Red Deer Catholic Schools found in violation of using unfair bargaining practices

Negotiations are continuing to move forward

An Alberta Labour Relations Board (ALRB) decision found the Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools (RDCRS) of having used unfair bargaining practices after central office employees attempted to interfere in the rights of teachers and the Association.

“The Red Deer Catholic Board Senior Administration was attempting to interfere in the normal operations of our local Alberta Teacher’s Association (ATA), which represents all certificated teachers and principals in Red Deer Catholic Schools,” said Red Deer Catholic Local President Stephen Merredew.

“As part of that, the email that we’re questioning and that the Labour Relations Board found was interfering in our operations – the ruling was in our favour in this – was that a member of the senior administration team emailed all principals and essentially asked them to come to our meeting and dispute teachers’ recollections of how this was impacting their professional practice,” he continued.

The ALRB found that that violated the Labour Relations Code, because principals who are members of the ATA weren’t expected to publicly debate their colleagues recollections of events.

In October 2017, a video was sent to all teaching staff in which Superintendent Paul Mason explained the school division’s rationale behind the way teachers’ instructional and assignable hours were being implemented. This video formed the most substantive part of the (ATA’s) complaint to the ALRB according to a release and ended up being dismissed by the ALRB. The ALRB found that the video communication by Mason was an acceptable communication with staff.

Although staff from RDCRS would not comment when contacted, Board Chair Anne Marie Watson and Supt. Mason commented in a release sent out to the media.

“We applaud the Alberta Labour Relations Board ruling relative to the video explaining instructional and assignable hours that was shared with all staff, as this was a significant decision in favour of the school division’s actions,” said Watson.

Mason said they have been working diligently with the ATA for a positive resolution to the negotiations.

“Negotiations between the ATA and the school division have been actively ongoing since October 2017, with the most recent negotiating session occurring on December 3, 2018,” he said.

Merredew is encouraging the board to return to the bargaining table and work quickly and constructively towards an agreement.

“Let’s get this done so teachers, students and the school division can move on,” he said in a release.

-With files from The Alberta Teachers’ Association and Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools

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