Following a significant campaign by CUPE 500, the City of Winnipeg took one step closer to implementing a Living Wage Policy for city workers and contractors delivering city services.
CUPE Local 500 presented to Winnipeg’s Executive Policy Committee (EPC) on September 17th and October 8th, encouraging members of EPC to support a Living Wage Policy for Winnipeg’s staff and contractors hired by the city to deliver services.
Following a report from City Administration that highlighted other jurisdictions which already have Living Wage policies, EPC voted to prepare an implementation plan for a similar policy for Winnipeg.
“We are calling for a Living Wage Policy not only for our own members, but for the private contractors and subcontractors that do work for our city”, says Gord Delbridge, President of CUPE Local 500.
“We are also calling for a Living Wage Policy to help lift marginalized Winnipeg citizens, including young people, women, Indigenous, and racialized workers out of poverty while they are doing work for our community”.
Currently 13% of civic staff and contractors earn less than $15 per hour, many of whom are women, young, Indigenous, or racialized workers.
CUPE campaigned during the 2018 Winnipeg municipal election calling on election candidates to support a Living Wage Policy.
CUPE 500 commissioned a poll during the election which found 81% of Winnipeggers support a Living Wage Policy.
CUPE 500 has also been pushing to include non-unionized contractors and subcontractors in the Living Wage Policy, a move Delbridge hopes will lift all those working on projects for the City of Winnipeg out of poverty-level wages.
While the Motion passed 6-1 to conduct a cost review of implementing a Living Wage Policy for the City of Winnipeg, the cost of doing nothing means that some city staff and many private contractors working for the city will continue to be at risk of living in poverty.
“A Living Wage Policy for Winnipeg needs to happen now. We believe that nobody should work at poverty-level wages, and for these workers, every day matters.”