The voting is now underway for the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation on the tentative agreement reached earlier this month with the provincial government. The agreement, which includes pay raises of three percent, three percent and two percent over the life of the contract, as well as language concerning the start of a process to address classroom size and complexity, was reached after an initial offer from the government was soundly rejected by the membership of the STF.  

While the executive of the STF is endorsing the contract, it isn’t unanimous support. Many teachers have been vocal on social media about the deal. They are critical of the language surrounding class size and complexity, noting it isn’t truly addressed, and is being pushed down the road again. Others have wondered why other provinces, such as Nova Scotia, were able to get class size and complexity included in their agreement, but it couldn’t happen in Saskatchewan.  

The negotiations between the STF and the provincial government have been tumultuous at best. An impasse in negotiations was declared in October, and at that time teachers voted in favour of taking job action, pending a conciliation attempt. The conciliator’s report, which came out in January, stated the issue of class size and complexity could be included in a new agreement, but the provincial government was adamant any new contract would not include it.  

Teachers initiated job action in January with a one-day strike, and since then have had rotating walkouts, withdrawal of extracurricular supports, withdrawal of lunch hour supervision, and most recently, a work-to-rule campaign that prompted a resumption of negotiations.  

The negotiations initially resulted in what was deemed a final offer from the province, but it was rejected with 90 percent of the votes cast saying no to the deal. Right after the news of the vote broke, teachers and the government returned to the bargaining table, which resulted in the tentative deal currently being voted on.  

The results of the vote are expected to be announced to the public Thursday evening after the membership of the STF is told of the results.