On May 23rd, the Provincial Health Care Council (PHCC) Bargaining Committee met with employer representatives from the Regional Health Authorities and Terry Kindrat of the Labour Relations Secretariat. The Bargaining Committee was accompanied by CUPE Regional Director John Lepine, CUPE Researcher Elizabeth Blackwood, CUPE Health Care Coordinator and lead negotiator Nicole Campbell and CUPE National Representative Allen Bleich.
It is uncommon for the Regional Director to appear at the bargaining table; however this is an extraordinary round of bargaining. Therefore the Bargaining Committee felt that it was important for the employer to know that this round of bargaining has the attention of CUPE’s national officers. “As Canada’s largest national union and the major health care union in Manitoba, CUPE is well financed and is prepared to bring whatever resources we can to the table to ensure that we achieve real, tangible improvements for our members,” Lepine told the employer representatives.
Lead negotiator Nicole Campbell reiterated CUPE’s commitment to securing a good collective agreement for Manitoba’s health care workers that is supportive of the work CUPE members do. “Every day, CUPE members perform tasks that are integral components to providing quality care for our loved ones,” said Campbell. “Often this work is undervalued and far too often CUPE members are subjected to disrespect and violence at the workplace. We’ll be fighting for a contract that reflects respect and acknowledges the value of their work, regardless of what might become of the RHA amalgamations.”