Samantha Becotte, Saskatchewan Teachers Federation president wants a mandate for teachers to strike in September
Samantha Becotte, Saskatchewan Teachers Federation president wants a mandate for teachers to strike in SeptemberImage courtesy of STF

Sask Teachers Federation seeks members for mandate to strike next school year

The Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation is seeking a mandate from its members to go on strike in the fall.

On May 15 and 16, Saskatchewan teachers will vote on whether to enable the STF to implement sanctions beyond the current school year, as the existing mandate to do so expires on June 30, 2024.

The announcement was made in a press release Friday afternoon, one day after more than 90% of teachers who cast a vote rejected the contract offer from the province.

"The goal of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation is to reach a new provincial collective bargaining agreement at the negotiating table without further interruptions to students and families, but after a year of strained negotiations, the STF must prepare for the possibility that government’s intransigence could continue into the next school year now that its final offer has been decisively rejected by teachers," the STF said in a press release.

STF President Samantha Becotte blamed the government for the drawn-out process, which would have ended the day before had her union accepted the contract offer.

“For reasons that are beyond understanding, the Government of Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan School Boards Association seem committed to dragging this process out as long as they can, leaving students, teachers, families and the education sector in limbo,” Becotte said.

“Teachers want to teach, not strike. We want to be in classrooms, not picket lines. We want to focus on the success of our students, not fight tooth and nail for the bare minimum needed to do our jobs. But this is about more than what we want. This is about what’s right for Saskatchewan’s students, the sustainability of our profession and the future of publicly funded schools.”

In October 2023, teachers voted 95% in favour of job sanctions, giving the STF Executive and Teachers’ Bargaining Committee the authority to impose the sanctions they deem necessary, but this mandate expires on June 30, 2024.

Results of this sanctions vote will be shared with STF members and the public once voting closes on May 16. The Teachers’ Bargaining Committee has asked the Government-Trustee Bargaining Committee to return to negotiations with a new mandate to bargain, and conversations are underway to determine a path forward at the bargaining table.

The STF said no new sanctions will be employed while discussions are in progress. However, if talks break down, further job sanctions will be announced.

Western Standard