Two pink flags, one says SCFP, the other says CUPEOver 400 educational assistants, clerical staff, therapists and technicians employed by the Parkland School Division have voted overwhelmingly to join CUPE. In an Alberta Labour Relations Board vote counted today, employees voted 97.8% to leave their independent association and join Canada’s largest union. There was an 80% turnout.

Parkland school division includes 23 schools west of Edmonton in Stony Plain, Spruce Grove and surrounding areas.

CUPE Alberta President Rory Gill welcomed the new members, saying they chose CUPE for the benefits of being part of a larger organization.

“School board workers have a lot of challenges ahead,” said Gill. “Most have not had a wage increase in eight years. The average wage for an educational assistant is just $26,400. Employees at Parkland believe we are all stronger together, and their votes reflect that.”

“K-12 support staff are greatly undervalued in Alberta. These are the people who educate our kids – they deserve financial security and CUPE will work hard to make sure that happens.”