Halifax education support workers are on strike this week after voting to reject a tentative agreement. Workers are striking for better wages.
The striking workers, members of CUPE 5047, include education program assistants, early childhood educators, support workers for Mi’kmaq and Indigenous students and African Nova Scotian students, library specialists, and other support workers.
Workers need better wages
These are some of the lowest paid workers in the public sector, with the majority making less than $30,000. The housing crisis in Halifax, paired with massive increases in the cost-of-living, have left education workers scrambling to make ends meet. Many education workers have shared how they are working multiple jobs to afford to pay rent and buy groceries.
The offer on the table from the Houston government is 6.5 percent over three years, which does not even keep up with the inflationary increases workers have faced recently. The union went back to the table with the government this week, trying to secure a better deal, but the Houston Conservatives say they are not willing to move on wages.
“It’s clear that the government is not prepared to give our members the respect they deserve, and at this point, we have no choice but to withdraw our services,” said CUPE 5047 president Chris Melanson in a news release.
Education support workers are essential to schools. Many families with children with disabilities are expressing support for education workers because they see the impact that education workers have in their child’s life every day. These families know first hand that education workers are undervalued and underpaid.
Supporting the fight against the cost of living crisis
We are seeing more and more workers striking back against the cost of living crisis and demanding better wages and working conditions through strike action.
A win for education workers sends a strong and important message to employers that workers are not going to stand by as our wages are clawed back by greedy landlords and profiteering corporations.
How to support striking education workers:
- Visit a local picket line.
- Post about your support online – use this poster to take a selfie and show your support.
- Organize with your neighbours to put up posters near your local schools showing support.
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