CUPE met with the Provincial Health Labour Relations Services (PHLRS) on October 27, November 3, 10, 17 and December 1, 2021. Negotiations are ongoing, and we are calling on the PHLRS to leave no healthcare worker behind.
Status of Bargaining
The Bargaining Council has agreed to some language proposals. Some of these include maternity/parental leave, emergency leave, emergency and disaster planning, whistle blower protection, union security, respectful workplace and non-discrimination/harassment, many definitions, grievance and arbitration rules and many more.
The Bargaining Council is having to fight for every proposal. It is not like any other bargaining that has come before. This is why bargaining seems to be taking so long – we are working article by article to make sure no health worker is left behind.
Discussions are ongoing regarding job security, vacation, hours of work, scheduling, overtime, and layoff/recall. Wage increases are still to be discussed as well as market adjustments.
Bill 28 – Public Services Sustainability Act (wage freeze 0, 0, 0.75 and 1%)
The government announced last week that they will be repealing or cancelling this legislation. CUPE and the other public sector unions had taken the government to court over this wage freeze legislation. The Unions won but the government appealed that decision. The appeal judge overturned the decision. Despite this, the government felt the pressure from unions, including CUPE, and is withdrawing the legislation altogether. We continue to work with the Manitoba Federation of Labour on legal routes to ensure governments cannot interfere with bargaining. This is an important victory for CUPE members. The Bargaining Council had no intention of accepting the mandated wage freeze but having this pressure removed means we can bargain a fair wage increase at the table.
We have bargaining dates scheduled to the end of January 2022.
Negotiations are continuing and we are making progress. We understand it is slow. Fighting to maintain the protections and rules in the collective agreement takes time. After the representation votes members from many different unions came to CUPE. Their collective agreements have different and unique language that we are trying to maintain such as language for hours of work, shift schedule rules, overtime, and shift premiums, just to name a few.
It is very important that we fight to maintain this collective agreement language, but that will unfortunately take a lot of time. There were over 123 collective agreements that are merging into one province-wide collective agreement.
While negotiations continue, we will not serve notice to strike. In August, healthcare support workers took a strike vote to show the employers that we are serious about leaving no healthcare worker behind. If negotiations break down, we will be ready to strike. We’re not quite at that point.
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