Letter: Underpaid and Overworked: Alberta’s Education Workers Deserve Better

I’m an education worker and a member of CUPE which represents about 10,000 workers in public and catholic school districts across the province.

Classifications include Educational Assistants, Administrative Personnel, Custodial Workers, Bus Drivers and other non-teaching positions.

The average educational worker in Alberta makes $34,300 per year. The wages for educational assistant are even lower at $26,388 per year (about $20.58 per hour). Inflation has moved this wage to just below the Alberta poverty line of $26,550.

Per student funding in Alberta is lower than every other province in Canada. The number of students per educator is higher in Alberta than every other province.

The UCP funding formula does not keep up with enrollment or inflation.

Most CUPE members in this sector have not received cost of living increases in eight years. CUPE is asking for “2-4” or $2/hour every year for four years.

We work for Alberta kids.

We are wearing purple every Wednesday to tell the Alberta government we are tired of being paid poverty level wages. People who work for Alberta kids deserve a wage increase. We deserve a living wage and a family supporting career.

We love our jobs, our schools, the kids we work with and know we make a difference in the lives of those we support.

Our fight is not against our Employer but against the UCP government.

The UCP claims to have increased education funding, but that is not true. Inflation and increased enrollment have forced school districts to make cuts and the kids are suffering.

The dedicated (and vastly underpaid) school workers are suffering. Most have not had a wage increase in over eight years. This is certainly true in the case of education staff in our area.  The people who keep our kids safe, on track, and learning need help to allow them to do what they love.

School support workers are critical to a quality education. They work with kids, and they keep schools functioning smoothly.

Educational assistants are critical to keeping classrooms functioning. They work to support children with diverse learning needs. They should not be earning less than poverty line wages.

Increased workloads are burning out workers, recruitment and retention is a big problem and kids are paying the price.

School support work should be a career. It is important work, and it deserves more respect.

Please support us by wearing purple on Wednesday September 20th  💜

Thank you for you support

Mary Morin


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