WHITECOURT –Members of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) who work as support staff for students and teachers at Catholic schools in Edson, Slave Lake and Whitecourt will rally outside the Living Waters Division Office on Sept. 24 between 3:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Media, workers, students and other community members are invited to attend. The rally will start at 4204 Kepler Street. A community meeting in Edson will follow (details below).
“Some support staff at Living Waters schools are having to use the food bank. When the people who nurture our kids and help them grow can’t afford to feed themselves and their families, something’s got to give,” said AUPE vice-president Rod Feland.
Meanwhile, the Living Waters Board started 2016 with an operating surplus.
Since 2016, Living Waters support workers have tried to get a wage increase to cover the rising cost of living and to meet their needs. They’ve also pushed for defined hours of work and more stable schedules to aid students in their learning, but the employer is unwilling to give them either.
“Class sizes are growing. At the same time, the Board is cutting workers’ hours. This means fewer resources for more kids,” adds Feland.
“Many of our members don’t know how to plan their week because their schedules are so unstable, and it’s affecting students. Kids need a solid routine, but under the direction of the Living Waters Board, they’re not getting that.”
AUPE represents educational assistants, typists, custodians, library clerks, secretaries, maintenance and financial assistants at the six Living Waters schools. They are the faces kids see in the classrooms and hallway daily.
“Our members know first hand how to support kids with a variety of learning abilities and backgrounds. They know how to keep their facilities clean and running. And above all, they know schools should put kids first. The Board does not,” said Feland.
Other public events happening over the next three days in support of students and the Living Waters support staff include:
Slave Lake community meeting: Sept. 22, 3 p.m. – 5 p.m., Holiday Inn, 1551 Main St SE.
Whitecourt community meeting: Sept. 23, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m., Forest Interpretative Centre, 3002 33 St.
Edson community meeting: Sept. 24, 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m., Nova Inn, 5625 2 Ave.
For more information:
Celia Shea, Communications Officer: 780-720-8122