Manitobans need action, not musical chairs: CUPE

The Manitoba Progressive Conservatives announced a cabinet shuffle the same day the provinces hit historic hospitalizations for COVID-19, leaving little encouragement for the thousands of front-line workers screaming out for help.

“Instead of focusing on supporting front-line workers, the government has been playing musical chairs” said Gina McKay, President of CUPE Manitoba.

“No cabinet shuffle is going to make Manitobans forget the damage this government has done to our public services, and with little to no COVID wage top up for support workers going into the 4th wave, the excruciating demands on these workers to carry this burden is wearing thin”.

CUPE Manitoba is calling on the government to invest heavily in public services, provide COVID PPE and testing to all public sector workers, and ensure fair compensation for the front-line workers who have seen the province through the pandemic.

“If the PCs want to address the ever-increasing demands on all sectors of work in Manitoba, they need to take immediate action” said McKay. “With their popularity and confidence at an all-time low, they need to step up and support the thousands of Manitoba workers who are tired of carrying the impacts of a COVID response that does not centre their work and contributions. And it is these workers who are going to get us through this”.

CUPE Manitoba is pleased to see a new Minister of Labour but is cautious about the PC’s continued austerity agenda.

“We are concerned that the new Minister of Labour is appointed to continue the PC agenda of undermining workers through legislation and wage cuts”, said McKay.

“If the new Minister of Labour is willing to work with us and address the serious public sector staffing shortages, oppose privatization, and address wage discrepancies across Manitoba, then we are ready to talk and help bring meaningful solutions to the challenges at hand”.

CUPE Manitoba will be reaching out to meet with the new Ministers to discuss how they can support front-line Manitoba workers.

Health Care Bargaining Update, Dec 17, 2021

CUPE met with the Provincial Health Labour Relations Services (PHLRS) on December 8 & 15, 2021.  We have bargaining dates in January on the 5th, 12th, 19th and 26th.  We have proposed dates in February and March and are waiting on the Employer to confirm.

Status of Bargaining

We were able to agree to more language proposals around Hours of Work and Leaves of Absence.  There are a lot of rumours right now about what is or isn’t happening at bargaining.  Please confirm with your site representative on any rumors you hear.  There has been no offer on wage increases by the Employer yet.  We have not started discussion on any monetary items, including wage increases.

Since we began bargaining the parties have exchanged 73 documents.  Our original proposal package contained over 600 proposals.  That did not include all the Letters of Understanding at the back of each collective agreement.  We have agreed to approximately 30% of the language proposals.  We understand we keep saying it is a slow process, but this is why.  It is not just about getting a wage increase; we have to negotiate every item for your new collective agreement.  The Bargaining Council asks for your continued patience as we fight for each of you.  Our goal is to leave no health care worker behind.

Bill 28 – Public Services Sustainability Act (wage freeze)

The public sector unions, through the Manitoba Federation of Labour (MFL), have filed an application to the Supreme Court of Canada.  We reported that the MFL won the court case against Bill 28 a few months back.  The government appealed that decision, and their appeal was upheld.  This overturned the MFL’s win.  However, because of the community’s pushback against Bill 28 the government, under Premier Stefanson, has repealed Bill 28 for now.  There is concern that they may resurrect it under a new version in the future.  Therefore, the MFL is taking their case to the Supreme Court.  We expect this will be a lengthy process, but the wage freeze legislation being withdrawn should lift a cloud over our negotiations.

Campaign

CUPE health care members should expect to see campaigns popping up across Manitoba in the new year, raising awareness about the important work health care support workers do, as well as calling on the government to support our members.  We will also be launching campaigns building solidarity within the membership, because we will not win if we are divided.

CUPE also continues to advocate for safe workplaces, better staffing levels, and against government cuts to health care.

Wishing you and your loved ones a safe and joyous holiday season and all the best for 2022!  Special thanks to all the health care workers who are working over the holiday season, and all those who have been working hard throughout another difficult year.

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.

If you have any questions or comments, please send an email to healthcare@cupe.ca.

Health Care Bargaining Update, December 2, 2021

CUPE met with the Provincial Health Labour Relations Services (PHLRS) on October 27, November 3, 10, 17 and December 1, 2021.  Negotiations are ongoing, and we are calling on the PHLRS to leave no healthcare worker behind.

Status of Bargaining

The Bargaining Council has agreed to some language proposals.  Some of these include maternity/parental leave, emergency leave, emergency and disaster planning, whistle blower protection, union security, respectful workplace and non-discrimination/harassment, many definitions, grievance and arbitration rules and many more.

The Bargaining Council is having to fight for every proposal.  It is not like any other bargaining that has come before.  This is why bargaining seems to be taking so long – we are working article by article to make sure no health worker is left behind.

Discussions are ongoing regarding job security, vacation, hours of work, scheduling, overtime, and layoff/recall.  Wage increases are still to be discussed as well as market adjustments.

