Manitoba Hydro workers raise red flags on Hydro privatization after letter issued by CEO

WINNIPEG – A letter posted this morning on Manitoba Hydro’s digital staff bulletin board by Hydro President and CEO Jay Grewal has raised red flags for Hydro employees.

The letter announces Manitoba Hydro’s engagement with consultant PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to conduct a new review of Hydro’s operating model.

The first phase of the review will be rushed over an eight week period, and includes examining Hydro’s “structure, processes, governance, metrics, and culture”.

“This new review is incredibly concerning,” says Michelle Bergen, President of CUPE Local 998, representing 950 Hydro employees.

“Pallister is hiring yet another private consultant, and this time they are looking at Hydro’s public operating model and governance, which will certainly look at privatization”.

Pallister appointed Jay Grewal as CEO of Manitoba Hydro in February. Grewal has a track record of privatizing parts of B.C. Hydro.

“All the ducks are lining up in a row for Hydro privatization,” says Mike Velie, Assistant Business Manager for IBEW 2034, representing 2,600 Hydro employees. “This surprise review will undoubtedly result in recommendations to break up and privatize parts of Manitoba Hydro”.

The letter also notes that the review will not be looking at staff reductions, since Pallister already mandated major cuts to staffing. However the letter has no indication that the review will not recommend privatization or contracting out of Hydro work.

“We need Pallister to answer one simple question: will his government privatize all or parts of Manitoba Hydro?”, said Bergen. “We have not heard him give a clear answer to this critical question”.

Earlier this week a Probe Research survey, sponsored by the Winnipeg Free Press and CTV Winnipeg, showed that Manitobans are strongly opposed to Hydro Privatization.

“The public has the right to know Pallister’s plan for Hydro,” concludes Velie.

Care Representation Votes: What happens now?

Health Care Representation Votes:  What happens now?

FOR ALL HEALTH CARE WORKERS

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 more…

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.

Dates set for health care union representation votes, August 8 to August 22, 2019

Dates set for health care union representation votes, August 8 to August 22, 2019
CUPE to Pallister: health care workers deserve a break

Today the Commissioner responsible for the implementation of the Health Sector Bargaining Unit Review Act (HSBURA) announced the dates of union representation votes, a move by this government that CUPE continues to claim is an unnecessary disruption to health care.

“The Pallister government is throwing another wrench into an already strained health care system,” said Shannon McAteer, CUPE Health Care Coordinator. “Health care workers across Manitoba deserve a break, yet this government continues to pile on uncertainty, stress and chaos.”

HSBURA was enacted in 2018, and forces health care workers to choose which union will represent them into the next round of contract negotiations. Bargaining has been stalled in Manitoba until the results of these representation votes.

“CUPE is Canada’s largest health care union and we will stay focused on fighting Pallister’s health care cuts and defending our members in the workplace,” said McAteer. “We also want to focus on the future, and that future is bargaining a strong contract for our health care members and getting them the respect they deserve”.

The union that gets the most votes in each of the 18 health care votes taking place across the province will be certified to represent those workers. The winning union in each bargaining unit will then bring its largest collective agreement into the next round of bargaining. If CUPE wins the votes, CUPE will be bringing the strongest health care contracts in the province to the table.

“CUPE’s health care contracts are the strongest in Manitoba, with good pensions and benefits for all of our hard working health care members” said McAteer. “CUPE has a no-concessions bargaining policy and a $100 million strike fund, so we are ready to bargain strong in health care.”

DETAILS:

Voting dates will take place between August 8 and August 22, 2019.

Notice Period: June 13 – July 10
– Voters lists will continue to be reviewed.
– A letter to all affected employees with information about the votes will be delivered between July 9 and July 19.

Campaign Period:
July 11 – August 7
– This includes an opportunity to meet with CUPE in kiosks at various sites.
– Voters will be provided with a Personal Identification Number (PIN).
– A voter help desk will be available.

Voting Period:
August 8 – August 22
– Voting will begin at 12:00 noon on August 8, and end 12:00 noon on August 22nd
– Voting will be available 24 hours a day online or by touchtone phone, in English and French.
– Once voting concludes, the results will be tabulated and released.

CUPE is committed to following the campaign rules established by the Commissioner, and we will continue to provide information to all health care workers about the impact the Health Sector Bargaining Unit Review Act will have in the workplace.

CUPE wants all members to know that while these votes are taking place, CUPE will continue to prioritize fighting for you in the workplace. We know health care workers are going through a difficult time, and we’re committed to being with you, for you at work.

CUPE is ready to fight for all health care workers.

