A. Collective Bargaining
1. Bargaining Agent
The NLTA is the appropriate bargaining agent for all teachers, as defined in Paragraph v of Section 2 of the Schools Act, 1997, who are employed with a school board or private school in Newfoundland and Labrador and/or who are employed by any agency or department of government. [Nov/28/14] [2015 BGM]
2. Bargaining Units
Each bargaining unit of the NLTA shall include all teachers, as defined in Paragraph v of Section 2 of the Schools Act, 1997, who are employed by the employers referred to in paragraph 1. above that are bargaining with that unit.
3. Costs Associated with Bargaining
The costs associated with collective bargaining shall be absorbed by the Emergency Fund in keeping with the finance policy of the NLTA.
4. Procedures for Development of Opening Proposals
Procedures to be followed for the development of proposals for a new Collective Agreement are as follows:
a) The Collective Bargaining Committee, a standing committee of the NLTA Provincial Executive, is established when necessary.
b) The Collective Bargaining Committee will develop opening proposals for negotiations. In its deliberations, the Committee will consider all material necessary to obtain views representative of the total spectrum of the membership. The material should include, but not be limited to;
i) Problem areas of the current Collective Agreement;
ii) Other current collective agreements in the province;
iii) Current collective agreements of affiliates across Canada;
iv) Convention resolutions;
v) NLTA policy;
vi) NLTA collective bargaining files;
vii) Written submissions from individuals, branches and special interest councils;
viii) Report of previous negotiating committee.
c) The Collective Bargaining Committee will facilitate the gathering of information on problems with current articles, suggested improvements in current articles, and possible new articles.
i) Branch Presidents will be requested to make written submissions to the Collective Bargaining Committee, on behalf of their branches, which reflect the views of their members on the objectives for bargaining and the specific modifications, to be sought. The method of obtaining information from the members in this respect will be determined by the branches in cooperation with the Collective Bargaining Committee.
ii) Special Interest Councils will be requested to provide input similar to the above.
Submissions referred to above will in no way restrict any group or individual from submitting briefs, either written or oral, to the Committee.
d) Once the Collective Bargaining Committee has determined the generalities of what is to be included in the opening proposals, a sub-committee will then be set up whose objectives shall be to:
i) prepare the actual wording of each article recommended by the Collective Bargaining Committee, and
ii) present the final draft of the opening proposals to the Collective Bargaining Committee for ratification.
This sub-committee will consist of the Chairperson of the Collective Bargaining Committee, one other member of the Collective Bargaining Committee, and a resource person from NLTA staff.
e) The proposals along with recommended priorities for negotiations will subsequently be presented to Executive by the Collective Bargaining Committee.
f) The Executive will review the proposals and suggested priorities, recommend changes, if any, and return the proposals to the Collective Bargaining Committee for the final draft.
g) Before Executive gives final approval to the opening proposals and priorities, a meeting of the Joint Council will be held for the purpose of reviewing the priorities and general objectives established. This meeting will not examine specific wording changes but would confirm whether or not the Collective Bargaining Committee and Executive are properly attuned to the membership’s wishes.
5. Negotiating Team for Provincial Negotiations
a) A Negotiating Team shall be appointed prior to the beginning of provincial contract negotiations. The Team shall be appointed by the Provincial Executive upon recommendation from the President. The Negotiating Team shall have a full mandate to negotiate a tentative agreement and to recommend same to Provincial Executive. [Nov/28/14] [2015 BGM]
b) Representation on the Negotiating Team shall consist of:
i) The NLTA Vice-President who shall serve as Chairperson of the Team.
ii) Eight members of the Association in accordance with the following: [2021 BGM]
• a member of the Provincial Executive;
• a primary/elementary teacher;
• an intermediate/high school teacher;
• a representative from the School Administrators’ Council; [Sept/22/06]
• a member employed at a district/regional office (eg. program specialist, educational psychologist, itinerant teacher, speech language pathologist); [2021 BGM]
• a member employed in a small K-12 school (as a general guideline, a school with fewer than 200 students);
• a member employed as a Teaching and Learning Assistant; and [Jan/10/20]
• a substitute or replacement teacher. [2007 BGM] [Nov/28/14] [2015 BGM]
Where possible, at least one of the above referenced members shall be chosen from among those who served on the Negotiating Team for the previous round of negotiations. [Nov/28/14] [2015 BGM]
iii) The Assistant Executive Director or a Programs and Services Administrative Officer, who shall serve as Chief Spokesperson at the negotiating table.
iv) A Programs and Services Administrative Officer who shall serve as Staff Consultant to the Team.
c) Every effort will be made to ensure:
i) gender equity,
ii) generational equity,
iii) representation from large and small schools,
iv) representation for urban and rural schools, and
v) balanced geographical representation on the Team. [Mar/30/06] [JC Nov/06] [2007 BGM]
6. Communication with the Membership
a) Following the exchange of opening packages between the parties, a series of branch meetings will be arranged to give a summary of the NLTA opening proposals, and a summary of the government/school board opening proposals to all teachers.
b) The Executive shall advise the membership on the progress of negotiations as fully as is deemed advisable by the Executive.
c) Regular communications in the form of special newsletters will be forwarded to each teacher in the province following the beginning of negotiations. The purpose of the communications is to keep teachers generally informed of the status of negotiations even if no progress has been made. During periods of negotiations, a negotiations update will be on the agenda for Joint Council meetings. [Nov/28/14] [2015 BGM]
d) The Association shall inform the membership about negotiations through branch presidents prior to the release of information to the public media. However, during collective bargaining and, in particular, during collective bargaining crises, when deemed strategically appropriate, the Provincial Executive has the authority to email or fax information first to branch presidents and then immediately to the media without an intervening wait When the latter is done, branch presidents will be so informed by a notation on the message forwarded to them.
e) Presentations on negotiations at special branch meetings will be made jointly by the branch president and the Executive contact person.
f) All branches are requested to put in place a special communications network for the purposes of disseminating negotiations information and of determining the views of the membership on negotiations issues when requested. This network must be organized so that:
i) each branch executive member is assigned a school(s) for which they accept communication responsibility,
ii) a school representative(s) is identified who accepts the responsibility for negotiations communications within their school, and
iii) a branch president/executive member/school representative telephone tree network is established.
