Manitoba Teachers' Society (MTS) is waiting on a ruling from the legislature to see if 38 individual agreements will merge into one bargaining model.
Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen is proposing a bill for single collective bargaining between the province's school divisions and their teachers.
"Manitoba is the only province in Canada where public teacher bargaining is still done exclusively at the local level,” Goertzen says. "This bill will create alignment with teacher agreements and reduce the duplication of work associated with reaching multiple separate agreements.”
MTS says they are on board for the changes.
“The Society supports single-tier provincial bargaining, providing that bargaining is fair, equitable and done in good faith,” MTS president James Bedford says. “We will not accept rollbacks in any of the gains that locals have achieved over the years. A provincial collective agreement must be reflective of the best of the best in local agreements.”
MTS would bargain on the behalf of teachers, and the Education Minister would employ a bargaining agent on the behalf of the school divisions.
"This bill will result in less variation between divisions and ultimately will mean more time spent teaching instead of bargaining, which means better results for students," Goertzen says.
If Bill 45 goes through, all current agreements would be in place until they expire. Once expired, the single collective would join the amalgamated one.
“We will act decisively and fairly to ensure the best interests of our members are at the forefront of negotiations at a central table,” Bedford says.
Division scolaire franco-manitobaine (DSFM) will maintain its current bargaining agreement.