Member Update on Government’s Plans for Wage Freezes and Caps, Health Care Bargaining Units

Today, the Pallister government unveiled plans to make sweeping changes that affect CUPE members.


The Canadian Union of Public Employees Manitoba is disappointed to see the government introduce heavy-handed legislation that would bypass the bargaining table and impose four years of wage freezes and caps on public sector workers. All public sector workers, including in health care, education, and social services like child and family services, would be affected.  Public sector workers entering into new collective agreements would see no wage increase in years 1 and 2, with a .75% increase in year 3 and a 1% increase in year 4. Existing collective agreement are not affected.

These wage freezes and caps would put workers behind, as they fall below increases in the cost of living. They will apply to the thousands of public sector workers who previously showed their willingness to be part of the solution, by agreeing – at the bargaining table – to two years of frozen wages already.

We know that bargaining is the proven way to find solutions that work for both employers and workers. We’d much rather try to work things out together, by talking and compromising at the bargaining table.

CUPE and other public sector unions, along with the Manitoba Federation of Labour, are willing to come to the table and are prepared to work constructively with the government to find solutions that will protect public services, and strengthen Manitoba’s economy for all.

Balancing the budget should not come at the expense of the public services so many families count on or the people who provide them.

Despite repeatedly saying that “it’s all hands on deck,” Premier Pallister last year allowed himself and his entire cabinet a 20 per cent increase in pay over the previous government. Balancing the budget just doesn’t seem to include the Premier or his cabinet.


The government also announced a total restructuring of health care bargaining units across Manitoba. The proposed legislation would establish one bargaining unit in each category of health care work, per health region (RHAs), plus Cancer Care Manitoba and Diagnostic Services Manitoba. A commissioner would oversee the reduction of health care bargaining units from 182 to less than 50.

All health care unions in Manitoba are facing the same challenges, and we are committed to working together.

CUPE will be working with the Manitoba Federation of Labour and other unions to analyze the new legislation, and we will continue to update members on the impact these changes may have on members.

We wish we could say that this won’t be a prolonged struggle, but we all know that it will be. Through it all, you can count on CUPE and the Manitoba Federation of Labour to keep the government’s feet to the fire and keep fighting for you and your family.