CUPE and Red Deer Catholic Schools sign historic first agreement

Deal comes after long negotiations

RED DEER – About 300 employees at Red Deer Catholic School District have a first contract with their employer. The employees include educational assistants, library workers, and clerical staff.

The deal provides modest wage increases, job protections, seniority provisions and a means to settle disputes when they arise between employees and the district. The contract was settled after almost three years of bargaining for a first contract.

CUPE Alberta President Rory Gill said K-12 staff are poorly compensated in Alberta.

“The average educational assistant in Alberta makes just over $27,000 a year,” said Gill.  “That’s not enough to live on, and it’s not enough for the people who help some of our most vulnerable kids.”

CUPE says the deal took a long time to negotiate because the provincial UCP government didn’t want to compensate workers fairly.

“The district has to get any settlement approved by the UCP government in Edmonton. And the UCP remain opposed to paying K-12 staff a living wage.”

Gill stated that educational assistants generally have at least one year of training and are required to balance teaching plans, individual student needs, and administrative responsibilities while keeping students safe.

“I’m glad we were able to move the needle a small amount, but Alberta needs to seriously re-adjust the compensation rates for K-12 employees.”

CUPE Alberta wishes to express our revulsion at the invasion of Ukraine by the Putin government of Russia. The invasion is an act of naked aggression without any reasonable justification. We stand in solidarity with all Ukrainian people and express our admiration at the ability of Ukrainian civilians and military personnel to withstand the Russian advance.

We know our small statement by itself will do little to reverse Putin’s military actions. However, we want to add our voices to the worldwide chorus of people demanding countries like Russia respect the lives and dignity of all peoples.


A bad budget from a bad government







Alberta’s 2022-23 budget is a master class of deception and gaslighting.  It pretends to have a lot of good news, but page after page signals more hardship for the people of the province.

Jason Kenney and the UCP are claiming this is a good news budget because it forecasts a small surplus for the coming fiscal year. This surplus is 100% based on record high gas and oil prices, which are not in the control of any government. It’s hard to imagine how any government wouldn’t balance the books in this context.


A balanced provincial budget does not equal a healthy economy. Alberta has a 9% unemployment rate. Calgary has the highest unemployment rate among major cities.

Kenney and the UCP promised 55,000 new jobs. They are currently 138,000 jobs behind that pace.


And when you look at the budget details, you see a government not committed to the same priorities as Albertans.

Despite record high gas and electric bills, Jason Kenney has offered no relief for power or gas bills. The budget talks about possible gas rebates NEXT year, but only if gas rises to over $6.50 a gigajoule, a price they admit probably won’t happen.

Here are some other details the UCP won’t be spending your money to advertise:


The UCP decided to stop reporting the number of students in Alberta schools. They just won’t tell us. We do know there are 1,000 fewer teachers funded by the government than when the UCP took over in 2019. This year alone, there will be 554 fewer teachers than last year.

There will be $117 million in new school fees and school taxes.


The UCP is cutting $1 billion from municipal capital projects. They are even walking away from matching funds being offered from the Federal government for transit projects.


Health care funding in Alberta is $100 million behind inflation from the start of the Kenney term. And remember, the system had extra costs due to the pandemic.  If you include a COVID recovery plan, there’s almost $1B less than 2021-22.

The promised new Red Deer Hospital? Forget it. The UCP budgeted only $139 million over the next three years. The cost of the hospital will be $1.8 billion, at this pace it won’t open for almost 40 years.


There have been $690 million in cuts since UCP took office.

This year, tuition will increase by 10%.


Once again, Jason Kenney and the UCP are not being honest with Albertans.  They continue to try and deceive us about the state of the economy, and the mismanagement of public services we depend upon.

There is a little over a year before the next election. Let’s hope Albertans can survive until then.

Calgary long term care facilities to reduce staffing levels: Union lack of funding cited

While the fifth wave of the COVID pandemic has caused most jurisdictions to require higher staffing levels at most long term care facilities, some local operators are being forced to reduce hours to make up for government funding gaps.

CUPE Alberta says its members working at Intercare Corporate Group Inc. are having their hours reduced and some positions are being eliminated. Over 75 part time employees and 41 full time employees working at Chinook Care Centre, Southwood Care Centre and Brentwood Care Centre are losing hours. Most of the reductions are happening in housekeeping and laundry, but some dietary positions are also being reduced and one unit clerk position is being eliminated.

CUPE Alberta President Rory Gill says funding for long term care facilities has not increased since before the pandemic, even as costs go up.

“The Kenney government’s budget and approach to COVID continues to cause needless pain and suffering,” said Gill. “The UCP learned nothing from early outbreaks at seniors’ facilities and are continuing to pinch pennies and force seniors to make do with less.”

Gill noted that a government review of continuing care released last May called for increases in staffing levels at seniors’ care facilities. Then Health Minister Tyler Shandro claimed in the Legislature that the government was working on an action plan to implement those recommendations.

“Eight months after promising seniors higher levels of care, we’re seeing cuts,” said Gill. “As usual, the UCP says one thing, does another and lies through its teeth.”

CUPE passes emergency motion to fight bad legislation from Jason Kenney

CUPE passed an emergency resolution at our National Convention to use ‘all means necessary’ to fight Jason Kenney’s Bill 81. The bill makes it near impossible for unions to comment on public issues.

Alberta delegate Lee Ann Kalen called Bill 81 “Another tactic from Jason Kenney to silence unions.”  Appealing to delegates from other provinces, Kalen said “Alberta needs your support – because other conservative governments are taking note.”

CUPE Alberta President Rory Gill called Bill 81 “Yet another law curtailing free speech. The UCP is trying to shut down debate.”

Gill continued: “The UCP are going to fail. They are going to fail because things are changing in Alberta in ways I never thought possible. The union movement is getting stronger every day.”  “You can’t shut the union up. You can’t shut CUPE up.”

The motion was passed by 97% of delegates.