An average Alberta wage of $23.80 per hour sounds good in a government news release, but Edmonton school support workers are pointing out that the people who care for and educate our children are earning considerably less than that.
CUPE 3550 President Trudy Grebenstein said that Educational Assistants, who are often required to have several years of post secondary education to work with the most challenging special needs children, are often paid as little as $18 per hour.
“As a union, we have our work cut out for us, because the public recognizes the need for our services, entrusts a high level of responsibility on us, and demands accountability from us, but the provincial government won’t fund school districts to improve our wages,” said Grebenstein.
“In the past the government has counted on principals and teachers to guilt support staff into sticking around, but that isn’t working anymore – even in an economic downturn,” said Grebenstein. “They need to start treating us like the highly skilled workers we are.”
Grebenstein noted that the Conservative government is fighting a contract dispute with support workers that would give them an additional 1.1% in wages. “Even as they lose staff, they continue to nickel and dime the school districts.”