CUPE 998 Opposed to Bill 19

Winnipeg – CUPE Local 998 (representing workers at Manitoba Hydro, including in the PowerSmart program) will be on-site to voice opposition at the Legislative Committee hearings on Bill 19 tonight.

Bill 19 (Efficiency Manitoba Act) seeks to carve out the PowerSmart program from Manitoba Hydro and establish a separate energy efficiency crown corporation.

“PowerSmart is an important program housed in Manitoba Hydro that helps Manitobans achieve energy efficiency targets and savings,” says Chris Mravinec, President of CUPE 998.

“It makes no sense to divorce our public energy efficiency program from our public hydro”.

The government re-scheduled committee hearings to tonight at 6pm, after failing to pass committee hearings on May 11 following numerous presentations, including from CUPE 998, and an hours-long filibuster by Conservative MLA Steven Fletcher.

“We hope the government comes to its senses on Bill 19 in ‘round-two’ of committee hearings”, says Mravinec.

CUPE Local 998 launched an online petition that has garnered over 300 signatures and numerous comments since it was launched on May 17.

For more information contact:

(204) 391-7939 Chris Mravinec, President CUPE 998

(204) 801-7339 David Jacks, CUPE Communications

Anti-labour Bills in Manitoba Pass Committee Hearings

Winnipeg – The Pallister Conservative government has pushed two anti-labour Bills through the committee stage and into Third Hearing, which could ultimately result in the passing of the legislation.

Bill 28 (Public Sector Sustainability Act) and Bill 29 (Health Care Bargaining Unit Review Act) were opposed by dozens of labour representatives and members of the public at Committee hearings that took place on the evening of May 8th.

Bill 28 imposes a four-year wage settlement on all public sector workers, freezing wages for two years, followed by sub-inflationary increases of 0.75% and 1% in the third and fourth year respectively.

Bill 29 drastically restructures health care bargaining units, reducing the number of health care collective agreements, forcing union representation votes, and imposes a commissioner with sweeping powers over health care bargaining.

CUPE’s Manitoba Regional Director Lee McLeod presented both verbal and written submissions in opposition to both Bills.

CUPE on Bill 28

“These hard-working Manitobans, who truly are the “front-lines” this government promised to protect, are angry and feel betrayed,” McLeod told the committee on Bill 28.

“It is apparent that this government is not interested in meaningful consultations with public sector unions, and that this government always intended to use legislation to circumvent workers constitutionally protected right to free and fair collective bargaining.”

CUPE has been working closely with the Manitoba Federation of Labour and other unions to oppose Bill 28 and Bill 29.

CUPE on Bill 29

Bill 29 was also discussed in a separate committee hearing, taking place at the same time down the hall.

“We believe that collaboration between health care unions and this government could produce a superior collective bargaining model that works better for government and health care workers alike”, McLeod told the committee.

“We urge this government to scrap Bill 29 and instead work with us to make a better system for both workers and patients. No one benefits from the disruption, costs, and uncertainly of forced representation votes – not patients, not workers, and not the health care system”.

CUPE’s May 8, 2017 submissions to the committees can be found here:

CUPE Submission on Bill 28
CUPE Submission on Bill 29

To learn more on how the legislative process works, and how Bills are introduced, debated, and passed, visit the Manitoba Legislative Assembly website

 

Terry Egan Elected as CUPE Manitoba President

Delegates at the 54th annual CUPE Manitoba Convention held in Portage la Prairie have elected Terry Egan as CUPE Manitoba President.

CUPE Manitoba President-elect Terry Egan (2nd from right) with outgoing CUPE Manitoba President Kelly Moist, CUPE National President Mark Hancock (right) and CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer Charles Fleury (left).

Terry Egan is a CUPE member from the Winnipeg School Division, and was President of CUPE Local 110 representing approximately 400 WSD custodians, painters, utility and mechanical workers.

Outgoing CUPE Manitoba President Kelly Moist, who did not run in the election, offered her congratulations on behalf of all CUPE members to Terry Egan as he takes on his new role.

“I am proud to represent CUPE members in Manitoba in these difficult times,” said Egan. “We are resolved to fight for all workers in Manitoba and continue to defend public services against privatization and cuts”.

The CUPE Manitoba convention convened in Portage la Prairie on Wednesday, May 3 and concludes on Friday, May 5.

CUPE Manitoba 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

Disability support workers join CUPE

The Canadian Union of Public Employees is proud to welcome 35 new members at Com-Span Inc.

We would like to welcome employees from Com-Span to our union. Workers at Com-Span provide invaluable services to the community and we’re proud to represent them in their workplace!

Com-Span Inc. provides day services to individuals with intellectual disabilities.

These workers joined CUPE because CUPE is a strong voice for workers and has a good track record of bargaining fair contracts, representing workers in meetings with management, and helping to build a safe and inclusive work environment.

Every worker has the right to join a union and have representation in the workplace.

The employees at Com-Span Inc. dedicate their lives to serving people living with intellectual disabilities and deserve a strong voice at the table. We’re proud to be that voice.

Com-Span Inc. employees voted to join CUPE in a vote held on April 6 and 7, 2017, and will be part of CUPE Local 5176.

The Labour Board officially issued the certificate recognizing CUPE as the new bargaining agent on April 28, 2017.

CUPE represents over 1,000 disability services workers in some of the following Manitoba employers: Southwest Community Options Inc., Canadian Mental Health Association, Spike (Special People in Kildonan East), Ten Ten Sinclair (and housing), Rehabilitation Centre for Children, ARC Industries Occupational Training Centre, Community Therapy Services, Association for Community Living, Haldisse Community Services, Heima er Best, Riverdale Place Homes, Parkland Regional Community Linc, Touchwood Park Association and Epic Opportunities.

