Winnipeg School Division custodians, trades ratify new agreement

WINNIPEG – School custodians, trades, and mechanics represented by CUPE
Local 110 and the Winnipeg School Division have ratified a new collective agreement.

“Custodians, tradespeople, and mechanics have been critical throughout the pandemic in helping keep our schools safe and running,” says Rick Peschel, President of CUPE 110.

“Our members were prepared to strike to achieve a new agreement, and we are relieved that the School Board made the right decision.”

Wage increases are in line with recently negotiated teacher’s agreements and are retroactive: 1.6% in 2019, 1.4% in 2020, 0.5% in 2021, and a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in 2022.

The agreement between CUPE 110 and the Winnipeg School Division is yet another CUPE school sector agreement that is above the province’s unfair wage mandate.

“The provincial Conservatives really tried to hold school support staff back,” said Peschel.

“It shouldn’t take a potential strike for leaders to acknowledge the hard work of front-line staff, but we are glad the Winnipeg School Division finally pulled through.”

CUPE 110 represents approximately 400 school support staff at the Winnipeg School Division, including custodians, trades, bus mechanics, and more.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees represents approximately 6,000 education workers, including education assistants, custodians, bus drivers, clerical, library technicians, intercultural liaisons, and more in 25 school boards across Manitoba.

Winnipeg School Division custodians, trades, urge Board of Trustees to settle contract ahead of potential strike

School custodians, trades, painters, and maintenance workers are calling on the Winnipeg School Division (WSD) Board of Trustees to settle contract negotiations at their regular board meeting on Monday, October 4, 2021, or face potential job action. 

 

“The Winnipeg School Division has failed to negotiate a new contract for the frontline staff who have been responsible for keeping our schools clean and running, especially throughout the pandemic,” says Rick Peschel, President of CUPE Local 110.  “We hoped the Board of Trustees would have settled this contract before the school year started, but they have shown very little leadership despite frontline staff continuing to work incredibly hard throughout the pandemic.”  

 

The Winnipeg School Division forced school bus drivers to strike in 2020 during the school year, as well as pushing teachers to the edge this summer, now they are pushing custodians over too, explains CUPE 110.

CUPE 110 is asking for the same four-year deal that teachers in the division received: 1.6%, 1.4%, 0.5%, and cost of living adjustment. 

Many other school divisions in Manitoba have already settled this agreement with support staff represented by CUPE.

“The WSD lost the school bus driver arbitration, they took the teachers arbitration settlement, and somehow they think the results here are going to be different for hard-working support staff?” said Peschel.  “We have been very patient with this Board to date, and we ask that the Board settle our contract on Monday so we can focus on keeping our schools clean, safe, and running.” 

 

CUPE Local 110 has a strike mandate from its membership and is in the process of preparing for job action. 

Unexplained government cuts have decimated refugee settlement services in downtown Winnipeg

CUPE is urgently calling on the federal government to restore funding to Welcome Place, and to stop layoffs that would leave refugee settlement services decimated in downtown Winnipeg.

More staff layoffs at Welcome Place are expected to occur on September 19th and October 1st.

Please send a letter to your MP and the Federal Minister of Immigration by using our letter tool here: Save Welcome Place.

“The federal government has cut 82% of total funding to Welcome Place, resulting in massive staff layoffs and reduced ability to serve Winnipeg’s refugee community,” says Vivienne Ho, President of CUPE 2348, which represents staff at Welcome Place.  “The federal government claims that it wants to support refugees in Canada, but then leaves entire communities and programs underfunded and underserved with a stroke of the pen.”

Welcome Place, also known as the Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council (MIIC), has served downtown Winnipeg for over 40 years, helping thousands of newcomers and refugees settle and succeed in Manitoba.

“How can this government claim to support refugees when they are gutting a well-respected and established refugee serving organization? With new refugees arriving from Afghanistan in addition to other countries, we need to make sure people are cared for,” said Ho.

