CUPE Manitoba applauds Ontario education workers’ win against Ford government’s attack on rights

CUPE Manitoba is sending the support of its 37,000 members to education workers in Ontario, who are returning to the bargaining table after the Conservative government stripped away their right to free collective bargaining, forcing them to walk off the job and hold political protests.

In a vote held last month, the 55,000 Ontario education workers voted 96.5% in favour of a strike mandate, and served strike notice. In response, the Conservative government of Doug Ford passed legislation to prevent a strike, making job action illegal and imposing a contract on workers. CUPE members in Ontario rejected this legislation, withdrew their services, and after two days of protests forced the government to withdraw its legislation.

“Through its use of the Notwithstanding Clause, the Conservative government of Ontario attempted to destroy the legal right of workers to strike and collectively bargain,” said Gina McKay, President of CUPE Manitoba.

“This was a historic attack on the democratic rights of Canadian citizens and must be opposed by Premiers from coast to coast to coast so it is never used again”.

The Ford government’s legislation invoked the Notwithstanding Clause of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a seldom-used provision designed for situations of competing rights or national emergencies, to pre-emptively deny workers their fundamental rights.

“This was a radical attempt at union-busting that strikes at the core of our democracy, and CUPE members said enough is enough, and won” said McKay.

“CUPE Manitoba condemns the actions of the Ford Conservatives and we call on Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson to commit that she will never interfere with collective bargaining”.

CUPE Manitoba will continue to provide support to CUPE Ontario members as they return to the negotiating table.

 

CUPE Manitoba: Solidarity with Ontario Education Workers

Today, the Ford Conservative government of Ontario took an unprecedented step in forcing back to work legislation on education workers, violating workers’ constitutional rights to bargain fairly, and keeping many workers in poverty, instead of continuing with negotiations.

As workers and allies in Ontario go out on political protest tomorrow, CUPE Manitoba invites you to participate in online solidarity and action:

Hashtags: #IStandWithCUPE #MbPoli #OnPoli #DontBeABully

Health Care Update re: Retro Pay (former employees)

Former employees are entitled to receive any applicable retroactive pay provided they request the retroactive pay from their former Employer in writing no later than ninety (90) days after the ratification date, September 23, 2022.

As part of the written request submitted the employee MUST include the following:

  • Email Subject line must state “Retro Request for (employee name) terminated employee(CUPE)”
  • Date of retirement/resignation
  • Name of the Employer that the employee is requesting retro payment from
  • Employee’s current mailing address
  • Direct deposit information, if it has changed since you were last employed

Employer Organization Contact

Northern
All sites – email Payroll – payroll@nrha.ca

Southern Health
All sites – email Payroll at Payrollsupport@southernhealth.ca

Shared Health
All sites on SAP – email RetroRequest@wrha.mb.ca

CancerCare Manitoba – email ccmbpayroll@cancercare.mb.ca

Rehabilitation Centre for Children – email kizzyp@rccinc.ca

Eden Mental Health Centre – email jfehr3@edenhealth.mb.ca

Winnipeg/Churchill     
All sites on SAP – email RetroRequest@wrha.mb.ca

CUPE Health Care Support Staff Ratify Seven-Year Deal

Update for CUPE health care support members

CUPE Health Care Support Staff from CUPE 204/Shared Health and Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA), CUPE 500/WRHA – Riverview Health Centre and WRHA Corporate, CUPE 4270/ Southern Health-Santé Sud (SH-SS) and CUPE 8600/Northern Regional Health Authority (NRHA) have voted to accept the new collective agreement.

The ratification date is September 23, 2022.  The collective agreement will expire on March 31, 2024.

The new agreement includes wage increases in each year of the agreement including retroactive pay, a signing bonus for all members, an increase in shift premiums, improvements for the Community Programs/Home Care groups, a more flexible “single-day” vacation system for all members, double overtime and market adjustments.

“This was an incredibly difficult round of negotiations due to government interference, attempted wage freeze, disruptive restructuring, forced union amalgamations, and the pandemic” said Shannon McAteer, CUPE Health Care Coordinator.  “Despite these challenges, this new agreement sets a solid foundation for the next round of negotiations.”

The employer has 120 days within which to issue retroactive pay and the signing bonus. It will be issued on a separate pay deposit.  Former employees (retired or quit) have 90 days to write to the employer requesting retroactive pay they are owed following the rules posted on the Local’s website.