Read more…

Pallister’s P3 schools plan lacks transparency, accountability

Today Premier Brian Pallister announced the construction of four new schools in Manitoba to be designed, built, financed and maintained through a Public-Private Partnership (P3) model.

“Pallister isn’t telling the whole story when he tries to pitch P3s to Manitobans,” says Kelly Moist, President of CUPE Manitoba. “P3s in other jurisdictions have cost more in the long-run, with less accountability over taxpayers dollars”.

The Auditor General of both Nova Scotia and Alberta have raised serious concerns with the use of P3s in education in those two provinces, citing excessive costs, failure to meet contract requirements, lack of transparency, and insufficient proof that the projects provided value for money.

“There is an over twenty-year history of P3 schools in Canada. P3 schools are not new, are not innovative, and have not been successful,” said Moist. “Premier Pallister should learn from the mistakes of Nova Scotia and Alberta and stay clear of this disastrous policy.”

“Pallister’s plan to introduce a finance-maintain P3 model doesn’t make financial sense, as government can borrow at lower interest rates than private companies,” said Moist. “P3s will also cut corners to save money for themselves at the expense of the infrastructure they are conveniently paid to maintain”.

P3 schools under this model can be trapped in 30-year maintenance contracts with private conglomerates making it difficult for schools themselves to operate efficiently. These contracts are often hidden from the public as “proprietary” property of private companies.

Pallister’s plan also includes hiring “an advisor” to determine whether building design-build-finance P3 schools will be more cost-effective than the traditional design-build model. However, whether the public will have any way to review the advice provided by this “advisor”, or whether this “advisor” will be an independent third-party is yet to be seen.

The Pallister government recently introduced legislation to repeal the province’s P3 Accountability and Transparency legislation, claiming it was “red tape” for private corporations to access public dollars. Aspects of this legislation include the requirement for an independent, arms-length body to perform a publicly reviewable value for money review.

“If the Pallister government truly supported a value for money review, and believed in transparency and accountability as he campaigned upon, he would not be moving ahead to scrap the P3 Accountability and Transparency legislation,” said Moist. “If ever there was a time for robust legislation around P3’s, it would be when the province is considering greater reliance on the P3 model.”

“We believe every taxpayer’s dollar that this government spends should be transparent and accountable,” said Moist. “Scrapping P3 transparency legislation and then building four P3s makes it pretty clear that Pallister is in this for business interests rather than public interests.

Experience from other jurisdictions:

Nova Scotia Buys 2 P3 Schools for $12.9m

Alberta government scraps P3 funding model for new schools

Province Abandoning P3 Model for 19 New Alberta Schools

Nova Scotia government to buy 12 P3 schools for nearly $86M

P3 School Projects Blasted by AG Report

CUPE Saskatchewan Fact Sheet on P3 Schools

Case Study: P3 Schools in Alberta

 

Seven Oaks Hospital health care support staff to hold rally today

Winnipeg – health care support staff at Seven Oaks Hospital represented by CUPE Local 2509 are holding a rally on Thursday, April 20 at 11:30am in front of the Seven Oaks Hospital grounds.

“Health care support staff at Seven Oaks are outraged over the cuts to the hospital” says Shannon McAteer, CUPE Health Care Coordinator.

On Friday, April 7 the WRHA announced sweeping changes to Winnipeg’s health care system, including the closure of three Emergency Rooms and relocation of numerous other departments at Seven Oaks and other hospitals across the city.

“It’s not just about jobs, its about the programs that serve the community,” concludes McAteer.

“Removing Emergency Rooms, mental health programs, and other services from the entire North and North East part of the city is simply irresponsible.”

A rally was held at Concordia Hospital last week, and the Manitoba Nurses Union is holding another rally on April 26, as more and more health care workers are standing up to voice their concerns over the massive changes.

For more information contact: David Jacks, CUPE Communications: C. (204) 801-7339

Manitoba budget leaves doors wide open for privatization

Winnipeg – CUPE Manitoba is concerned that the provincial budget announced today leaves the door open for the unchecked privatization of public services and programs, while eroding existing public services.

The government recently announced that current P3 Accountability and Transparency legislation will be eliminated, and echoed this move in today’s budget.

CUPE MB President Kelly Moist speaking to the Canadian Press at the 2017 budget scrum

“This government insists that public transparency and accountability is a ‘regulatory burden’”, said Kelly Moist, President of CUPE Manitoba. “We believe the public has the right to know the details of private contracts that are receiving public dollars”.

The budget’s language of “new”, “innovative”, and “collaborative” approaches to the government’s long-term care investments is also concerning, considering this language is often double-speak for privatization.

“The province must invest in more public personal care home spaces and reject for-profit beds,” said Moist. “As more and more Manitobans move into personal care homes, we need to ensure a strong, fully public system is available to them so dollars go directly to the care Manitobans deserve, instead of private profit.”

There is no clear commitment that the 501 new childcare spaces announced in the budget will be fully public.

CUPE is also concerned with the continued emphasis on Social Impact Bonds as a medium to deliver public social services and programs.

“While the budget references a ‘Made in Manitoba’ Social Impact Bond program, there is very little detail in what programs and services will be affected,” said Moist. “We are pleased however that the government is interested in supporting community Social Enterprises, and hope the government continues to support community-led initiatives and leaves private for-profit corporations out of it”.

“The government has already broken it’s promise to protect public services and the workers who provide them by closing ERs, laying off hundreds of Hydro workers, and imposing wage freezes on workers province-wide” says Moist. “We need to strengthen – not cut or privatize – our programs and services and this budget does not give us much confidence”.