For immediate release
April 14, 2009
Further funding needed to meet Education shortfall
Last week’s budget not enough to meet contract requirements: Union
EDMONTON – The President of the Union representing support staff employees at the Edmonton Public School board is calling on the provincial government to amend its budget to cover negotiated wage increases for non-teaching staff.
Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3550 President Trudy Grebenstein said most non-teaching staff in Alberta are due to receive wage increases in line with the Alberta average weekly earnings index, or 5.9%. But, last week’s budget only covers increases of 4.8%.
“If the Conservative government doesn’t act, school districts are going to be short changed, and cuts to education will happen,” said Grebenstein.
“I spoke with Education Minister Dave Hancock about my concerns at the legislature after the budget was announced,” says Grebenstein. “He assured me that the funding announcement was good for public education, but today my members are worried about where the extra 1.1% will come from.”
Grebenstein warned the government not to expect education workers to accept less than their negotiated contracts.
“Both the Premier and Finance Minister assured Albertans that the public sector does not have to worry about roll-backs or reductions next year,” said Grebenstein. “Other governments have tried to tear up contracts with their workers and the Supreme Court has forced them to change course.”
“The only question today is will the government protect education programs and increase the budget, or will they pick a fight they can’t win with front line workers,” said Grebenstein.
CUPE 3550 represents 2,600 teaching assistants, administrative assistants and other non-teaching staff in the Edmonton Public School system.
Contact: Lou Arab