CUPE Local 2348 (Midwives) reject employer’s offer, move closer to strike

Winnipeg – Midwives represented by CUPE Local 2348 have voted to reject their employer’s most recent offer, following a ratification vote held on March 10 and 11.

“Midwives in Winnipeg are sending a clear message that more support is needed for their profession,” said Sheree Capar, CUPE National Representative. “We are falling further behind other jurisdictions in terms of compensation, and the most recent offer doesn’t do enough to catch up”.

At a meeting with a provincial conciliation officer held on March 9, the employer represented by the Provincial Labour Relations Secretariat offered a package that would not adequately address the growing gap between midwifery in Manitoba and other provinces.

“There are countless Manitoba families on the wait list for midwifery services – the demand is there” said Capar. “We need to both train and retain midwives, and ensuring a competitive compensation package is crucial to serving this demand from the public”.

Midwifery in Manitoba has been in the spotlight recently for the shortage of trained midwives in the province. The Provincial Government built a new Birth Centre in Winnipeg, and recently increased funding for midwifery training, but demand far outpaces the supply.

Studies across Canada and the world show that midwifery is an essential part of the health care system, providing professional maternal care to families in all segments of society.

“We have heard from midwives directly that they are choosing other provinces or other health care professions,” said Capar. “Manitoba cannot afford to lose any more midwives, and the WRHA needs to act now to hold on to those we have!”

Midwives in Manitoba fall under Essential Services Legislation, so in the event of a strike no expectant mother will be put at risk – deliveries will still occur throughout the strike and each woman’s care plan will be reviewed and referred as necessary.

“We know families support our members, and we hope that this can be resolved as quickly as possible,” said Capar.

CUPE Local 2348 hopes to meet again with the employer representatives, highlighting the new strike mandate, before setting a specific strike date, which could be set within weeks. A strike date has not been set.