Wednesday, December 9, 2015

ASBA comments on government amendment to Bill 8

Alberta School Boards Association press release

Earlier this evening, the government introduced an amendment to Bill 8, the Public Education Collective Bargaining Act.  This amendment would allow school boards to be involved in all collective bargaining at the provincial level – involvement that was missing under the original draft of Bill 8.

Previously, the Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) has expressed concern with the level of government consultation with school boards on Bill 8. Recognizing this concern, ASBA held a day of consultations on Bill 8 last Friday where school board chairs, superintendents and secretary- treasurers heard from representatives of Alberta Education. Based on school boards’ collective input, President Helen Clease advised the Education Minister that the boards needed to be at the provincial bargaining table and involved in the negotiations.

Responding to the introduction of the amendment tonight, Clease said “school boards needed a voice in this first round of negotiations, and I am pleased to see the Minister taking steps to ensure this happens. While we would still like to see other changes, we look forward to working with the government in authentic partnership to strengthen the role of local school boards in this process.”

Clease also noted that the Minister invited school boards to provide their feedback following last Friday's meeting. “We had proposed further changes to the scope of central bargaining, the structure and operation of TEBA and the cost implications of the bargaining process. While there are outstanding issues, we have emphasized to the Minister and the department the importance of school boards working with the government as the Act is implemented and regulations are developed.”

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