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AUPE - Government Employees and Wages

AUPE - Government Employees and Wages

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Published by emily_mertz695
The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees publishes a document looking at Government Services Employees vs. Alberta Average Weekly Earnings.
The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees publishes a document looking at Government Services Employees vs. Alberta Average Weekly Earnings.

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Published by: emily_mertz695 on Mar 04, 2013
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03/04/2013

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ALBERTA’S SHRINKING

CIVIL SERVICE
What those groups fail to mention is that all Alberta wages have been growing rapidly. In fact, when seven years of wage settlements negotiated for direct employees of the government of Alberta are compared with increases in Alberta Average Weekly Earnings, there is a gap of approximately 20% (fig. 1). The Canadian Taxpayers Federation recently claimed that if you were a government employee in 2007 “the recession didn’t happen” because no jobs were lost. That’s blatantly false. The recession began in the last quarter of 2008, and by March 2011 there were 1,646 fewer people working for the government – a 7.4% cut (fig. 3). Furthermore, understanding that the recession would have an impact not only on government finances, but temporarily moderate wage growth across all occupations, AUPE members agreed to a wage freeze in 2010 and 2011 (fig. 2). Far right lobby groups want government employees to accept wage freezes again, effectively replaying the recession for civil servants while the rest of the province experiences nation-leading growth. So is Alberta’s civil service too big? Far from it. In fact, since the drastic cuts imposed in the 1990s, the number of frontline government employees represented by AUPE has never recovered. Since 2002, growth in the public service has steadily declined against population growth, and in recent years the gap between employees and the population growth has widened considerably (fig. 4).

A steady chorus of right-wing lobby groups has been trying to alarm Albertans with claims that government employee wages are growing at an out-of-control rate. Their implicit message is that Alberta’s deficit has been caused by unreasonable government employee wage increases. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Fig. 1

COMPOUND WAGE INCREASES
150% 145% 140% 135% 130% 125% 120% 115% 110% 105% 100%

(2004 = 100%) GOVERNMENT SERVICES EMPLOYEES VS. ALBERTA AVERAGE WEEKLY EARNINGS

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Fig. 2

NOMINAL WAGE INCREASES
6%

GOVERNMENT SERVICES EMPLOYEES VS. ALBERTA AVERAGE WEEKLY EARNINGS

5%

4%

3%

2%

1%

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Fig. 3

ALBERTA POPULATION GROWTH INCREASES DEMAND FOR GOVERNMENT SERVICES
25,000 4,500,000

4,000,000 25,000 3,500,000

20,000

3,000,000

2,500,000 15,000 2,000,000

10,000

1,500,000

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009

2010

2011

2012

GOA GOVERNMENT SERVICES EMPLOYEES/AUPE MEMBERS (LEFT HAND SCALE) ALBERTA POPULATION GROWTH (RIGHT HAND SCALE)
Fig. 4

AUPE believes a strong public sector is a necessary complement to a healthy growing economy. As Finance Minister Doug Horner has put it, when people move to Alberta, they don’t bring government services with them. Unfortunately, far from outstripping population increases over the past decade, the number of employees available to provide government services has declined against that growth.

ALBERTA POPULATION GROWING FASTER THAN GOVERNMENT

182

176 175

167 167 164 163 161 167 164 163

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

ALBERTANS PER FRONTLINE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE

TREND

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