Teachers in southeast Saskatchewan are on the picket line today as part of the rotating strikes being conducted by the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation. The strike is the first time the southeast has been part of the rotating strike, with the only days the teachers were picketing being the two one-day province-wide walkouts earlier this winter.  

The teachers from the South East Cornerstone Teachers’ Association and Holy Family Catholic Teachers’ Association won’t be picketing in front of Weyburn-Big Muddy MLA Dustin Duncan’s office, however. They are in Regina to rally in front of the Legislature, coinciding with the start of the spring session.  

“We would just urge that teachers and students should be in the classroom,” Duncan said about the situation. “The teachers union should be at the bargaining table. We’re ready.” 

The STF and the provincial Government-Trustee Bargaining Committee have not met face to face since the few weeks of February when both sides accused the other of walking away from the table. Duncan said the government is waiting for the STF to return to the table so a new deal can be worked out. He said they need to come willing to bargain, however.  

“They haven’t really moved on anything,” Duncan said. “They asked for class size and composition funding to be annualized, and we have offered what they asked for. The two innovative pilot projects that the Minister (of Education) announced in the last couple of weeks, they asked for that funding to be annualized, and we offered it. They asked for the same deal in terms of how MLA pay increases are structured, that same formula to be applied to teacher salaries, and we offered that. They’ve asked for workplace safety enhancements, and we’ve offered that. And they’ve asked for the ability to manage their own dental plan, and we offered that.” 

The STF has stated they are not interested in returning to the bargaining table until there is a mandate for the GTBC to be able to talk about classroom size and complexity and to have language about that included in the CBA, similar to a number of other provinces, such as BC, Quebec, and PEI. The government, however, has been steadfast that they will not be including those in an agreement and will only keep the offers made outside of any agreement.  

The rotating strike will be for one day, with teachers in the southeast back in the classroom on Tuesday. However, there will be additional job action starting provincewide that same day. The STF announced late last week they will be withdrawing extracurricular support for Tuesday and Wednesday.