CUPE Alberta welcomes government announcement on education funding

CUPE Alberta President Marle Roberts today said the NDP government’s education funding announcement is good news for students, their families, and workers.

“With 12,000 new kids entering the system in the fall, we need this additional funding,” Roberts said. “This will ensure we have well-maintained schools, with the support students need.”

Under the previous government, boards were ordered to cut their budgets, Roberts said. Boards were also told no new provincial funding would be available for the next three years, despite Alberta’s soaring enrolments.

“The previous government cut the amount of funding available to be spent on each student,” Roberts said. “This would have meant increased class sizes, more portable classrooms, program and staff cuts, less money on maintenance and student support – it would have been a disaster for students, for the learning environment, and for Alberta’s investment in our future.”

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CUPE Alberta thanks Premier-designate Rachel Notley for extending school board budgets

Canadian Union of Public Employees Alberta President Marle Roberts today thanked Premier-designate Rachel Notley for keeping a campaign promise to support Alberta’s education system.

“By extending the deadlines for school boards to submit their annual budgets, the provincial government has provided critical breathing space for boards to prepare for the thousands of new students coming into our system,” Roberts said. “We are pleased to see the Premier-designate take this matter seriously and respond to it as a priority.”

With more than 12,000 new students entering the system this fall, school boards have been scrambling to figure out how to supply the classroom space, teachers, and support staff necessary. The Calgary Board of Education contemplated reducing its cleaning operations, legal services, and other supports to manage the shortfalls. We have seen cut backs of support staff in many schools all across this Province.

“It’s obvious to Albertans that we need to inject more funding into our schools,” Roberts said.

“I am very happy that Premier-designate Notley is keeping her campaign promise to make this happen.”

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CUPE Alberta President congratulates Premier-elect Rachel Notley

Alberta Division President Marle Roberts today congratulated Premier-elect Rachel Notley and her new caucus on their ground-breaking victory in Alberta.Marle Roberts

“I am thrilled that Albertans chose a government which supports public health care and education, strong and sustainable municipalities, and fair treatment for workers,” Roberts said.

“And I am excited that 26 of the 53 MLAs elected to the government caucus are women, the highest percentage of any government in the country,” Roberts said.

The PC government, first elected four years before Richard Nixon resigned as President of the US, had entered the election with a budget that slashed health services, failed to provide schools or staff for the increasing numbers of students this year, and threatened to erode the social fabric of the province through cuts. They also threatened to bring in regressive essential services legislation and anti-labour bargaining tactics.

“We look forward to working with a government that cares about the same things Alberta’s working families care about,” Roberts said. “Fairness, respect, accountability, and justice.”

CUPE Alberta President statement on the death of City of Edmonton worker

CUPE Alberta President: Death of City of Edmonton worker affects us all

CUPE Alberta President Marle Roberts today said workers across the province are grieving after the death of a City employee and CUPE Local 30 member from an accident last week.

“I join with my union brothers and sisters across Alberta in offering our deepest condolences to this young worker’s family, and to his friends and co-workers,” she said.

“When one of us is hurt, we all feel the loss,” Roberts said. “We all pause and think about the times we’ve had near accidents, and about how our families would be affected.”

Roberts pointed out that April 28 was the International Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured on the job.

“We gathered this week to remember those we’ve lost over the past year,” Roberts said. “We also recognized the importance of improving workplace safety. It’s said that workplace accidents are almost always preventable, so it’s especially tragic when they still happen”.

“We have lost a friend, a brother, a worker, and a valuable member of our community. We are diminished by our loss,” Roberts said.




Statement from CUPE Alberta President for the National Day of Mourning – April 28

Statement from CUPE Alberta President Marle Roberts for the
National Day of Mourning on April 28th

The Canadian Union of Public Employees established the first National Day of Mourning in 1984. We did so to remember those brothers and sisters killed or injured on the job and to dedicate ourselves to fighting for safer work environments.

CUPE’s idea was quickly adopted by the Canadian Labour Congress and by other unions, and is now recognized in over 80 countries world-wide.

Today, we remember our own.

CUPE 4946 member Dellis Partridge was killed at work during his first shift as a bus driver with the Peace River School Division.

CUPE 30 member Harl Hawley, a pool service employee with the City of Edmonton, passed away suddenly while working at the Grand Trunk Recreational Centre.

Our thoughts are with their families, friends, and co-workers today.

Just last week, another CUPE 30 member was badly injured while unloading a City of Edmonton dump truck. His condition is still critical, and we hope his recovery is successful.

