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Teachers respond to ‘shameful’ government actions

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On the government’s decision to transfer all of the funds in the Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund (ATRF) to AIMCo, a Crown corporation of the Province of Alberta

Patricia Paterson
A government attempt to control the $18 billion at stake. Shameful. We must protest.

Merry Dechamplain
And we are surprised? What did we expect? There is no way that I want the government to determine the direction of my pension fund!!!!

Gale White
Time to stand up, teachers. We tell the kids to stand up and speak up. Not acceptable. This is your future and time to defend what you earned, invested and deserve.

Paul Jespersen
We need to fight this with everything we have. This is a hill to die on.

Randy Will Jackson
Unless we have the unfunded liability added to our fund and an insurance guarantee of the principal underwritten by the province, the union needs to take this to court! This is the Conservatives trying to break the union again!

On the provincial budget

Raylene Michelle
It’s not just the teacher who suffers from these cuts, it’s the students. The students who can’t read, the students who can’t focus because of the constant distractions of students with behavioural issues, and the students who need help from the teacher but feel like they can’t access it because the teacher is spending most of the time in class helping those who are the lowest and can’t read on their own.

When teachers complain they aren’t complaining to complain...they are advocating for the education of every single student in their classes!

On the government’s announcement calling for two per cent salary rollbacks in the public sector

‘I am frustrated’

When I was in Grade 3, the teachers of Alberta voted to strike. I can still remember leaving the classroom, hugging my Grade 3 teacher, and telling her that I still loved her. Although I couldn’t have understood then what I understand now, I knew inherently that a teacher’s love for their job and students is tied to their commitment to protecting the profession and its integrity.

Here’s the real truth. After all is said and done, I make $4,033.22 a month, paid on the last teaching Thursday of each month. A two-to-five per cent rollback in wages would have me making a maximum of $3952.56 a month. I made more than that when I was 20 doing data entry for a construction company. Before I had six years of university education. Before I spent 10–12 hours a day in a classroom planning, grading, developing, supporting and building.

The government is seeking to undermine our ability to bargain in good faith, to have access to a fair wage that, despite what you might be led to believe, is only heightened over that of other provinces because of our increased cost of living, and to strike effectively by introducing unfair legislation.

This isn’t fear mongering. This is what is happening to Alberta’s teachers and nurses right now.

I am frustrated. Teachers have done their share before me, and now I enter the profession ready to advocate so that we can continue to do so under fair working conditions that do not include taking a wage rollback. Teachers have taken rollbacks, a five per cent cut in the Klein era, and many years of no increases, effectively meaning a decrease due to inflation.

Our salaries did not balloon when oil was over $100 a barrel, we did not make out like bandits then, and we will not make out like bandits now. We’re just public employees, doing our best to take the 25-plus kids who enter our classrooms with different needs, learning styles, hobbies, challenges and home lives and turn them out better than we received them.

In making a decision to teach, I did not realize I would have to advocate for myself and my colleagues so fiercely. I appreciate my community’s support in these matters, especially for those who are overwhelmed by politics but try anyway.

Chelsi Ryan
A stressed out first-year teacher who cares a whole lot about her students and her colleagues.

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