BREAKING: Court ruling finds Pallister’s wage freeze bill unconstitutional

Manitoba’s largest public sector union applauds Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench Justice McKelvey’s ruling that the Public Services Sustainability Act (PSSA) is unconstitutional.

CUPE and other unions through the Manitoba Federation of Labour’s Partnership to Defend Public Services brought Pallister’s government to court, and won.

“Brian Pallister has been pushing ideological cuts to public services, and attempted to do so by violating our constitutional right to bargain collective agreements,” said Abe Araya, President of CUPE Manitoba. “Pallister lost in court today, but the fight against his austerity agenda isn’t over”.

CUPE provided testimony during the proceedings.

Now that the PSSA has been proven unconstitutional in court, CUPE intends to move swiftly to get to the bargaining table with the intent to negotiate fair deals for the thousands of Manitoba workers, including in health care, education, crown corporations, child care, social services, and more who have been without a contract for over four years.

“Manitoba’s public sector workforce has been on the front-lines fighting COVID-19, and now we are asking Manitobans to support us as we get back to the negotiating table” says Araya.

“CUPE has very straight forward demands: we want a fair deal for workers. But Pallister has made it clear that he is willing to violate constitutional rights to push workers down and that’s something we, and the courts, won’t accept”.

CUPE Manitoba extends our deepest gratitude to the work of the Manitoba Federation of Labour President Kevin Rebeck, as well as the hard working staff at the MFL for the countless hours of work put into this fight.

We also extend our congratulations and thanks to all the other members of the PPDS which include unions from across the province for working together through challenging times.

See link for the decision summary provided by representatives of Myers LLP:

If you would like the full decision (download .pdf)

This was won by Manitoba’s labour movement, working together.

CUPE welcomes new members

CUPE welcomes new members in the WRHA, Shared Health, Southern Health, and the North

All health care workers are now members of their new union.

CUPE is pleased to welcome new and returning members to CUPE: in Southern Health-Santé Sud, the Northern Regional Health Authority, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and Shared Health.

CUPE now represents all Community and Facility Support workers in these health authorities.

We want to thank all unions involved in this process and are pleased to say all unions have been working together to ensure a smooth transition of new members.

The Commissioner responsible for implementing The Health Sector Bargaining Unit Review Act  has issued interim bargaining certificates, effective as of December 8th (rural RHAs) and December 13th (WRHA and Shared Health), certifying CUPE as your union. He will eventually issue permanent certificates, and the interim ones are valid until that time.

With 36,000 members in Manitoba and 700,000 across the country, CUPE is now the largest union in Manitoba and Canada. We want to live up to the trust you have placed in CUPE.

Please watch for local stewards and representatives in your workplace in the new year, for more health care news, and for information about the bargaining process.

CUPE is also working hard to get to the bargaining table.  We want to negotiate a new collective agreement for you.

What happens now?

CUPE now represents you if you are a Facility Support or Community Support worker employed in these health authorities:

– Northern Regional Health Authority
– Southern Health–Santé Sud
– Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (including Churchill)
– Shared Health

  • CUPE now represents you for any existing grievances or processes, even if they were filed by another union.
  • You will now pay dues to CUPE.
  • Your old contract remains your contract until bargaining concludes (even after you join CUPE).
  • Once a new CUPE agreement is bargained and ratified by the members, this new agreement will cover you.

How can I find out more about CUPE?

Visit:      , and

Facebook:       @CUPE SCFP, and @CUPE Manitoba

Note to new CUPE members:
CUPE’s structure may be different from other unions.

Here are the basics:

CUPE is a member-driven union, where members are involved directly in decision-making. We believe you know what’s best for your workplace. That’s why your CUPE local is so important.

Shop Stewards, site Vice-Presidents, and your Executive are elected by you, the members, and can be contacted to help with your day-to day needs.

Shop Stewards, along with Union Support Officers, and professional National Servicing Representatives are there to help you when you need union representation at work.

National Servicing Representatives and Specialists (like Legal, Research, Human Rights, Union Development, Safety and Health, Pensions, and Communications) are all available to your CUPE local to help take on arbitrations, human rights issues, and fights against privatization and contracting out.

CUPE National and CUPE Manitoba are also here to support you, and your unique workplace needs.

CUPE’s education department provides training to local Shop Stewards and activists to make sure you have representatives right in your workplace who are equipped with the knowledge and experience to seek information and speak up in meetings with management.