“We thank all CUPE members who took the time to vote either electronically or in person and are committed to continue to improve your contract,” said McAteer. “We will continue to hold the provincial government accountable and push back against any attacks on our public health care system and the workers who support it”.

Throughout negotiations, health care support staff have felt extremely disrespected by the current government–and continue to feel undervalued. Many members told us they voted not because they liked the deal, but because they couldn’t wait any longer.

In solidarity,
Your Bargaining Council

 

CUPE reaches tentative agreement for Manitoba health care support workers

Late last night (Monday, August 29, 2022) the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) health care bargaining team and the Provincial Health Labour Relations Services (PHLRS) reached a tentative agreement after twenty-one months of bargaining, for 18,000 health care support workers in Manitoba.

The CUPE bargaining team includes representatives from CUPE 204 (Shared Health, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority), CUPE 4270 (Southern Health-Santé Sud), CUPE 8600 (Northern Regional Health Authority), and CUPE 500 (Riverview Health Centre/WRHA).

A tentative agreement is when both parties agree that the proposed contract can be presented to workers for a vote on whether to accept or reject the new agreement.

The CUPE bargaining team will be recommending acceptance of the new agreement.

Please take time to review the highlight document.  A full ratification document will be available prior to the ratification.

Ratification (voting) will occur in the coming weeks.  Details on when these votes will take place will be shared in the next few days.  There will be many information sessions for CUPE members to ask questions about the tentative agreement, held in-person as well as virtually.

Members are encouraged to ensure their personal contact information is up to date.  We want to make sure all CUPE members have the opportunity to ask questions at the info sessions before the voting takes place.

We thank the CUPE health care bargaining team for their steadfast dedication to members through an incredibly difficult round of negotiations, including throughout the pandemic.

We also thank all CUPE members for their patience, support, and encouragement over the past five years, and for giving CUPE the strike mandate needed to keep the pressure on government.

Your support has helped push the government towards a deal that is acceptable, and which lays a stronger foundation for the next round of bargaining.

Tentative agreement highlights document (pdf)

Health Care Bargaining Update, August 5, 2022

CUPE continues to negotiate your collective agreement with the goal of leaving no health care worker behind.

Your negotiating team continues to meet with the mediator, Arne Peltz, including on July 28th and 29th as well as August 3rd and 4th in the evenings.  Mediation will continue August 10th, 29th and 30th.  We will most likely get additional dates between August 10th and the 29th.

On August 3rd, CUPE tabled all our remaining proposals.  The Employer is working on a comprehensive response for next week.  We are seeing some movement at the bargaining table on our issues, so we are working hard to continue fighting for improvements to the collective agreement.

We have made great progress on more monetary proposals such as shift premiums, shoe allowance, and uniforms, as well as numerous letters of understanding.

Outstanding issues are vacation, training and education, how STAT days will be taken, sick time for pick-up shifts, and letters of understanding around hours of work.  There are a few monetary items still outstanding as well, such as northern isolation/retention allowance, benefits/pensions for community groups, responsibility pay, and wages.  The remaining language proposals are important and will affect your day-to-day job, so we are fighting for these improvements.

CUPE has also requested market adjustments for several classifications.  A market adjustment is adjusting the salary scale to match other similar jobs in the province.  Most often the need for an adjustment comes from not being able to hire and retain employees.  CUPE and the MGEU are discussing forming a multi-union table to discuss the market adjustments with the Employer.

MGEU has reached a tentative agreement in Prairie Mountain and the Interlake regions.  The reason they reached an agreement before our table is because they simply did not have as many collective agreements to merge.  With so many groups in CUPE we want to make sure none of them are left behind. That is why our table is taking longer.  The Bargaining Council is fighting very hard to get a good collective agreement that addresses all members concerns including the general wage increase.

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.

Health Care Bargaining Update, June 1, 2022

CUPE met with the mediator, Mr. Arne Peltz, on May 24th, 25th, 26th, and 27th.  An additional day for mediation was added on June 1st.  Mediation will continue June 20 – 23, 2022.

CUPE continued to meet with the Provincial Health Labour Relations Services (PHLRS) to finalize negotiation of the Letters of Understanding and any changes to the pension and benefits articles on May 4th, 11th, and 18th.  These discussions include home care/community programs being “brought up” to the same level as the rest of the health care support sector.  The next regular bargaining dates are June 8th and 15th.

