About 60 people attended a rally for education, hosted by the Canadian Union of Public Employees, outside of Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange’s office in Red Deer on Friday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

About 60 people attended a rally for education, hosted by the Canadian Union of Public Employees, outside of Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange’s office in Red Deer on Friday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

Albertans rally for education in Red Deer

About 60 people attended the event on Friday

Albertans gathered in Red Deer to rally for education funding and fair treatment of support staff.

Canadian Union of Public Employees hosted a rally outside of Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange’s office Friday afternoon. The rally was organized by Joanne Lavkulich, president of CUPE Local 1825, which represents support staff Holy Spirit Catholic School Division in Lethbridge.

“I think there’s a general realization that funding for education has really dropped off and it’s really hitting the poorest of the poor,” said Lavkulich.

“We have people who make an average of $27,000 a year, which is pathetic. … It’s sad because we are so close to the poverty line and there’s no recognition of the work that the educational assistants, the librarians, the admin support do.”

It’s important to let the UCP government and the public know what’s going on, Lavkulich said, adding there’s “a lot of enthusiasm” for this cause because people are angry.

“I think the (turnout) we have today, and the (honking) from the drivers who are going past too, shows that there’s a recognition that what we are getting is not fair,” she said.

Katey Schmidt, an educational assistant, made the trip from Lethbridge to participate in Friday’s rally.

“I truly know and believe what we’re doing is making a difference. With all of our voices together, we can actually accomplish something,” she said.

The 29-year-old was forced to file for bankruptcy in the past, she said.

“I have to work two, three, sometimes four jobs. What I make isn’t enough,” said Schmidt.

“I’m also working with kids in my other job, so I get burnt out easily. I don’t always have the energy to bring each kid the things they need and deserve.”

Lavkulich said she gets sad and angry hearing stories like Katey’s.

“How can (the provincial government) feel that it’s OK to pay people so little? A number of years ago, an education assistant make twice the minimum wage. Now the minimum wage is $15 and we start our education assistants at $19.60. We have lost so much ground and so much buying power,” she said.

“I really feel for people in Katey’s position.”

CUPE represents tens of thousands of frontline workers across Alberta, including educational assistants.



sean.mcintosh@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Educational assistant Katey Schmidt speaks during a rally for education, hosted by the Canadian Union of Public Employees, outside of Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange’s office in Red Deer on Friday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

Educational assistant Katey Schmidt speaks during a rally for education, hosted by the Canadian Union of Public Employees, outside of Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange’s office in Red Deer on Friday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

About 60 people attended a rally for education, hosted by the Canadian Union of Public Employees, outside of Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange’s office in Red Deer on Friday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

About 60 people attended a rally for education, hosted by the Canadian Union of Public Employees, outside of Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange’s office in Red Deer on Friday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

Be Among The First To Know

Sign up for a free account today, and receive top headlines in your inbox Monday to Saturday.

Sign Up with google Sign Up with facebook

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Reset your password

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

A link has been emailed to you - check your inbox.



Don't have an account? Click here to sign up