If you were an activist, Shop Steward, or Executive Member in your previous union, please don’t hesitate to contact us about getting involved with CUPE.

When can bargaining begin?

A bargaining unit certificate is the legal document that explains which union represents each group of workers. Now that we have bargaining unit certificates, we can start the bargaining process.

CUPE’s contracts are the best in health care! CUPE ensures that every member can make suggestions on how to improve their collective agreement.

To prepare for bargaining:

  • CUPE is working on Essential Services Agreements. These agreements tell us how many staff must work in each facility in the event of job action like a strike or lock out. By law, we cannot bargain until Essential Services Agreements are done.
  • Your CUPE bargaining committee will do a bargaining survey electronically and will also distribute paper copies to members who request this.
  • The bargaining committee will compile the results of the surveys and prepare the proposal package.

Then bargaining can begin, using the designated receiving agreement as a base.

What can I do?

  • Please make sure we have your most recent contact information, including cell phone number and personal email. We do not use work contact information to reach you for union business.
  • Do not hesitate to contact CUPE if you have any questions or concerns.

Contact your CUPE Local:

– WRHA & Shared Health: CUPE 204
– President Debbie Boissonneault at 204-775-2873,,, or Facebook @cupe204

– Southern Health-Santé Sud: CUPE 4270
– President Darrin Cook at

– Northern Regional Health Authority: CUPE 8600
– President Christine Lussier at

Shannon McAteer, CUPE Health Care Coordinator, may be reached at:

Phone:       204-942-0343

Indigenous Women’s Healing Centre staff ratify first Collective Agreement

Contract language includes paid days off for traditional Indigenous ceremony

Employees at the Indigenous Women’s Healing Centre in Winnipeg have ratified their first collective agreement with CUPE Local 2348.

“We are excited that this group now has the protection of a CUPE Collective Agreement” says Allen Bleich, CUPE National Servicing Representative.

“What’s more, this Collective Agreement has important contract language that recognizes traditional Indigenous ceremonies as a workplace right for staff”.

The new language, Article 21.13 Ceremonial Leave, allows “employees wishing to take part in traditional Indigenous ceremony(s) such as a Sundance or healing ceremony up to four (4) paid working days leave per calendar year, provided that such leave is authorized by the Employer in advance”.

The four days leave for Indigenous ceremony were a workplace policy prior to negotiating the new Collective Agreement, however moving the language from policy to being enshrined in the legal contract is an important step to ensuring these days cannot be taken away should management ever change.

“We are proud that our CUPE negotiating team bargained this important language into our contract,” says Joan Hay, Shop Steward for CUPE 2348 at the Indigenous Women’s Healing Centre.

“Reconciliation includes ensuring that our workplaces recognize Indigenous culture and tradition, and I am proud to be part of a member-driven union where we can prioritize and include Indigenous perspectives and traditions into our bargaining”.

The new contract also recognizes June 21, National Indigenous Peoples’ Day, and September 30, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Day as paid holidays for staff.

Including Indigenous traditions into Collective Agreements is not uncommon in CUPE, with language ranging from the inclusion of Indigenous Elders in the grievance and mediation process, to recognizing Indigenous bereavement practices.

The Indigenous Women’s Healing Centre works to support and strengthen Indigenous women and others on their journey of healing and recovery from family violence, addictions, intergenerational issues, and institutionalization.

CUPE represents approximately 40 staff who work as Case Managers, Counselors, Residential Support Workers, Maintenance, Practical Skills Workers, Healing plan Coordinators, Facilitators, Mentors, and Cultural Support Workers.

CUPE as an organization continues to learn, adapt, and grow in the journey towards true reconciliation. Contract language is one step, however we recognize that addressing the long-term impacts of colonization takes meaningful partnerships and continued action.

Abe Araya Elected as President of CUPE Manitoba

BRANDON – Delegates at the 2019 CUPE Manitoba Convention in Brandon elected Abe Araya as President of the province’s largest union. Abe Araya comes from CUPE Local 110, representing custodians, maintenance, and painters at the Winnipeg School Division.

“Our union is focused on fighting back against cuts to health care, education, social services, and privatization,” said Araya. “Despite Brian Pallister’s attempts to divide working people, we will be uniting workers from across Manitoba to put a stop to Pallister’s austerity agenda.”