The first week of mediation was successful.  We were able to agree to more contract language provisions and some monetary items including some language on overtime and pick-up shifts/additional hours, overtime banks, standby/callback language, sick time (income protection), mileage/transportation allowance and salary increments for casual employees.

The first few days of mediation were spent explaining our positions and proposals to the mediator. CUPE highlighted our priorities that were left on the table which included overtime, pick-up shifts, vacation, pensions and benefits for everyone, seniority, job security and improvements for home care workers as noted above.  The Bargaining Council spent long days working very hard to resolve the language and monetary proposals we tabled.

The mediation process can be slow.  It takes longer for each side to explain their position to the mediator.  The mediator then goes back and forth sharing his thoughts and the other side’s issues.  CUPE and the PHLRS do not communicate directly with each other during the mediation process, but rather through Mr. Peltz.

The outstanding language is about vacation (single days vs. blocks), union representation at meetings, how STAT days will be taken, seniority for job vacancies, sick time on pick-up shifts, training and education funding, uniforms/safety shoes, bumping, benefits and monetary matters including shift premiums.

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.

CUPE Manitoba speaks against government interference in collective bargaining

CUPE Manitoba President Gina McKay presented to the Standing Committee on Justice hearing on Bill 2:  The Public Services Sustainability Repeal Act.

The Manitoba government’s introduction of Bill 28:  The Public Services Sustainability Act in 2017, threw labour relations into chaos, and was cited as “unconstitutional” by the court of Queen’s Bench after CUPE and other unions challenged it in court through the Manitoba Federation of Labour.

Although the government brought the court’s decision to the Court of Appeal in October 2021, they decided to repeal Bill 28 altogether by passing Bill 2, following tremendous pressure from unions and workers.

“Thousands of Manitoba workers were punished for years, starting before the pandemic, because of this government’s interference in free collective bargaining,” McKay told the Committee. “Worse yet these workers have gone years without fair wage increases, including throughout the pandemic, working under the shadow of The Public Services Sustainability Act which continues to impact Manitoba workers’ lives,” she said.

If a union took the legislated 0%, 0%, 0.75%, 1% in 2018, it would have been the equivalent of a 5% wage rollback over that period.

Many employers in Manitoba continue to offer 0% wage increases due to the legacy of The Public Services Sustainability Act (PSSA).

“Some employers refuse to tell us where the mandate is coming from, citing some ominous spectre that is directing them to continue offering zeroes,” said McKay to the Committee. “While the PSSA is set to be repealed, the damage it has done continues to affect negotiations.”

One example highlighted by McKay was that many school divisions claimed they were offering zeroes because of the mandate. CUPE fought back at the bargaining table in dozens of school divisions and did not accept zeroes at all – CUPE pushed these school divisions to understand that the zeroes were not legislated, and that school support staff deserved better.

CUPE members also had to take strike mandates in order to break this government’s “ghost mandate,” disrupting their work, their lives, and impacting the love for the work they do. Some of CUPE’s K-12 school sector members even went on strike.

“The past few years have shown the real, human impact of a government that interferes with free collective bargaining,” said McKay to the Committee. “Low wages and sub-inflationary wage increases also disproportionately impact women, gender diverse workers, Indigenous workers, and workers of colour who make up a large part of our membership.”

CUPE noted that in addition to repealing The Public Services Sustainability Act, the government should also withdraw its opposition to the Partnership to Defend Public Service’s application to have the Supreme Court consider the constitutionality of the wage freeze legislation.

“We urge this government to make clear to every public sector employer, across all types of work – including health care, school divisions, crown corporations, social services and more, that the provincial government will not interfere with free collective bargaining,” McKay said in her closing remarks.

This year, with inflation near 6%, Manitobans need a government that will come to the table and correct this past injustice against workers to make them whole for the losses they experienced over this period.

“We believe The Public Services Sustainability Act should never have been introduced. We know the impact of this legislation continues today. It must be withdrawn, and this government must be held accountable for the damage it has done to working Manitobans.”

Bill 2 will now proceed to the third reading at the Manitoba Legislature. Once it receives royal assent, it will be passed as law and will repeal the former Bill 28 for good.