Teachers vote 85% in favour of four-year agreement

In a vote held May 19 to 21, Saskatchewan teachers voted 85 per cent in support of a new four-year agreement. For teachers, regaining lost purchasing power and alleviating challenges of class complexity were the two most important issues to address in this round of bargaining. Unfortunately, the Government-Trustee Bargaining Committee was unwilling to include any provisions about class complexity in the agreement.

“Acceptance of this agreement does not signal that teachers’ concerns have been addressed,” said Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation President Patrick Maze. “However, teachers recognize the world has changed dramatically and settling the contract enables them to focus their energy on supporting their students by continuing to adapt their teaching strategies and provide quality emergency remote learning for the rest of this school year.”

article continues below

In order to address class complexity, the STF is participating with sector partners in a new provincial class size and composition committee. The committee’s structure is modelled after the Education Sector Response Planning Team and the Federation is cautiously optimistic a collaborative sector approach to COVID-19 response can be replicated to address class complexity.

“We remain deeply committed to ensuring students have equitable access to the supports and resources they need,” said Maze. “We will continue to propose and advocate for solutions through the new committee. If government fails to implement meaningful change we will explore all avenues, including future rounds of bargaining, to ensure students’ needs are met.”

The agreement will be effective from September 1, 2019 to August 31, 2023. Teachers will receive zero per cent in year one and two per cent in each of the following years. Government has agreed to create new educational regulations that would compel school boards to provide the Federation with a list of all substitute teachers each school year.