Media Release

Edmonton Public teachers authorize strike vote

Media Release

For immediate release 2023 10 23


Teachers employed by the Edmonton School Division have voted 97 per cent in favour of authorizing the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) to request a government-supervised strike vote.

This action followed the rejection of a proposal by a third-party mediator to settle local negotiations in Edmonton Public. Teachers who gathered at the meeting held Sunday evening voted 91 per cent in opposition to the mediator’s recommendations.

“Yesterday’s turnout of support for the bargaining team sends a very strong message to the school division. When the board has the ability to improve working conditions, like they do with online teachers, and refuses to do so, teachers feel undervalued. Last night our members indicated that we stand united with them.”

—Heather Quinn, president of Edmonton Public Teachers’ Local No 37

Quinn said the mediator’s recommendations were turned down because they didn’t offer enough improvement for teachers working in online learning or for those teaching summer school and night school. The position of the school division to treat different types of teacher work as less valuable than others is seen by teachers as being quite disrespectful.

“The solutions required to get an agreement are not complicated and they are not expensive. This is about respect. If the school division was willing to treat teachers fairly and with more respect for their work, we would have an agreement.”

—Heather Quinn, president of Edmonton Public Teachers’ Local No 37

Despite authorizing the ATA to take a strike vote, teachers are still hopeful for a negotiated settlement. Quinn said the votes provide a very strong mandate for teacher negotiators to go back to the bargaining table and to fight for further improvement. A strike vote is not being scheduled at this time and could not be held until at least two weeks after the mediator “writes out” of the dispute.

Collective bargaining for teachers in Alberta is a two-phase process where matters of significant cost and broad impact are negotiated at a central table, followed by local negotiations between individual school divisions and ATA bargaining units on other, more locally specific, matters. Teachers in Edmonton public have been working without a finalised collective agreement since September of 2020.

The Alberta Teachers’ Association is the professional association of teachers in Alberta and acts as the bargaining agent for all teachers employed in public, separate and francophone school divisions. The Edmonton School Division employs approximately 7,000 contracted and substitute teachers in public schools in Edmonton.

For more information, or to arrange an interview with Heather Quinn, contact the Edmonton Public Teachers Local at 780-455-2164.