CUPE represents 680,000 members across Canada, including 162,000 health care workers, and approximately 11,600 health care workers here in Manitoba.

Learn more about CUPE and the representation votes at: http://cupehealthcare.ca

 

Urgent Care at Concordia response to community mobilizing: now it’s time to end the chaos in health care

It’s time to end the chaos in health care says CUPE Local 204 President Debbie Boissonneault, in response to the government’s announcement that the Concordia Hospital Emergency Room will be converted to an Urgent Care Centre within the next five weeks. CUPE Local 204 represents 7,000 health care workers across Winnipeg.

“CUPE members and the community fought to stop the closure of the Concordia ER,” said Boissonneault. “It’s because of this pressure that the hospital will now have an Urgent Care Centre instead of the government’s plan for nothing. We deserve to know the government’s long-term plan for properly-resourced public health care. It is crucial that the government confirms that this decision to make Concordia into an Urgent Care Centre will last past the next election.”

“This government is playing political games with our health care system, and health care workers are at a tipping point,” said Boissonneault. “Staff have been doing everything possible to care for patients during the rushed and disruptive implementation of the government’s plans, but worker fatigue and morale have become a real concern”.

Since the Pallister government announced its restructuring plans, including the closure of Emergency Rooms at the Concordia Hospital, Seven Oaks Hospital and the Victoria Hospital in 2017, the WRHA has been implementing system-wide staff restructuring to accommodate the changes.

Added Boissonneault: “CUPE is calling on the government to fully reverse its decision to close the Concordia and Seven Oaks Emergency Rooms. It’s time to end the chaos in health care.”

CUPE 204 President Debbie Boissonneault confronted Minister Friesen and demanded a meeting to discuss CUPE’s ongoing concerns with the cavalier changes to the health care system.

CUPE 204’s Letter to Minister Friesen re: health care changes

CUPE Local 204 represents approximately 7,000 health care workers across Winnipeg, including support staff at Concordia Hospital, Seven Oaks Hospital, Grace Hospital, and HSC.

Pallister government’s Bill 29 will disrupt health care, CUPE

CUPE proposes solutions to make health care bargaining more efficient

WINNIPEG – The Pallister government has proclaimed Bill 29, The Health Sector Bargaining Unit Review Act, an unnecessary step that will further disrupt the health care system following a year of upheaval, says CUPE, which represents 11,500 health care workers in Manitoba.

Over the past year, the government has cut health care funding, forced disruptive restructuring including deletions and layoffs on front-line workers, has closed ERs, shuttered Urgent Care Centres, axed health programs, and ignored growing health issues across Manitoba.

CUPE has consistently cautioned that so many cuts and changes will put patient care at risk.

“The last thing health care workers need right now is more uncertainty,” said Shannon McAteer, CUPE Health Care Coordinator. “Health care workers are already working short, feeling disrespected by this government, and now they are being given one more obstacle while they try to do their jobs.” There is a better way, says CUPE.

In response to the government’s concerns that health care has “too many bargaining units”, 7,000 CUPE health care members formed CUPE Local 204, a single union local that represents 20 health care facilities in Winnipeg and Manitoba, including hospitals, personal care homes, community clinics, health care programs, and more. This was done without disrupting health care, and at no cost to government.

CUPE has also proposed a bargaining council, where each union would continue to represent its workers under a single collective agreement.

“We can be innovative,” said McAteer. “We have shown that. We can show it again.”

Unfortunately, the Minister of Health has not responded to CUPE’s request for a meeting to discuss alternatives to Bill 29.

“We have viable solutions for government,” said McAteer. “Unfortunately, this isn’t a government that meets with stakeholders. This isn’t a government that listens, but there is still time to meet and discuss. We are open to that.”

CUPE is a strong health care union representing 150,000 health care workers across Canada, and over 11,500 in Manitoba.

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.”

Background

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.

 

Manitoba Government cancels proposed P3 schools: commitment to keep new schools public right step, says CUPE

CUPE members in Manitoba are celebrating a major victory against P3s.

Five new schools in Winnipeg and Brandon will be built without the using a Public-Private Partnership (P3) model, according to the 2018 Manitoba Budget.

The government initially planned to build four schools under the P3 model, but after a cost-benefit analyses the savings were found to be enough to build an entire fifth school!

“We are incredibly relieved that the government has chosen not to pursue P3 schools here in Manitoba,” said Terry Egan, President of CUPE Manitoba. “P3 schools across Canada have proven to be more expensive and less accountable to the public, and this is case-in-point.”