In April 2021, Welcome Place locked out its own workers, demanding significant concessions on top of the wage cuts and layoffs staff had already accepted. An arbitrator is set to rule on staff’s contract negotiations after Labour Board hearings on September 16th and 17th, 2021.

In the meantime, Welcome Place has served layoff notices to seven more staff for September 19, 2021, resulting in a nearly 88% reduction of staff since 2019. Still, more layoffs are expected on October 1st.

The remaining staff continues to help refugees with health care, legal, employment, financial, housing, and social supports throughout the pandemic, despite being severely short-staffed.

“Staff at Welcome Place have done their jobs serving refugees in Winnipeg, and are in fact mostly refugees themselves,” said Ho. “Staff have seen wage cuts and layoffs, yet the federal government continues to turn its back on these workers and the communities they serve. We need the federal government to stop the layoffs and restore funding to Welcome Place.”

CUPE 2348 is currently before the Manitoba Labour Board in an effort to hold back further concessions.

School division support staff accept new agreements, avoid strike before start of the school year

School support staff at the River East Transcona School Division and Prairie Rose School Division have tentatively accepted a new collective agreement, while clerical, IT, and library techs at Seven Oaks School Division ratified a new agreement last night.

These school divisions have avoided a strike that could have begun as early as this week, says CUPE.

“Hours before support staff were to begin a legal strike, the River East Transcona School Board agreed to settle a fair contract with its workers,” says Lee McLeod, CUPE Regional Director.  “We thank all staff and the Board of Trustees at River East Transcona School Division, Prairie Rose, and Seven Oaks School Division for working hard to achieve a fair deal, especially with the provincial government’s continued efforts to hold school support staff back.”

Brandon School Division (CUPE 737) has also recently achieved a new collective agreement following a strong strike mandate from staff.

While the provincial government has said it will not pursue Bill 64, The Education Modernization Act, they have yet to fill the funding gap created by underfunding in the education sector and the phase-out of the education property tax or repeal their wage freeze mandate.

The new agreements between CUPE and River East Transcona School Division, Seven Oaks School Division, Prairie Rose School Division and Brandon School Division ensure school support staff receive raises that are consistent with those recently negotiated by other CUPE Locals and other unions in Manitoba, including the Manitoba Teachers’ Society, and are retroactive:  1.6% in 2019, 1.4% in 2020, and 0.5% in 2021 and cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in 2022.

“CUPE school support staff have been leaders in pushing for fair wage settlements, despite the provincial government’s attempts to undervalue their worth,” said McLeod.  “We hope other school divisions follow suit and recognize what parents and the community already know: school support staff are the pillars of our education system and deserve fairness.”

Other school divisions represented by CUPE that have reached agreements outside the province’s attempted mandate includes St. James-Assiniboia School Division, Sunrise School Division, Interlake School Division, Evergreen School Division, and Turtle River School Division.  CUPE thanks the Boards of Trustees of all these school divisions for their leadership in advance of the new school year.

Seven Oaks School Division custodians and bus drivers will hold a ratification meeting next week.

Negotiations are ongoing in other school divisions, including Pine Creek, Portage la Prairie, and Park West School Division where CUPE-represented support staff currently have strike mandates.

Custodians, trades, and maintenance staff at the Winnipeg School Division are also currently in a strike position and could set up picket lines in the coming weeks if the Board continues to prevent a fair settlement in line with other divisions.

 

Education reform, attacks on labour to be scrapped by Manitoba’s interim Premier following months of community pressure

Today the interim Premier of Manitoba, Kelvin Goertzen announced that Bill 64, which sought to eliminate public school boards is likely being withdrawn. 

“CUPE has been fighting Bill 64 since it was first announced and we are relieved that it is likely being withdrawn,” said Lee McLeod, CUPE Regional Director. “This result is due to community pressure, including workers and families speaking out against Bill 64”.  

Also likely being withdrawn is Bill 16 (The Labour Relations Amendment Act) which would have led to long, drawn-out strikes and lockouts. 

