EDMONTON – CUPE Alberta President Dennis Mol says Education Minister Dave Hancock is forcing a confrontation between school districts and their employees. CUPE Alberta represents 7,400 non-teaching school board employees in the province. Mol says most of them signed contracts entitling them to wage increases of 5.99% at the beginning of this school year. However, the Minister has told districts it will only fund increases of 4.82%.
“The Conservative government is forcing school districts to break legal contracts with their employees,” said Mol. “They are setting up a series of expensive, unnecessary legal battles to deny education workers their fair salary.”
Mol says the dispute is over the fact most contracts call for wage increases equal to the Alberta Average Weekly Earnings index (AAWE). According to statistics Canada, that figure is 5.99%; however the government does not accept the way the figure is calculated. “This is affecting janitors, administrative staff, and the people who work with special needs students,” said Mol. “None of them earn a lot of money – but they do good work for our children and deserve to have their contracts honoured.”
Mol said he expected CUPE to file multiple grievances, which will likely end up in arbitration.