New Brunswick — Late last week details emerged on the province’s labour agreement with the New Brunswick Teachers’ Association after a new five-year agreement was ratified by teachers and their union representatives.
The union fought hard to convince the government to hire 250 new teachers over the course of the next year to help with the increasing demands of behavioural and academic issues with New Brunswick students. And though the Gallant government agreed to that stipulation, The Manatee was able to find a loophole in the agreement that will also see a total of 350 old teachers being fired over the same time period.
“Well, shoot! That miss might be my fault,” expressed Claire Holtburger, the union representative working on the deal. “We had three major things we were fighting for and we got them all, and so I may have glossed over the finer points of the deal.”
We asked Holtburger to expand on those three major points.
“Well we wanted more teachers hired — check that one,” she said. “We wanted a one-percent annual increase, which we got, and teachers wanted to be able to tell parents what they actually think of their children rather than sugar-coating everything with a cryptic grading system that masks the fact that kids, sometimes, are terrible humans — that was really the clincher.”
The Manatee’s investigative team uncovered a somewhat hidden clause that spoke of the termination of 350 “old teachers” right in the middle of a paragraph explaining the intricacies involved in which songs can and cannot be sung during school Christmas concerts.
“We all know the deal on that one,” deflected Holtburger. “Anything that’s actually about Christ, we can’t sing. Only secular holiday songs — we get it. I didn’t see the need to read over that whole paragraph.”
Our reporter asked Education Minister Brian Kenny if it was the government’s intent to hide the clause disclosing the terminations.
“Oh, geez no,” he replied. “We wanted to be as transparent as possible; this was just a slight oversight, I guess. We thought the union wanted new teachers, not more. So honestly, we believed we were doing the teachers a favour by getting rid of all the cranky old teachers — which our research told us was right around 350 of them — and bringing in some new ones. We reasoned that the new teachers would be so hungry to prove their worth that they’d be more than able to make up for the 100 teaching jobs we’re doing away with.”
Kenny explained what criteria the government used to determine whether a teacher was “old.”
“Well, we technically can’t discriminate by age,” he admitted, “so we just kind of scanned the Facebook profiles of all the teachers in the province and picked the ones we thought looked the oldest without actually checking their age — that’s what we in the business call ‘circumventing.'”
The new agreement is up for renegotiation in 2022.