Media Release

Teacher talks break down in Red Deer Catholic

Teachers in Red Deer Catholic are being called to an important bargaining meeting on February 15 to discuss next steps after local bargaining has broken down between the school division and the Alberta Teachers’ Association.

Bargainers met for two consecutive days of mediation in late January, but despite a marathon 13-hour second day of talks, the school board refused to move off its original bargaining position. The position tabled by the school board includes a number of offensive proposals attempting to strip out longstanding provisions from the collective agreement.

“Given recent public controversies, the last thing Red Deer Catholic needs to be doing right now is picking fights with its teachers. Yet, based on the approach being used in local bargaining, that is exactly what they appear to be doing.”

—Sara Lambert, president of Red Deer Catholic Local No 80

Teachers will be presented with the school board’s last tabled proposal for bargaining at the meeting on February 15 and updated on the events that have characterized this particularly rocky round of local negotiations. Teachers will be asked for direction on how to proceed with the bargaining process, which could include asking the mediator to write out of the dispute.

If the mediator exits the process, a legislated two-week cooling-off period would begin, after which the ATA could apply to hold a strike vote, or the school division could hold a lockout vote.

“Red Deer Catholic teachers just want to be treated with fairness, respect and decency. The settlement trends are clearly established, and an agreement should be easy to achieve. Instead of getting a deal done, negotiators are wasting time, playing games and unnecessarily antagonizing teachers. We deserve to be treated better.”

—Sara Lambert, president of Red Deer Catholic Local No 80

Red Deer Catholic remains one of only six school divisions in the province (out of a total of 61) that has not reached agreement with teachers for the 2020–2024 bargaining round.

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 Red Deer Catholic have been working without a finalized collective agreement since September 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 Red Deer Catholic School Division employs approximately 700 contracted and substitute teachers in Catholic schools in Red Deer, Blackfalds, Sylvan Lake, Rocky Mountain House, Innisfail and Olds.

For more information or to arrange an interview with Red Deer Catholic Local President Sara Lambert, contact ATA Media Relations Officer Mark Milne at 780-905-0014.