“Bill 16 has already put pressure on negotiations across Manitoba, with thousands of workers at the bargaining table worrying about whether or not they would have access to arbitration if they go on strike,” said McLeod. “Our members can continue to focus on negotiating a fair deal without the cloud of Bill 16 over their heads”. 

 Additionally, Bill 35 (The Public Utilities Ratepayer Protection and Regulatory Reform Act) which would have undermined the Public Utilities Board, Bill 40 (The Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation Amendment and Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Control Amendment Act), which would have privatized public liquor, and Bill 57 (The Protection of critical Infrastructure Act) which would have targeted protests are all likely being withdrawn. 

“Thousands of CUPE members are still at the bargaining table, with 18,000 health care support staff in strike position. We fully expect interim Premier Goertzen to prioritize getting a fair deal for health care workers as soon as possible”. 

 The Canadian Union of Public Employees is Canada’s largest union representing more than 700,000 members. In Manitoba, CUPE is the province’s largest union, representing approximately 36,000 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. 

CUPE health care support staff send a strong message voting overwhelmingly to strike

WINNIPEG – Health care support staff in the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA), Shared Health, Northern Regional Health Authority (NRHA) and Southern Health-Santé Sud (SH-SS) have sent a strong message to their employers by voting 97% in favour of strike action.

“Health care support staff in the WRHA and Shared Health have voted to strike because they are fed up with the government’s inability to recognize their value,” said Shannon McAteer, CUPE Health Care Coordinator. “Health care support staff have endured so much with so little support, and it’s clear that they are ready to strike if needed.”

Health care support staff have been putting their lives and their families’ lives at risk every day by showing up to work on the frontlines of the pandemic from day one, a fact which has not been recognized at the bargaining table.

“Right now, Manitoba has 18,000 health care support staff who are exhausted and who feel disrespected by the government, despite being lauded as heroes,” said Debbie Boissonneault, President of CUPE 204. “This is both an overwhelming mandate, and a scathing review of government’s inability to recognize health care workers.”

CUPE healthcare workers have been sending a strong message to the government with a Province wide average of 97% in favour of strike.

The results by region are as follows:

  • The WRHA and Shared Health represented by CUPE 204 and CUPE 500 voted 99% in favour of strike action.
  • NRHA represented by CUPE 8600 voted 98% in favour of strike action.
  • SH-SS represented by CUPE 4270 voted 92% in favour of strike action.

“Health care workers have been working harder than ever for the last year and a half because they are dedicated to providing the services required to ensure that Manitobans receive the highest quality health care possible,” says Darrin Cook, President of CUPE 4270.

“It’s time for the provincial government to show leadership and recognize the sacrifice that health care support workers have been making and immediately make settling health care contracts a priority,” said Christine Lussier, President of CUPE 8600.

CUPE Local 110 warns province to stop interfering in education bargaining

WINNIPEG – President of the Union that represents custodial and trades staff at the largest school division in Winnipeg (Winnipeg School Division (WSD)), says the provincial government is inhibiting an important contract settlement that will prevent uncertainty and chaos for students and parents less than two weeks before schools reopen.

Members of CUPE Local 110 have been negotiating a new contract since their last contract expired in June of 2019, with wages being the only remaining issue to be settled. During bargaining, union negotiators dropped many of their original demands in order to avoid a strike and ensure that schools open on time.

“All we are asking for is a fair deal in line with what the teachers were awarded not only in the Winnipeg School Division but throughout the Province of Manitoba,” says Rick Peschel, President of Local 110.  “The Union has been very reasonable throughout negotiations, and only wants a fair deal for school support staff.”

“We are asking for the government to stop interfering with our collective bargaining,” says Peschel.  “Our members just want to go to work, but after being in the third year without a contract, they are feeling frustrated as it is evident that the school division is being pressured not to sign. Any strike action at this late date would cause chaos for parents and students.”

Last May, the WSD signed a four-year agreement with teachers that includes pay increases dating back to the 2018-19 school year, with a retroactive hike of 1.6 percent in that year, 1.4 percent in 2019-20, and 0.5 percent for 2020-21. The agreement also includes a cost-of-living increase for the 2021-22 school year.

