aquinas Teachers’ Local no 45 has been approved in principle subject to ratifications of an institution and an agreement on division of assets with Greater Black Gold Teachers’ Local no 8.

  • Education programs remain very popular. For example, there were 804 applicants for 70 spots with Mount Royal University.

  • Our President has been in contact with the AUPE leadership.

  1. The November 19 issue of the ATA News has an interesting story dealing with the education critic/advocate of the Wildrose Party, Bruce McAllister, as well as a number of updates on various issues. Please take a few minutes to read. This has generated a good number of questions from various MLAs.

  1. A Memorandum of Understanding will be officially signed at the PEC meeting in February between the ATA and St. Mary’s University College.

  1. Conventions are mostly ready. Plans are being finalized for this winter PD. Direct purchases of compression stockings and insoles have proven to be problematic in the past. Teachers who wish to avail themselves of these items at conventions will have to pay and subsequently, bill ASEBP.

  1. Other ASEBP news. 1. Many teachers are using the free App available. It shows your coverage, your claims, your HAS credit etc.

  1. There has been a lull with the holiday season upon us. Our next Provincial Executive Council Meeting is scheduled for January 16 and 17. Business will pick up again.

  1. The next Teacher Welfare will take place in Edmonton on Feb. 22 in Edmonton or March 3 in Calgary. Some of the topics will include an evaluation of this round of bargaining as well as an update on the arbitration process. Locals should endeavour to send representatives to this event.

  1. The next sitting of the Legislature will commence on February 11.

  1. AB Education’s decision to phase out provincial achievement tests and to implement Student Learning Assessment in Grade 3 presents the profession with a major challenge, that of ensuring that SLAs do not become a way of replacing the professional judgment of teachers. The Association, in consultation with the Alberta Assessment Consortium (AAC), is undertaking an action-research model project designed to develop a coordinated, comprehensive approach to the implementation of SLAs, an approach that puts teachers in the drivers’ seat.

  1. The Association, in collaboration with the Faculty of Education at the U of A, has launched The Canadian Journal for Teacher Research, an online journal that features research undertaken by teachers. More information will be forthcoming in the ATA News.

District Rep Central South, Léo Richer

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