PRESS RELEASE: AFL Stands with Education Workers on #paintABpurple Day

Education support staff have been suffering through an eight-year pay freeze

EDMONTON – The Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) voiced its backing for education support workers today on #paintABpurple day. Albertans across the province are wearing purple to their workplaces to demand better wages for these workers.

“These dedicated support staff have been underpaid and overworked for far too many years,” said AFL president Gil McGowan. “Their pay is tragically low and has been for eight long years. They deserve better.”

According to the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Alberta, the union that represents the majority of these workers, the average annual salary for educational assistants who support children with the most complex needs is $26,400, which is below Alberta’s poverty line. Even when school maintenance and trades workers are included, the average salary for education support workers is only $35,400.

These workers have had their wages frozen with no adjustment for the rising cost of living across Alberta. According to the Bank of Canada, the Consumer Price Index has risen nearly 25% over those same eight years, which equates to a drastic pay cut.

“Underfunding has led to a crisis in schools where these workers are supporting more students than ever with fewer hours.” said McGowan. “The Government of Alberta claims it has a multi-billion-dollar surplus. They need to act now to give them a well-deserved living wage immediately.”


John Ashton
Director of Communications, AFL