Tories Stab Teachers in the Back, Says AFL

The Education Services Settlement Act, introduced today in the Legislature, is an affront to the principles of fair collective bargaining, says the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL). The Premier has reneged on his promise to teachers and is ensuring many more years of labour unrest in our school system.

"Premier Klein stabbed teachers in the back today," says AFL President Les Steel. "He promised them a fair process and instead rammed an unfair settlement down their throats."

"This is not arbitration. This is dictation," says Steel, pointing out that the bill exempts teachers from the Arbitration Act, which sets the rules for arbitrations. "This Act is not abiding by any of the basic rules of arbitration and collective bargaining. It is a bully act."

"Klein is a copycat. He is using the same bully tactics as Gordon Campbell in B.C. by striking out legally binding clauses in existing contracts," Steel highlights. "Not only is this immoral, it is most likely unconstitutional."

Steel states there are a number of horrible aspects to this bill. First, the restrictions place on the arbitrator are so tight that none of the teachers' issues can get heard. "He has shackled the arbitrator to force them to toe the government line."

Second, the bill strips away any clause in any active collective agreement that addresses class sizes, instructional time or classroom conditions. "These are legally binding contracts being ripped up by a rabid, ideological government."

Steel predicts more unrest and anger from teachers. "With this kind of provocation, I suspect to see years of increasing anger and action from teachers."

"Look out Ralph Klein; you may have released a tiger." Steel concludes.

For more information call:

Les Steel, President @ 780-483-3021 (wk) 780-499-4135 (cell)

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