I had opportunities this year to participate in both the bargaining conference and to sit in as an observer for a local bargaining session. This was my first time doing anything like this, though I’ve taught through 2 provincial bargaining rounds during my career. My experiences in bargaining were a little like my first time driving a Go Kart. You’re a lot closer to the ground, you have to learn a new set of rules and procedures (that you might occasionally break) and feel like you’re going really fast, but from the outside it might not look like you’re getting much done (did we just travel in a circle this whole time?). 

Then again, all the language we have in our collective agreement up to this point has been subject to this process of procedural and incremental development. It’s hard to appreciate the work that goes into bargaining without having any interaction with the process. For me, bargaining can feel a bit like watching the finish line of a marathon and urging the runners to go faster as they reach the home stretch. The preparation, while unglamorous, is an important part of the process and something I’d encourage other members to get involved with. If you’re feeling curious about how things work, or if you have questions about bargaining, reach out and get in touch with someone in the STA office.