Saskatchewan teachers discuss binding arbitration in consultation process

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The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation says it is undergoing a member consultation process regarding the use of binding arbitration to reach a new provincial collective bargaining agreement.

Much of the information around the consultation process isn’t being shared by the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation (STF) while the process is underway, but said it focused on two possible paths forward.

“One of which involves the use of binding arbitration to resolve two outstanding issues: class complexity-accountability framework and teachers’ wages,” the STF release said.

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Teachers vote a ‘message showing lack of trust,’ STF president says

The STF said the Government-Trustee Bargaining Committee revised its offer on June 8 to include a class complexity-accountability framework and wages.

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Global News reached out to the Ministry of Education asking if the binding arbitration offer had been revised, but was told through a statement that it had not.

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“There is no new binding arbitration offer. Government has and continues to offer binding arbitration on matters of wages and an accountability framework/classroom supports. Binding arbitration represents the best path forward that will provide certainty to parents, students, and families,” the ministry said.

Saskatchewan teachers and the provincial government have been in bargaining talks for over a year, with discussions first starting in May 2023.

The STF had offered binding arbitration as a means to resolve this bargaining dispute in March, but was instead presented the government’s final offer.

After turning down the final offer, the provincial government came back at the end of May offering binding arbitration.

Click to play video: 'Binding arbitration could be used in Saskatchewan teacher talks'
Binding arbitration could be used in Saskatchewan teacher talks

Binding arbitration would involve a submission of the dispute to a neutral party, which would provide a middle ground to the province and the union.

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In May, Education Minister Jeremy Cockrill claimed that both sides of the bargaining table felt comfortable with the last tentative agreement and that good progress was made.

He said that binding arbitration is a process outside of traditional bargaining and that details around it would need to be hashed out between the two sides.

An arbitration board would be created with a single member from each bargaining committee who will appoint a mutually agreeable chair.

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