 

Bill 28 – Public Services Sustainability Act (wage freeze 0, 0, 0.75 and 1%)

The government announced last week that they will be repealing or cancelling this legislation.  CUPE and the other public sector unions had taken the government to court over this wage freeze legislation.  The Unions won but the government appealed that decision.  The appeal judge overturned the decision.  Despite this, the government felt the pressure from unions, including CUPE, and is withdrawing the legislation altogether.  We continue to work with the Manitoba Federation of Labour on legal routes to ensure governments cannot interfere with bargaining.  This is an important victory for CUPE members.  The Bargaining Council had no intention of accepting the mandated wage freeze but having this pressure removed means we can bargain a fair wage increase at the table.

We have bargaining dates scheduled to the end of January 2022.

 

Strike

Negotiations are continuing and we are making progress.  We understand it is slow.  Fighting to maintain the protections and rules in the collective agreement takes time.  After the representation votes members from many different unions came to CUPE.  Their collective agreements have different and unique language that we are trying to maintain such as language for hours of work, shift schedule rules, overtime, and shift premiums, just to name a few.

It is very important that we fight to maintain this collective agreement language, but that will unfortunately take a lot of time.  There were over 123 collective agreements that are merging into one province-wide collective agreement.

While negotiations continue, we will not serve notice to strike.  In August, healthcare support workers took a strike vote to show the employers that we are serious about leaving no healthcare worker behind.  If negotiations break down, we will be ready to strike.  We’re not quite at that point.

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.

If you have any questions or comments, please send an email to healthcare@cupe.ca.

School Support Staff at Lord Selkirk School Division Ratify Collective Agreement

SELKIRK, MB – Education assistants, custodians, school librarians, secretaries, and other support staff at the Lord Selkirk School Division have voted in favour of a new collective agreement.

“School support staff at Lord Selkirk School Division have been on the frontlines keeping our kids safe throughout the pandemic and have dedicated every moment to supporting the education of our students,” says Karen Sinnock, President of CUPE 1522.

“We are pleased that the Lord Selkirk School Division has offered us a fair deal that is in line with what teachers and support staff represented by CUPE in other school divisions received.”

CUPE 1522 had a strike mandate from members, and organized information pickets to raise awareness across Selkirk about the value of school support staff.

CUPE 1522 and the Lord Selkirk School Division agreed to the same four-year deal that teachers across Manitoba received: 1.6%, 1.4%, 0.5%, and cost-of-living adjustment.

Twenty-three other CUPE locals have already settled this same agreement between school divisions in Manitoba and support staff represented by CUPE.

Custodians and cleaners at Rolling River School Division represented by CUPE 1630 are entering their fourth week on strike and are asking for the same.

“At this point the Rolling River School Division is putting our schools at risk, while stubbornly refusing to offer what everyone else is offering,” said Kevin Jay, President of CUPE 1630.

“Rolling River School Division needs to step up, offer us the same deal, and let us get back to work.”

Rolling River School Division Custodians and Cleaners Set Strike Date

MINNEDOSA, MB – Custodians and cleaners at the Rolling River School Division have notified the school board that they will begin legal strike action on Monday, November 1, 2021, at 12:00 am. 

 

“We have done everything to try to prevent a strike, but the Rolling River School Division has left us little choice,” said Kevin Jay, President of CUPE 1630, representing the division’s 21 custodians and cleaners. “All we are asking for is the same respect that teachers and other support staff in Manitoba have already received.”

CUPE 1630 are asking for the same four-year deal that teachers across Manitoba received: 1.6%, 1.4%, 0.5%, and cost-of-living adjustment.

Twenty-four CUPE locals have already settled this agreement between school divisions in Manitoba and support staff represented by CUPE.

“What we’re feeling is that custodians and cleaners in Rolling River School Division aren’t worth the same as in Winnipeg and other divisions,” said Jay. “We urge the school board to make the right call and offer us the same deal as everyone else so we can focus on our jobs—keeping schools safe and clean.”

The strike will begin at the Minnedosa Collegiate and the Rolling River School Division Board Office at 154 3rd Avenue SE, Minnedosa, Manitoba.

School support staff in two Manitoba school divisions prepare to strike

Selkirk, Minnedosa, MB  – Education Assistants, custodians, school librarians, and secretaries at the Lord Selkirk School Division are preparing for job action following the School Board’s refusal to offer a fair contract, says CUPE Local 1522, representing approximately 300 support staff.

Approximately 21 custodians and cleaners at Rolling River School Division represented by CUPE Local 1630 are also in a strike position, with 93% in favour of strike action.

“School support staff at Lord Selkirk School Division have been on the front line keeping our kids safe throughout the pandemic, and have dedicated every moment to supporting the education of our students,” says Karen Sinnock, President of CUPE Local 1522.  “Parents and the community know that these workers are valuable, yet the School Board refuses to acknowledge these staff.”

CUPE 1522 will be organizing information pickets in the coming weeks to raise awareness across Selkirk about the Board’s refusal to recognize school support staff.