Delegates at convention voted in support resolutions, ranging from health and safety in the workplace, anti-oppression training for activists, pushing back against privatization, fighting against health care and education cuts, and supporting the Green New Deal.

“CUPE is an incredibly diverse union,” said Araya. “With the strength of Manitoba’s largest union, we will be on the front line defending public health care and education, public Hydro, and fighting for properly funded childcare and social services for all Manitobans.”

CUPE’s annual convention featured guest speakers, including NDP leader Wab Kinew, NDP Critic for Infrastructure and Municipal Affairs Matt Wiebe, NDP Member of Parliament for Winnipeg Centre Leah Gazan, Winnipeg School Division Trustee Yijie Chen, and Manitoba Health Coalition Director Breanne Goertzen.

CUPE National President Mark Hancock and CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer Charles Fleury spoke to delegates, committing the full strength of CUPE’s 700,000 members to fight against cuts and privatization.

Manitoba Federation of Labour President Kevin Rebeck provided updates on labour’s united front against Bill 28 (The Public Services Sustainability Act) and committed to fight against the Pallister government’s unconstitutional wage freeze.

Two hundred people rallied outside Brandon City Hall with CUPE Local 69 on Wednesday evening, voicing concern over the contracting out of work at the Wheat City Golf Course.

Gord Delbridge, President of CUPE Local 500 served as interim CUPE Manitoba President throughout 2019. Delbridge continues to serve as Vice-President of CUPE Manitoba. Barb Gribben of CUPE Local 737 was this year’s recipient of the prestigious Jack Rodie Award, recognizing dedication and activism in the union.

“Our union is stronger, and more united than ever,” said Araya. “Manitobans can count on CUPE to defend good jobs, and fight for our public services.”

The Canadian Union of Public Employees is Canada’s largest union representing more than 700,000 members.  In Manitoba, CUPE represents over 36,000 members working in health care facilities, personal care homes, school divisions, municipal services, social services, childcare centres, public utilities, libraries and family emergency services.

Changes to Manitoba’s Public Services Sustainability Act continue to undermine fair collective bargaining – CUPE

On October 7th the Pallister government introduced Bill 2, an amendment to the current Public Services Sustainability Act, commonly known as the “wage freeze” Bill.

The government continues to limit wage increases through legislation, as well as other monetary items that would otherwise be negotiated through free collective bargaining.

“This legislation continues to interfere in free collective bargaining, by legislating wage limits, rather than allowing employers and workers to negotiate”, says Gord Delbridge, President of CUPE Manitoba, the province’s largest union and partner in the multi-union group currently challenging the government in court.

“Why is this government so afraid of getting to the bargaining table and negotiating a fair deal?”

Amendments to the act gives government more authority to make decisions behind the closed door of the Cabinet table, rather than through meaningfully at the bargaining table.

“Rather than coming to the table and participating in traditional negotiations, which have seen thousands of successful contracts bargained between employers and unions in Manitoba over numerous governments, the Pallister government continues to come up with new confusing schemes”, said Delbridge.

“This new act doesn’t make bargaining easier for anyone, and continues to be unfair and unconstitutional”.

Link to full amendment.


  • The Public Services Sustainability Act has not yet been enacted.
  • Amendments to the act include potentially shortening the “sustainability period”, but also create numerous limitations and barriers for that to happen.
  • The Act could also undermine current awards determined by arbitration, as well as provides authority to the Minister to interfere with tentative agreements between employers and unions.
  • The amendments to this act do not address union concerns about free and democratic collective bargaining.
  • Government says that this will make collective bargaining more flexible – but in reality, it provides further restrictions and attempts to control the outcome.

Care Representation Votes: What happens now?

Health Care Representation Votes:  What happens now?


Now that the health care representation votes have concluded, there will be a period of transition for all unions and employers. Here is what you need to know:

  • You keep your current union – for now. Contact your current union for any grievances, arbitrations, and issues in the workplace. You continue to pay dues to your current union.
  • Your current collective agreement continues to cover you until a new contract is bargained.
  • Your new union will represent you after the Commissioner certifies the winning union as your bargaining agent.

More Details

Read moreCare Representation Votes: What happens now?

CUPE welcomes newest members at St. Boniface Diocesan High School

Teaching and support staff at St. Boniface Diocesan High School in Winnipeg voted overwhelmingly to join CUPE, Canada’s largest union.