With these members in mind, we renew our commitment to our right to health and safety and to respect on the job.

The National Day of Mourning was born of the values of the union movement, to mourn the dead and the sick and the injured.

But let us fight, too, for the living. Let us fight for safe workplaces.  Every day.



Canadian Union of Public Employees Alberta Speaks Out Against C-51

 (April 18, 2015) Canadians attending rallies in Calgary and Edmonton to protest Bill C-51 – the federal government’s new “security” law – heard from CUPE Alberta President Marle Roberts and Treasurer Glynnis Lieb.

“The Canadian Union of Public Employees believes in democratic rights to free speechCUPE Alberta Speaks Out Against C-51 and to assembly,” Roberts said at the Calgary rally. “C-51 threatens to paint anyone who opposes this repressive government as a terrorist, with the aim of scaring people away from dissent.”

Speaking in Edmonton, Lieb said the law would allow government agencies like the health department to share personal information with the RCMP.

“Your financial records, your health records – they all become fodder for government agents,” Lieb said. “What was once considered to be the stuff of conspiracy theories is IMG_20150418_125805745becoming the law of the land in Canada.”

Public support for C-51 has dropped to less than 33 per cent across Canada, as citizens learn more about the bill and its impacts.

“So far, only the NDP is opposing this bill in the House of Commons,” Roberts said. “We’re calling on CUPE members to write their MPs and call on them to kill this legislation.”

“C-51 must be stopped,” Roberts said.



26 Fort McMurray airport workers lose jobs to privatization, temporary foreign workers

Twenty-six Fort McMurray airport custodial staff learned today that they are being fired, their jobs out-sourced to a company that recruits and hires temporary foreign workers.

“We’re in shock,” CUPE Local 1505 President Les Collins said. “Temporary foreign workers aren’t supposed to displace hard-working Canadians who want to keep their jobs.”

According to the Bill’s General Cleaning website, custodial staff will be paid only $14.50/hour, the equivalent of $30,160 per year before deductions. The Province of Alberta says the average cost of living in Fort McMurray is $65,000.

“Offering to pay workers considerably less than half of the cost of living is unconscionable,” Collins said. “This is simple exploitation.”

Bill’s General Cleaning has a sister company, which shares an office address and phone number, called Bill’s Recruiting. They specialize in recruiting and placement of temporary foreign workers (TFWs).

CUPE Alberta President Marle Roberts is calling on the federal Minister of Labour to demand an investigation into the use of TFWs in this case.

“We want to know why long-term employees are being put out of work, and TFWs being brought in,” Roberts said. “How does this support the Canadian economy?”

“Our workers went through intensive security screening in order to work at an airport,” Collins said. “Safety is a major concern. How can we be sure of the backgrounds of people who have been in Canada only a few days?”

CUPE members and supporters intend to picket the airport and to contact municipal, provincial, and federal politicians to reverse the privatization plan.

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Contact: David Loan

o) 780-791-3411

c) 613-301-7468

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CUPE Alberta Re-elects President Marle Roberts

Delegates to CUPE Alberta’s provincial convention today re-elected President Marle Roberts for her third successive term.

“I am honoured and humbled by the confidence our members have shown in me,” Roberts said. “We’ve fought together to save our public pensions and I’m glad to lead CUPE Alberta into the next round of negotiations with the province.”

Roberts was acclaimed to her position.

A former laboratory technician in a wastewater treatment plant in Medicine Hat, Roberts became active in CUPE in 1986. After 10 years of activism, she became president of CUPE Local 46 in 2000.

She was first elected President of CUPE Alberta in 2011 and again in 2013. Roberts was elected General Vice-President of CUPE’s National Executive Board in 2013.

“I am grateful to the delegates and our members across Alberta for their support,” Roberts said. “Together, we are stronger!”

Also elected or re-elected today:

Kim Storebo, General Vice President – South
Scott Cush, Recording Secretary
David Graham, Regional Vice President
Charles (Dustin) Withers, Young Workers Vice President

Alternate Area Vice Presidents:
Sonny Kalynchuk, Edmonton
Bob Anderson, Calgary
Kathy Larson , Northeast
Joan Keough, Red Deer
Michelle Lovin, Northwest
Esther Rodzinyak, Lethbridge
Morgan (Sam) Ferrier, Medicine Hat
Danielle Danis, Fort Murray
Mark Langlois, Three-year Trustee

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For more information, please contact:
David Loan, 613-301-7468
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