You’ve likely heard that the Jason Kenney government is seeking wage rollbacks of between 2-5% for different groups of public sector union employees.
This represents another broken promise by Jason Kenney and it will hurt hundreds of thousands of Albertans who work hard every day in our provincial government and health care system.
I don’t need to tell you that many members of the public service haven’t seen a cost of living wage increase in years, so asking them to take a wage reduction is a slap in the face from a Premier who earns $200,000 per year on top of a $120,000 pension from his years as a Member of Parliament.
For the moment, the Kenney government is only seeking wage reductions for a limited group of union members that does not include CUPE. Unions (like AUPE, UNA and HSAA) who have collective agreements in place with arbitrated wage re-openers in 2019 are the subject of this attack.
Our friends and family members in UNA, HSAA and AUPE are under attack by Kenney, who is seeking to use the wage re-opener arbitration process to roll back the wages of workers who haven’t had raises in at least two years. CUPE will stand with them as they fight back.
But while CUPE isn’t the union in Jason Kenney’s sites at the moment, these decisions affect us in several concrete ways:
- There are a couple of CUPE locals in the K-12 sector who have wage arbitrations this year. While the Kenney government has been silent on what position they will take in those arbitrations, there is no reason to believe they won’t seek wage reductions.
- Several other CUPE locals have ‘me-too’ agreements in their contracts which tie their wages to settlements made by the unions being attacked.
- Rest assured that if Jason Kenney can win wage reductions from AUPE, HSAA, the Nurses or other groups, they will try the same tactics with CUPE. Just because we are not first, doesn’t mean we don’t have just as much on the line.
CUPE will do everything possible to fight wage reductions in the public sector. We will work with these unions and the Alberta Federation of Labour to let Jason Kenney know this is not an acceptable way to treat Alberta’s employees. We need you to also speak out. Let your MLAs know what you think of this. Make your voices heard. Together, we can win back our Alberta.
Rory Gill, President