“All we are asking is for the provincial government to allow collective bargaining to continue without interference. We just want fairness for the workers we represent” says Peschel.

The bargaining unit for CUPE Local 110 represents approximately 400 custodial, maintenance, mechanics, tradespeople, painters, and technicians at the WSD, Manitoba’s largest School Division. Members of Local 110 are in a legal strike position after a recent strike vote that saw overwhelming support for strike action. The local is also moving forward with a public campaign to bring attention to the negative impacts on WSD custodial and trades staff due to the provincial government’s continued attempts to mandate wages for Manitoba school divisions.

18,000 health care support workers across Manitoba are gearing up for a strike vote

Health care support staff in the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, Shared Health, Southern Health-Santé Sud, and Northern Regional Health Authority are preparing for a strike vote.

“Health care support staff have been fighting on the front lines to keep our communities safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, while also enduring the Pallister government’s drawn-out attacks on health care,” says Lee McLeod, CUPE Regional Director. “Support staff are the pillars of health care, but are being treated as if they don’t matte­r—and that is unacceptable.”

Health care support staff have not had a new contract since 2017 when the government first tabled unconstitutional wage freeze legislation. 

Furthermore, the provincial government introduced legislation that amalgamated health care contracts – forcing dozens of contracts to be merged, pushing negotiations into 2021. Additionally, the provincial government forced cuts across health care since first being elected, resulting in a staffing and morale crisis. 

“Health care support staff are under so much pressure, and the government has shown very little respect for the work they do. After years without a contract, health care support staff want to see real support from the government, and that includes a fair contract for all staff,” said McLeod. “We are fighting to make sure no health care worker is left behind.”

CUPE is currently holding information sessions, as well as meet and greets with health care support staff to discuss the status of bargaining. The strike vote is expected to be held online and in-person, depending on the region, on August 18, 2021. No strike date has been set yet.

CUPE health care members please contact your local union to update your contact information as soon as possible.

CUPE 204, members register here.
CUPE 4270
, information here or contact healthcare@cupe.ca.
CUPE 8600
, members contact cupe8600@outlook.com or call/text 204 680-6072
CUPE 500, contact union@cupe500.mb.ca or click here.

CUPE represents 18,000 health care support staff across Manitoba in both Community Support and Facility Support roles in the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, Shared Health, Southern Health Santé-Sud, and Northern Regional Health Authority.

School Division support staff in Manitoba call for fair contract ahead of new school year

School support staff in five school divisions in Manitoba have now voted in favour of strike action, calling for contract negotiations to be resolved ahead of the new school year. 

“School support staff have been working incredibly hard to keep our schools and children safe during the pandemic, yet the Pallister government continues to try to prevent school divisions from settling staff contracts fairly,” says Lee McLeod, CUPE Regional Director. “School support staff are feeling ignored and disrespected by the government, and are voting to strike for fairness.” 

School support staff who now have strike mandates include the Brandon School Division; custodians and trades at the Winnipeg School Division; custodians, library techs, bus drivers, IT, and clerical at the Seven Oaks School Division; and support staff at Turtle Mountain and Park West School Divisions in the Westman area. 

School support staff have been without a new contract since 2018, as a result of Pallister’s unconstitutional interference in collective bargaining. Support staff are asking for wage increases in line with recently settled teachers’ contracts.  

No dates for a strike have yet been set. 

There is another way.

“Some school divisions have offered fair wages and settled negotiations without the cloud of Pallister’s wage mandate holding them down,” said McLeod. These include the St. James-Assiniboia School Division, Interlake School Division, Turtle River School Division, and Evergreen School Division.  “School divisions should be unafraid to exercise their locally elected voices by supporting the staff who have helped carry our schools through the year.” 

The Canadian Union of Public Employees represents approximately 6,000 education workers, including education assistants, custodians, bus drivers, clerical, library techs, intercultural liaisons, and more in 25 school boards across Manitoba.