Over the past several months, CUPE has done a fairly decent job of spreading the word that their average member earns just $39,000 per year. That’s not a lot of money but it’s only part of the story, one that includes part-time workers dragging down the average compared to others making a decent living.
A head custodian with the Toronto District School Board can earn more than $34 per hour while a stock clerk at the warehouse earns more than $25 per hour, according to the contract. In Ottawa’s Catholic board, CUPE members working jobs like finance clerk can earn $62,000 per year while an educational assistant earns $43,000 for 10 months of work.
That’s part of the story that CUPE isn’t telling in their PR war with the government, many of these jobs are 10 months at best. In fact, the contract with the Ottawa Catholic School Board specifically says that some jobs are 194 days of work and just six hours of work per day.
It’s these workers, the ones working part of a day for part of the year that CUPE is using to try and get a huge pay raise for everyone and it’s a non-starter. We know that the government offered to boost their offer, we haven’t heard from CUPE that they are willing to come down from an 11.7% annual increase.
If that kind of wage increase went through, it wouldn’t just be the lowest paid workers getting the boost — the custodian in Toronto would be earning $53 per hour at the end of the contract while the finance clerk in Ottawa would be earning $96,000 per year.
Would teachers, who currently earn an average of $93,000, accept making the less than the custodian or finance clerk? Giving teachers a 55% increase over four years would see the average teacher earning more than $144,000 in four years.