CUPE 1522 and CUPE 1630 are asking for the same four-year deal that teachers across Manitoba received: 1.6%, 1.4%, 0.5%, and cost of living adjustment.

Twenty-four CUPE locals have already settled this agreement between school divisions in Manitoba and support staff represented by CUPE.

“Staff at Rolling River feel disrespected, undervalued and feel that they deserve nothing less than many other School Division teachers and support staff across Manitoba have received at the bargaining table”, said Kevin Jay, President of CUPE 1630.

CUPE Local 1522 and CUPE Local 1630 have a strike mandates from their membership and are in the process of preparing for job action.

CUPE Manitoba Elects Gina McKay as New President

CUPE Manitoba is pleased to announce the election of Gina McKay (she/her) as the next President of Manitoba’s largest labour union.

Delegates at the CUPE Manitoba Convention held October 20th – 22nd elected Gina McKay to represent the union’s 37,000 members.

“I am honoured to receive the confidence of CUPE members from across Manitoba to lead our union,” said McKay. “We have a lot of work to do as activists, and we are committed to fighting for the rights of all workers in Manitoba.”

McKay currently works as the Labour Director, at the United Way Winnipeg, and is a member of CUPE Local 2348, serving as Recording-Secretary and previously served as the local’s President.  McKay was recently elected as the Equity Vice-President for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Two-Spirit, Intersex Workers of the Canadian Labour Congress, and sits on CUPE’s National Pink Triangle Committee.

“I am committed to building unity in the labour movement and am dedicated to ensuring we work stronger together to fight back against governments who push austerity and regressive legislation and attacks on working people in Manitoba,” said McKay. “The provincial Conservatives have tried to divide workers in Manitoba and undermine public services, and I’m here to say we are more united than ever.”

McKay is a queer, Métis activist and has worked on LGBTQ2+ issues with CUPE at the local, provincial and national level, with the Manitoba Federation of Labour, the Winnipeg Labour Council, with the CLC and even internationally with Public Services International’s LGBTQ2+ contingent to the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

The new CUPE Manitoba Executive Board are:

President:                    Gina McKay, CUPE 2348

Vice-President:           Debbie Boissonneault, CUPE 204

Secretary-Treasurer:  Mylene Holmes, CUPE 204 & 500

Recording Secretary:  Steve Magian, CUPE 744

Trustee, 3-year:          Theresa Proctor, CUPE 204

Trustee, 2-year:          Jesse Barnett, CUPE 69

Trustee, 1-year:          Rick Moore, CUPE 731

Area Representatives:

Winnipeg Area Representative:         Vivienne Ho, CUPE 2348

Winnipeg Area Representative:         Linda Durham, CUPE 2153

South-Central Area Representative:  Lisa Sibbald, CUPE 5238

Eastern/Interlake Representative:      Gord Meneer, CUPE 998

Brandon Area Representative:           Jamie Rose, CUPE 737

Northern Area Representative:          Clayton Paul, CUPE 745

Equity Representatives:

LGBTQ2+ Representative:                             Daniel Richards, CUPE 204

Person with a Disability Representative:       Bob Guenther, CUPE 744

Young Member Representative:                    Cody Clay, CUPE 731

Racialized Workers Representative:              Karen Brown, CUPE 204

Indigenous Representative:                           Tricia Merritt, CUPE 204

Woman/person who identifies as
woman Representative:                              Michelle Bergen, CUPE 998

 

CUPE is Manitoba’s largest union, represents approximately 37,000 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 Bargaining Update, October 14, 2021

CUPE has been fighting for you at the bargaining table.  CUPE met with the Provincial Health Labour Relations Services (PHLRS) on September 1, 8, 21, 29 and October 6, 2021.  Negotiations are ongoing, and we are calling on the PHLRS to leave no health care worker behind.

Status of Bargaining

Progress is being made in bargaining around the language proposals. The big issues at the table right now include vacation, hours of work, scheduling, overtime, and layoff/recall.

We are finally able to begin discussions about monetary matters.  Wage increases are still to be discussed as well as market adjustments.

Seniority

It was decided that the issue of how seniority will be applied would be sent to the Commissioner (who was responsible for the health care amalgamations) for mediation.

CUPE and the Employer representatives met with the Commissioner to discuss the seniority issue.  The Commissioner ruled that seniority needs to match the support sector bargaining units (Facility Support and Community Support) that were split by the representation votes.  We will work towards resolving the seniority issue with that understanding.

MNU (the nurses) have reached a tentative agreement, which is great news.  CUPE is pushing for support staff negotiations to be the priority and is launching a public campaign to bring attention to health care support staff.

Essential Services and Strike

CUPE continues to negotiate essential services agreements.  We are required by law, to have an essential services agreement in place before we can go on strike.  Most of these agreements are now completed.

In the event we do call for a strike, we have prepared some questions and answers for you. Download the Strike Q & A Here.

The next bargaining dates are:

  • October 27th;
  • November 3rd, 10th and 17th;
  • December 1st.

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.

If you have any questions or comments, please send an email to healthcare@cupe.ca.

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.