Conciliation process fails; STF awaits result of provincewide sanctions vote

Sask Bulletin
February 12, 2020

Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation President Patrick Maze.

The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation is disappointed that after four days in conciliation during January, there has been no progress on the issues of student needs, the loss of spending power experienced by teachers or the important role of substitute teachers.

“This is a sad day for students and teachers across the province. We were hopeful that we would be able to come together to find solutions; sadly, that was not the case,” said Patrick Maze, President of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation.

“The numerous public engagement processes undertaken over the last year clearly indicate the importance of supports in the classroom. We were seeking assurances that school divisions have sufficient resources to meet the diverse needs of students,” said Maze.

In the wake of the failed conciliation, the recommendation of the Teachers’ Bargaining Committee to hold a sanctions vote has been endorsed by the STF Executive.

“Our members have been clear: class complexity and salary are the two most important issues,” said Maze. “Taking a sanctions vote is not a decision taken lightly; however, after nine months of bargaining, government has been unwilling to negotiate class complexity or move from its original salary offer. We remain committed to ensuring these concerns are addressed. Students and teachers deserve better.”

The vote will be held February 10 and 11. Results are expected in late February. A vote in favour of sanctions provides the Teachers’ Bargaining Committee the authority to determine when, how and what sanctions may be implemented.

Meanwhile, throughout conciliation the Teachers’ Bargaining Committee restated its offer of $20 million to assist school divisions in addressing students’ needs. The Government-Trustee Bargaining Committee was unwilling to explore the potential of this offer. There was no acknowledgement of the important role teachers play in addressing today’s complex classrooms and no desire to discuss opportunities to work together to support students in the classroom.

After experiencing two years with zero percent increase in salary, the Teachers’ Bargaining Committee is seeking to regain this lost purchasing power through fair and reasonable salary increases of two percent, three percent and three percent over a three-year agreement.

“The current reality is not sustainable. Teachers and students deserve more from this government,” said Maze. “We remain committed to reaching a new agreement that is acceptable to teachers and addresses the challenges impacting students in Saskatchewan’s classrooms. These issues must be addressed so teachers can teach and students can learn.”

The Teachers’ Bargaining Committee declared an impasse in November and requested the establishment of a conciliation board, which was chaired by Arne Peltz, to assist in resolving the dispute.

The Teachers’ Bargaining Committee remains committed to reaching a negotiated collective agreement that addresses the issues facing the province’s students and 13,500 educators.

The last provincial collective agreement expired August 31, 2019.