Abortion rights are human rights!

The U.S. Supreme Court has made a decision that directly targets the health & safety, human rights, and reproductive health rights for those accessing abortion and reproductive health services in the United States.

The court’s decision is rooted in politicizing and legislating the rights and decisions away from those needing safe and legal abortion and reproductive health services in their home communities.

All people needing access to abortion services are impacted, as this decision ensures that their bodily autonomy is no longer their own decision. Instead, individual states will have decision making power over what reproductive health services will be available, based on oppressive control measures.

The deep rooted oppressive measures taken are reflective of classism, sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, and discriminatory governance and control.

As Manitoba’s largest union, we share our voice and solidarity with the labour movement, reproductive health clinics, 2SLGBTQI+ organizations, and community organizations in the United States that are advocating and opposing the dismantling of these rights.

We will advocate for everyone who needs abortion services, regardless of race, class, socioeconomic status, gender or identity.

For those who are forced to access abortion services and care in a non regulated or private program, we know that the risks are great for infection, complications, and even death. Public service reproductive care centres and clinics are crucial to ensure all humans have access to inclusive health care services in 2022.

If travel and access to reproductive health care increases in Manitoba as a result of this decision, CUPE & unionized workers stand with anyone seeking reproductive health care in our province.

The following resources and services are available for immediate support:

The Women’s Health Clinic:

https://womenshealthclinic.org/what-we-do/abortion/

Sexuality Education Resource Centre (SERC)

Winnipeg 204-982-7800
or Brandon 204-727-0417
https://serc.mb.ca/reproductive-justice-in-rural-and-remote-manitoban-communities/

For Teen Health information and a list of Teen Clinics in Manitoba visit: www.teentalk.ca

Klinic Crisis Line
204-786-8686 or 1-888-322-3019

Services in the Northern Health Region:

https://northernhealthregion.com/programs-and-services/medical-abortion/

To donate to abortion services in Manitoba, visit:

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 welcomes newest members at Ndinawemaaganag Endaawaad Inc. (Ndinawe)

WINNIPEG, TREATY 1 – Staff at Ndinawemaaganag Endaawaad Inc. (Ndinawe) voted overwhelmingly to join CUPE, Canada’s largest union.

Ndinawe is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping at-risk youth in Winnipeg.

“We are very pleased to welcome the staff at Ndinawe into CUPE,” said Gina McKay, CUPE Manitoba President. “The staff at Ndinawe are known for their compassion and tireless efforts for our community’s youth, and CUPE is proud to unite with these workers to help improve their own working environment.”

CUPE welcomes approximately 50 staff at Ndinawe, including Arts Coordinators, Educational Assistants, Cooks, Youth Care Workers, Case Managers, Food Services Coordinators, Peer Mentors, Program Facilitators, Transitional Support Workers, Housing Coordinators, Systems Navigators, Wellness Coordinators, Youth Support Workers, Cleaners, and Intake Workers.

The Manitoba Labour Board issued the new certificate on May 18, 2022. The next step for the new CUPE members is to elect a local executive and a bargaining committee to begin bargaining their first contract.

“Joining CUPE is a big step towards achieving fairness in the workplace,” said McKay. “CUPE prides itself on negotiating the strongest contracts for our members, and we commit to doing the same for staff at Ndinawemaaganag Endaawaad Inc.”

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.

Health Care Bargaining Update, April 21, 2022

CUPE met with the Provincial Health Labour Relations Services (PHLRS) on April 20, 2022 and have confirmed Mr. Arne Peltz as the mediator.

The first dates available to meet with Mr. Peltz to begin the process are May 24-27, 2022.  The next available mediation dates will be in mid-June.  More dates will be booked as they become available.

 

Until mediation begins, CUPE and the PHRLS will continue to meet to finalize negotiation of the letters of understanding and any changes to the pension and benefits articles.  This will include discussions about including anyone not currently in the HEB Manitoba pension and benefits plan, being brought into HEB Manitoba.  Riverview Health Centre will remain with the City of Winnipeg plans.

 

Why are we going to mediation?

Mediation is a common part of the negotiating process.  The Manitoba Nurses’ Union (MNU) was able to finalize their collective agreement through mediation also using Mr. Peltz as the mediator.  We are going to mediation because CUPE and the Employer are very far apart on certain proposals.  The Bargaining Council has heard the membership and are committed to getting the best collective agreement possible.  We believe that with the assistance of Mr. Peltz that we will be able to achieve a collective agreement that leaves no health care worker behind.