7. General Guidelines
a) Negotiations should begin at least four months prior to the expiry date of any current agreement. The date for requesting the commencement of negotiations is determined by the Provincial Executive.
b) During periods of negotiations, the Chief Negotiator will give regular reports to the Executive. [Nov/28/14] [2015 BGM]
c) Any change(s) made to collective agreements shall be made known to all members of the Association.
d) Immediately following Provincial Executive’s consideration of the Negotiating Team final reports, said final reports will be circulated to all branch presidents.
e) A strategy response team will be formed to handle the coordination of activities at the NLTA office during crucial stages of negotiations.
f) A decision to request the appointment of a Conciliation Officer or to move to the Conciliation Board stage of negotiations shall be made by Provincial Executive upon recommendation from the Negotiating Team. The approval of the NLTA nominee and the Chairperson of a Conciliation Board shall be made by Provincial Executive, upon recommendation from the Negotiating Team.
8. Membership Voting Requirements and Procedures
a) A vote will be conducted among the membership on conciliation board reports.
b) A province-wide vote is to be held prior to any contemplated job action by the Association.
c) When information is circulated to the membership in advance of a strike vote, it must include information on the provision for a special levy, in accordance with By-Law XIV.J., for payment of indebtedness incurred during a strike. [2003 BGM]
d) An affirmative strike vote giving Provincial Executive the authority to call a strike:
i) in no way compels Executive so to act; and
ii) is not intended to dictate to Executive the timing or manner of invoking a strike.
e) Before a collective agreement is signed, it must be ratified by a majority vote of the membership. The holding of a ratification vote must be approved by the Provincial Executive.
The wording of the ballot must always include at least the right of the voting member to accept and the right to reject and must be approved by a majority vote at the Joint Council meeting. In the event that more than two items are placed on a ballot, a majority vote of the membership will be required to accept an option. Should no option receive a majority, a run-off ballot shall be carried out listing those two items which received the highest number of votes on the first ballot.
f) Substitute teachers who qualify for active membership as per By-Law III are eligible to participate in a ratification vote.
g) After a province-wide vote is taken, the results of the ballot shall be released to teachers. [Feb/25-26/09] [JC Feb/09] [2009 BGM]
h) After a province-wide vote is taken and ballots received from individual branches have been reconciled with any telephone vote that has been received, NLTA staff, by Executive motion, will be authorized to destroy the ballots in question once an accurate tabulation and record has been compiled of said voting incident, but not less than 60 days after the date of the ballot.
9. Negotiations in Local Bargaining Units
a) i) There shall be coordination between the committee responsible for the development of the provincial opening proposals and the committee drafting the opening proposals of the local bargaining unit, in order to ensure consistency in approach and to avoid conflict in the adjustment of specific articles.
ii) The opening proposals shall be approved by the Provincial Executive prior to release to the local teachers or to the school board(s). In the event that the board(s) submits a notice to negotiate, the local unit shall immediately notify the NLTA provincial office. [Feb/18-19/15] [2015 BGM]
iii) Prior to the commencement of a round of negotiations for the local unit, a meeting or meetings between the provincial President, or their designate, the chief negotiator for the local unit, the local branch president, and the Chairperson of the local negotiating committee shall be held to discuss issues of mutual concern such as negotiations, strategy, and media presentation. [Feb/18-19/15] [2015 BGM]
iv) The generalities of the opening package shall be made known to the members prior to submission to the school board(s).
v) The Provincial Executive shall, on the recommendation of the branch, appoint the members of the negotiating committee and the chief negotiator, who shall be a member of the NLTA provincial staff. [Feb/18-19/15] [2015 BGM]
vi) There shall be constant communication between the local negotiating committee, the local branch president, and the NLTA provincial office throughout negotiations. [Feb/18-19/15] [2015 BGM]
vii) There shall be involvement of provincial personnel before an impasse is declared.
viii) The Provincial Executive must approve the holding of a ratification vote.
ix) All votes taken during collective bargaining by any bargaining unit of the NLTA shall be recorded in writing and sent to the St. John’s office within one week of the vote.
x) The Collective Agreement shall include the signatures of the president of the branch and of the President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association. [Feb/18-19/15] [2015 BGM]
b) Job action will be supported by the Provincial Executive on the basis of the following:
i) The requirements of Section (a) and the Teachers’ Collective Act have been fulfilled. [Feb/18-19/15] [2015 BGM]
ii) There shall be a vote by secret ballot of the local membership before any sanction is imposed.
iii) There must be approval by the Provincial Executive before the imposition of a sanction.
iv) In the event that the proposed sanction is in the nature of withdrawal of services, the positive vote required shall be determined by the Provincial Executive following consultation with the local group.
v) Financial support of the membership in a withdrawal of services shall be determined from time to time by the Provincial Executive and the terms of such support shall be made known to the membership prior to a job action vote being taken.
vi) When a sanction has been authorized by the Provincial Executive, it shall be the responsibility of the local group to establish a job action committee which, under the direction of the Provincial Executive, shall organize and coordinate the job action. (Also see Section B. – Job Actions)
10. Administrators/Program Specialists and the Bargaining Unit
NLTA will ensure that administrators and program specialists remain as part of the collective bargaining unit. [Feb/2-3/95] [1995 AGM]