Front-line Government of Alberta workers are being unfairly scapegoated for years of bad financial decisions by Alberta’s politicians, says the president of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees.

“As we have been consistently saying over the past several weeks, the record needs to be set straight,” said Guy Smith. “Our members have already endured wage freezes for three of the last five years. They have already tightened their belts. To expect them to accept more freezes or even rollbacks when they have a legal contract in place is unfair and frankly, unprincipled. We expect the government to honour that contract.”

Smith added, “Scapegoating our members is also a red herring. While a wage rollback would be a major blow to their families, it would be insignificant in terms of reducing the deficit.”

The government anticipates a $7-billion drop in oil revenues. Front-line GOA employees’ contract says they will get a 2.25% wage increase in 2015. That increase will cost the government a total of $37.3 million, or 0.5% of the shortfall.

On the other hand, a five-per-cent wage rollback for the average government worker is a $2,800 drop in annual income. That’s 12 months of heating bills, a year’s property taxes, or a season of minor hockey.
AUPE represents 22,000 front-line government employees, including corrections workers, social workers, sheriffs, administrative support staff and conservation officers.

“Front-line staffing levels are already falling further and further behind Alberta’s population growth,” Smith said. “There is simply nowhere left to cut. Any staffing reductions will seriously impact the services that Albertans receive.”

AUPE has prepared a fact sheet to illustrate the situation. It can be downloaded at the bottom of this update. Please share it with your contacts and coworkers.