St. Boniface Diocesan High School staff join other CUPE members in Manitoba Catholic schools, including, employees at St. Emile School and Holy Cross School represented by CUPE Local 4434.

“We pleased to welcome the staff at St. Boniface Diocesan High School into CUPE,” said Gord Delbridge, CUPE Manitoba President.

“With 680,000 CUPE members across Canada, and 5,600 K-12 school sector workers in Manitoba, St. Boniface Diocesan High School staff now have access to the strongest representation in the country”.

The next step for the new CUPE members is to elect a local executive and bargaining committee, and begin bargaining their first contract.

“Joining CUPE is a big step towards achieving fairness in the workplace,” said Delbridge. “CUPE prides itself on negotiating the strongest contracts for our members, and we will commit to doing the same for staff at the St. Boniface Diocesan High School”.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees represents approximately 27,000 members working in school divisions, health care facilities, personal care homes, municipal services, social services, child care centres, universities, public utilities, libraries and family emergency services.

Pallister quick to give himself a raise on the back of front line workers.

This week the Pallister Conservatives created a double standard on public sector wages.

“They made the ridiculous decision to give themselves a massive retroactive raise while forcing a wage freeze on our members,” said Terry Egan, President of CUPE Manitoba. “While this Premier is making deals to give himself a massive raise, our members are doing more with less.

Fighting the Health Care Cuts

CUPE is fighting the health care cuts being imposed by this government.

“The government is making a mess of health care and people are paying the price,” said Egan. “All the while Conservative Cabinet Ministers are giving themselves a 5 figure payout.”


The law will retroactively pay cabinet ministers 20% of their salary if they balance the budget on schedule. For instance, for a 5-year cabinet minister, they would get one full year of salary.


Two-tier pension benefits the wrong direction for health care workers: CUPE

WINNIPEG – The Canadian Union of Public Employees is speaking out against changes to the Healthcare Employees’ Pension Plan (HEPP) announced on October 17, 2017.

“The changes to the plan announced today may force some health care workers to delay or change their retirement plans, and creates an unnecessary division between existing plan members and the future generation of health care workers,” says Shannon McAteer CUPE’s Health Care Coordinator.

“Two-tier pension plans are unfair to future members of the plan, and disproportionately affect newcomer or younger members of the workforce who are just starting their careers in health care in Manitoba.”

The Health Care Employee Benefit Plans (HEB Manitoba) which administers HEPP announced their decision to eliminate all supplementary and bridge benefits for new members after January 1, 2018, creating a two-tier plan with reduced benefits for new employees, among other changes to the plan.

“Health care staff work tirelessly every single day to support the health and well-being of the people of Manitoba,” said McAteer. “A strong workplace pension plan like HEPP is critical in recruiting and retaining health care workers in Manitoba, and with so much uncertainty in health care these days its unfortunate that health care workers now have one more thing to worry about”.

CUPE issued a letter to HEB Manitoba in response to these changes and is calling for a meeting with HEB Manitoba to open discussions on the governance structure of the plan and how these decisions are made to ensure better transparency for CUPE members who are members of the plan.

CUPE members are encouraged to contact HEPP for more information on the changes.

We also have an email petition for members to fill out to express their opposition to HEPP’s changes.

Unions file court injunction against Pallister’s wage freeze bill.

Today CUPE, through the Manitoba Federation of Labour’s Partnership to Defend Public Services filed a court injunction to the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench against Pallister’s Bill 28, the “Public Services Sustainability Act”.

Terry Egan (second, back row) with other labour leaders.

Bill 28 is also known widely as the public sector wage freeze bill.

“CUPE is taking concrete action against Bill 28,” says Lee McLeod, Regional Director of CUPE. “By filing an injunction we are sending a clear message that we believe the wage freeze legislation is unconstitutional, and must be stopped”.

Bill 28 was tabled on March 20, 2017 by the Pallister government, and passed in June.

Bill 28 has not yet been enacted into law, which means this injunction could prevent the Bill from actually taking effect. The court injunction process may take a number of months to complete.

“We will fight Pallister’s attacks on families in the courts of law, in the halls of power, and in the streets” says Terry Egan, President of CUPE Manitoba.

“This government will no longer be able to pass laws that hurt Manitoba families without a fight”.

For more information on the Partnership to defend Public Services’ efforts to fight Bill 28, visit the MFL’s page.