Wave of school layoffs prompts coalition to launch new province-wide campaign: Join Together Alberta calls on government to fix Alberta’s broken revenue system

EDMONTON – In the wake of reports warning that up to 1,200 Alberta teachers may be laid off in the next few months, a province-wide campaign is being launched to force the Conservative government to fix the real problems facing the province.

"We live in one of the wealthiest jurisdictions in the world and yet our education system is clearly in crisis," says Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, which represents 140,000 workers. "This situation is entirely unnecessary and has been created by Alberta's broken revenue system. We need to fix our revenue system to save our schools."

Sharon Armstrong, vice-president of the Alberta Teachers' Association (ATA), says: "In September, Alberta's school boards will be $100 million dollars short of the money they will need to maintain the quality of education that we enjoy today. Up to 1,200 teachers across the province will be looking for work this summer elsewhere, because their job in Alberta has disappeared. We appreciate the government's recent announcement of new schools, but the schools are useless unless we have the staff inside them to inspire our students."

The Join Together Alberta coalition - an alliance of community groups, social-services agencies and unions, including the AFL - has been reformed to put pressure on the government to fix the revenue problem so Albertans get the vital public services they demand and deserve.

"The real issue is that Alberta has been crippled by a decade of ill-conceived tax and royalty cuts. Alberta has an abundance of natural resources. There is no reason it can't afford stable funding," says McGowan.

The coalition will launch Phase 2 of its campaign in Edmonton tomorrow (Thursday) to demand the Alberta government fix its broken system for revenue generation. McGowan and  Armstrong will be joined by people representing various sectors and unions fighting cuts who will be available to speak to media.

TIME: 10:30 a.m., Thursday, May 26

LOCATION: River Valley Room, Crowne Plaza Chateau Lacombe, 10111 Bellamy Hill, Edmonton

CONTACTS: Gil McGowan, president, Alberta Federation of Labour, 780-218-9888

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