As both sides have hit a stalemate in contract talks between the Alberta Teachers’ Association and the province – the union hopes to cut out the middle man, and want to directly deal with the premier.

The ATA announced Friday that the union had decided progress was not possible under the current model – in talks with both the school boards and the Education Minister.

The association sent a letter to the premier, urging her to find a solution – a move that caught the minister off-guard.

“It was quite a surprise this morning to get an e-mail across the wire, essentially telling us that they want to step away from the tripartite table,” Education Minister Jeff Johnson said.

According to the proposal, teacher’s hours are a major issue – the ATA is asking for an average to be set outlining the number of hours staff will work, if they go over they can appeal.

“If you get rid of the bureaucratic work, or the non-teaching work then they will have more time to focus on student learning,” ATA President Carol Henderson said.

Some of the 62 school jurisdictions in Alberta have caps set already, but the minister says it doesn’t solve the problems.

“Our preference was to have a really close look at that, maybe add some more supports in the classroom for teachers,” Minister Johnson said.

Also included in the proposal is a below-average pay raise, which the ATA said teachers are willing to take in exchange for the cap.

Under the proposal, salaries would be frozen for the first two years, followed by a 1 percent increase in 2014-2015, and three percent increase in 2015-2016.

In addition, an adjustment would be made this year in jurisdictions where salary grids are below the provincial average.

The union hopes to hear from Premier Redford next week - in the meantime, talks with individual school boards continue.

With files from Breanna Karstens-Smith