 

The outstanding language is about vacation (single days vs. blocks), union representation at meetings, how STATs will be taken, how overtime and pick up shifts will be awarded (seniority vs. equitable), and bumping.

 

Will I still get to vote on the proposed new collective agreement?

Yes.  Any agreement reached through mediation will still be voted on by the members.  Everything that has been agreed-to prior to mediation will not be a part of the mediation process.

 

What happens if we don’t get a collective agreement through mediation?

If we are unable to get a collective agreement through mediation and our continued negotiations, CUPE could officially serve notice to strike.  We must provide seven (7) days notice to go on strike.  If this should happen, we will notify the members when the decision is made to serve notice.

 

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.

Manitoba Budget Continues to Fall Short

WINNIPEG – The 2022 Manitoba budget continues to put public services at risk, says CUPE Manitoba.

“Manitobans expect to see a budget that protects the public services they rely on,” says
Gina McKay, President of CUPE Manitoba.  “This government continues to cut taxes for ideological reasons rather than fully supporting our schools and health care facilities.”

CUPE is concerned that the government’s plan to reach a balanced budget by 2028 will come on the backs of Manitoba workers and public services families rely on.

“The government spent years cutting health care and eliminating full-time jobs, and now they pat themselves on the backs for this year’s budget,” added McKay.  “Manitobans won’t forget how this government decimated our health care system.”

“We are also deeply concerned that the government will look to privatizing, contracting out, and selling off public services in order to balance their budget,” says McKay.

“We are pleased that the government is providing wage support for community living workers,” says McKay. CUPE joined with MGEU and UFCW in a public campaign to call on the government to increase support for these critical workers.

“We need a government that takes bold steps to support public services, especially during a pandemic that is not yet over,” says McKay.  “This budget doesn’t do that.”

CUPE will continue to analyze the budget.

 

Manitoba government fails to address systemic staffing shortages in long-term care

Winnipeg – Today the Manitoba Government announced new funding towards staffing in long-term care facilities, but fails to address systemic staffing shortages for Manitoba’s care homes, according to CUPE.

“While we welcome additional funding for long term care staffing, the government has missed this moment in time to address systemic staffing shortages across long-term and seniors’ care” said Gina McKay, President of CUPE Manitoba.

“The government continues to refuse to legislate mandatory minimum staffing requirements in care homes, despite numerous calls for strong legislation that would ensure no senior is left without care”.

CUPE Manitoba wrote a letter to the Minister of Health at the onset of the pandemic advancing key recommendations on behalf of long-term care support workers, including minimum staffing requirements.

In 2020, NDP health care critic Uzoma Asagwara also introduced legislation, which was filibustered by the PC government.

“The Manitoba government needs to legislate these minimum staffing levels so no care home, private or public, can operate without enough workers,” said McKay.

CUPE Manitoba commissioned a poll in December 2020 through Probe Research, which found 94% of Manitobans support regulations that would increase minimum staffing levels in long-term care.

Additionally, two-thirds of Manitobans would like to see public or non-profit agencies take over at least some privately operated long-term care homes.

“We know that the private sector’s primary motivation is profit for shareholders, not the care of seniors or the value of care home staff,” said McKay. “We need strong, fully-staffed and publicly accountable long-term care in Manitoba, and this government has not committed to that”.

In Saskatchewan the provincial health authority has already begun assuming delivery of long-term care services provided by Extendicare for failing to adequately address the COVID-19 situation.

“The government needs to take decisive action to address systemic challenges in Manitoba’s long-term care sector, and today’s announcement doesn’t address these deeper issues”.

Additionally, Manitoba’s public sector health care support staff have been five years without a new contract. CUPE Manitoba, along with CUPE 204, CUPE 4270, CUPE 8600, and CUPE 500 urges the province to prioritise health care support negotiations with the view to improve working conditions, wages, and benefits to ensure recruitment and retention of staff.

 

CUPE Manitoba donates to the Eugene Kostyra Memorial Fund

The CUPE Manitoba executive board made a donation of $5,000 to the Eugene Kostyra Memorial Trust Fund, supporting scholarships for students at St. John’s High School.

“CUPE Manitoba is proud to continue to honour Eugene’s legacy by supporting this wonderful scholarship program in his name”, said Gina McKay, President of CUPE Manitoba. 

“Eugene’s life’s work has impacted thousands of Manitobans, and helped make the lives of CUPE members better”.

Eugene Kostyra was an active CUPE member, moving to become the CUPE Regional Director in Manitoba, and later a Member of the Legislative Assembly and Cabinet Minister.

At the 2021 CUPE Manitoba Convention, delegates voted to support the Eugene Kostyra Memorial Trust Fund, recognizing the importance of Eugene’s work, and it’s ongoing impact in the community.