(CUPE 737 members and supporters raising awareness in the community against P3 schools)

Throughout 2017, CUPE conducted a sustained campaign in Manitoba to “raise red flags” on P3 schools. CUPE 737, representing workers at Brandon School Division, held a public Town Hall meeting, presented to the Brandon School Division Board of Trustees numerous times, and reached out to the community.

“It was incredibly important for the public to understand the implications P3 schools could have, so we made a real effort to inform the public since the government wasn’t going to do so,” said Jamie Rose, President of CUPE 737.

“We are glad that the government has backed off its plans for P3 schools, and can actually now build one more school than they had planned.”

P3 schools failed on cost, transparency and accountability across Canada. In Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Alberta, P3 schools cost millions of dollars more than they would have cost had the projects been built traditionally. It’s likely the same story for Saskatchewan, where cost claims about P3 schools have been shrouded in secrecy, and are based on faulty calculations.

P3 schools have been found to be less transparent and accountable to citizens, which was particularly alarming for CUPE considering the provincial government’s recent scrapping of the P3 Transparency and Accountability Act.

“It was clear to us, despite what Pallister said when he first announced the new schools, that the P3 school experience across Canada has cost Canadians millions of dollars more than the fully public model,” said Egan.

(Public advertising against P3 schools in Brandon)

“We hope the Pallister government will take this cue, and consult with CUPE and our experts on other privatization schemes, including our concerns with other P3s, Social Impact Bonds, private child care, and privatization in health care.”

This victory was a success because CUPE members worked together, as a united front.

“I want to thank the leaders and activists at CUPE 737, as well as Chair of the CUPE Manitoba School Division Sector Gale Morton, Regional Vice-President Gord Delbridge, CUPE members from other sectors, and the staff at CUPE Regional and CUPE National offices for all their support throughout this campaign,” said Egan.

“When CUPE members work together, we can – and do – win”.

For more information visit cupe.mb.ca/p3schools

Manitoba Government Kills PowerSmart – CUPE 998

The final nail in the coffin of Manitoba’s beloved energy efficiency program has officially been struck by the Pallister government. With the announcement of Efficiency Manitoba today, Manitoba Hydro’s PowerSmart program is set to wind down.

“The Pallister government’s carving out of Manitoba Hydro’s energy efficiency program is simply bad policy,” says Chris Mravinec, President of CUPE Local 998 representing Manitoba Hydro employees, including the PowerSmart program.

“PowerSmart is already an excellent program that has deep roots in the community as well as direct access to Hydro information to help Manitobans find energy savings, its hard to believe this new Crown will be able to offer anything new that PowerSmart isn’t already doing.”

CUPE Local 998 is calling on Manitoba Hydro and Efficiency Manitoba to ensure that PowerSmart employees are fairly transitioned into the new Crown.

“PowerSmart employees have the experience, the networks, and the know-how to help Manitobans save energy,” says Mravinec. “We hope the government will keep these workers doing what they do best, but today’s announcement does little to reassure PowerSmart employees that a plan is in place.”

The government has not made a clear case for why creating a new Crown Corporation for energy efficiency is necessary, especially when PowerSmart is already so successful. It has also not provided details on exactly how the Crown will be staffed, financed, or how programs will be delivered.

“This is another example of the government ignoring reason and pushing their agenda forward without details,” said Mravinec.

“Countless industry experts have made submissions and presentations to the Minister of Crown Services on why PowerSmart should remain part of Hydro, why hasn’t the Minister listened?”

In January 2017, CUPE 998 commissioned a poll that found 94% of Manitobans supported PowerSmart and 78% felt that PowerSmart should remain part of Manitoba Hydro.

CUPE Local 998 represents over 1,100 members at Manitoba Hydro

CUPE welcomes Flight Medics/Nurses at Vanguard Air as newest members

CUPE is pleased to welcome Flight Medics/Nurses at Vanguard Air Care Inc. as the newest members of our union!

Paramedics and Nurses at Vanguard Air provide 24-hour service in Manitoba with locations in Norway House, Thompson, Island Lake, and Winnipeg.

“All workers in Manitoba deserve a safe work environment and a strong union to represent them in the workplace,” said Terry Egan, President of CUPE Manitoba.

“We are proud that Flight Medics/Nurses at Vanguard Air chose CUPE as their voice at work, and we are committed to representing them!”

The Canadian Union of Public Employees is Canada’s largest union representing more than 643,000 members. In Manitoba, CUPE represents approximately 26,000 members working in health care facilities, personal care homes, school divisions, municipal services, social services, child care centres, public utilities, libraries and family emergency services.