Health Care Bargaining Update, March 3, 2022

CUPE met with the Provincial Health Labour Relations Services (PHLRS) on February 9, 16, 23 and March 2, 2022.  We have bargaining dates on March 16, 23, 30, and April 6, 13, 20, and 27, 2022.  We continue to see positive movement at the bargaining table, thanks to the efforts and support from members.

 

Public Health Restrictions 

The provincial government has stated that health care workers will no longer be required to show proof of vaccination or undergo frequent testing for COVID-19 starting March 1, 2022.  We do not know yet what this will mean for anyone who is on an unpaid leave of absence because or refusing to get tested.

 

Petition

CUPE has launched a petition to the provincial government, calling on them to prioritize bargaining for health care support workers and provide support to front-line staff.  CUPE members and their families and friends have submitted over 4,000 petitions.  That is over 4,000 emails in the inboxes of government.  The petition is to add pressure to the government to prioritize health care support workers.  We have been successful in flooding their emails and ensuring that health care support workers are not forgotten.  You can sign the petition here:  https://cupe.ca/support-manitoba-health-care-support-workers-leave-no-health-worker-behind.

The pressure applied by the petition and the awareness campaign has worked!  We have begun monetary discussions.  Normally monetary discussions do not happen until all the language is negotiated.  We still have language proposals on the table including vacation, overtime, casual seniority, job reclassification, training and education, STAT pay, and rules for part-time employees.  Approximately 60% of the language proposals have been agreed to.

 

Campaign

The health care support staff awareness campaign has begun.  The radio ads and social media ads have started.  TV commercials, billboards, bus shelter ads, and yard signs are coming.  Please share the social media ads and fill out the petition.  It is just a few clicks!

 

Wear Black Wednesdays

Bargaining happens every Wednesday.  We are asking members, who are able, to wear black clothing on Wednesdaysto show support for the Bargaining Council.  Black is the colour of strength!  Black is also one of the colours of mourning.  We are mourning the lack of a contract.  If you cannot wear black clothing, wear wristbands or a black lanyard or something black.  We started “Wear Black Wednesdays” on March 2, 2022.

 

Retroactive Pay

Retroactive pay for the General Wage Increases (GWI) must be negotiated.  Retroactive pay has always been part of health care bargaining and we expect it to be included this time.  The collective agreement states that retroactive pay will be paid by a separate cheque within 120 days of ratification.  If you retire or quit before the collective agreement is ratified, you must ask the Employer to receive any retroactive pay owing to you.  You need to include your current address in this request to ensure you receive the cheque.  This must be done in writing (an email will do) within 90 days of ratification of the new collective agreement.  You can submit this request as soon as you retire or quit as well.  Please copy your union representative when you do submit the request.  If you do not submit the request within 90 days, you will NOT receive the retroactive pay.

 

Some of the former union collective agreements expired in different years.  Anyone that received a general wage increase in 2017, 2018, or 2019 already (even if it was zeros) will have their retroactive pay adjusted so that it matches the GWIs for everyone else.

 

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.

Strike at Rolling River School Division is over

After ninety-two days on the picket line, custodians and cleaners at the Rolling River School Division are heading back to work.

“These workers have been on the frontline keeping schools safe and clean but were pushed to the picket lines for three months in the coldest weather,” said Gina McKay, President of CUPE Manitoba. “These workers stood for fairness and didn’t back down despite all odds. We are very proud of them.”

On January 4, 2022, CUPE Local 1630 applied to the Manitoba Labour Board and asked them to help settle the dispute either by the Board or through a neutral arbitrator.

On January 31, 2022, the Labour Board issued an order to terminate the strike, reinstate the workers, and settle the provisions of a collective agreement.  The parties can either appoint an arbitrator or the Board will review the Union and employer’s proposals and aid in settling a new collective agreement within the next 90 days.

“We remain dumbfounded as to why this particular school division has refused to offer its custodians and cleaners the same as other school support staff across the province,” said McKay. “These workers deserve nothing less.”

The Rolling River School Division employed replacement workers throughout the strike, leading to substandard cleaning in schools across the region. Students at numerous schools joined the picket lines, calling on the school division to settle a fair agreement.

The picket line was also joined by CUPE National President, Mark Hancock, Canadian Labour Congress President, Bea Bruske, opposition parties, and countless other unions.

“Our members are happy to be getting back to the jobs they love, and the students they care for,” said McKay.

The CUPE 1630 strike began on November 1, 2021, and officially ended on February 1, 2022.