Provincial budget reflects needs of Manitobans, invests in services.

The Manitoba Government’s 2015 provincial budget was released on April 30th, and reflects the NDP’s commitment to working families across the province.

“Our NDP government is a strong steward of the economy” says Kelly Moist, President of CUPE Manitoba. “Manitobans want government to invest in core services and infrastructure, and that is exactly what this government is doing”.

The provincial budget is the implementation of the government’s vision for the next year, as well as commitments to long-term and short-term investments.

“Being part of a national union, CUPE members in Manitoba know that other governments have recently implemented deep cuts to government services which particularly impact society’s most vulnerable people” said Moist. “The Manitoba NDP has committed to supporting the services that Manitobans rely on”.

Of particular note are the unprecedented investments in infrastructure that will create jobs, stimulate the economy, raise wages across the province, improve road safety, protect Manitobans against floods, and improve other aspects of our provincial infrastructure.

The budget announced continued investments in childcare spaces in Manitoba, significant funding increases for acute health care and long-term care, as well as increased funding to education and post-secondary education.

The province made good on a commitment to eliminate interest on Manitoba student loans, making post-secondary education more accessible, and once again increases the minimum wage.

Additionally, the province has acted on recommendations from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ “View from Here”, endorsed by CUPE Manitoba, enhancing Rent Assist by $22 million to move it to 75% of median market rent.

“We are pleased that this government chooses to invest in the community, from infrastructure to childcare” said Moist. “This government understands the value of a diverse economy that supports families as well as economic growth”.

CUPE Manitoba represents approximately 25,000 public sector workers in health care, municipalities, school divisions, energy, airlines, social services and childcare, post-secondary education, and more.

Federal budget rewards the rich but fails every day Canadians

via CUPE.ca


Ottawa, ON 
– The Conservative’s 2015 federal budget may balance the books, but it is highly unbalanced in its impact on Canadians.  It puts millions of seniors at risk of poverty, abandons families in need of affordable child care and quality public health care, and doesn’t help Canadians workers who need better jobs, says the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

“The Conservatives have chosen irresponsible economic policies that slash revenues to benefit a few corporations and the wealthy,” says Paul Moist, national president of CUPE, Canada’s largest union. “This budget does far more harm than good in addressing the gap between workers and the richest Canadians. With this budget, that gap will only continue to grow.”

Maintaining unreasonably low corporate taxes, income splitting, tax credits for wealthy families like the expanded TFSA’s provide no help for every day Canadians.  These measures recklessly slash federal revenues that will mean more cuts to public services that Canadians depend on.

“Expanding TFSA does almost nothing to help the over 11 million Canadians without a work place pension. Instead of expanding the Canada Pension Plan – widely seen as the most effective, efficient and affordable way to keep seniors out of poverty – the Conservatives only offer another tax shelter for the rich,” says Moist. “The lost revenues from expanding TFSA’s – at least $1 billion over the next five years – will only mean more pressure on OAS/GIS. This budget is an unqualified failure for the vast majority of Canadian seniors.”

Canadian families struggling to find affordable child care are also left without any help.

“Families are spending more on child care than on housing – up to $2000 a month. This means the tax credit being offered up by Conservatives will barely cover one month. And that will be for only handful of families; most won’t get a dime,” says Moist.

The Conservatives lack of leadership on child care is even more pronounced in health care. Despite long waiting lists, five million Canadians without a family doctor, and skyrocketing prescription drug prices, the 2015 federal budget confirms Conservatives are cutting more than $36 billion from health care.

“We need strong federal leadership to strengthen our public health care system,” says Moist. “Our public health care is coming apart at the seams, and Conservatives simply shrug their shoulders hoping someone else will take care of it.”

CUPE is urging the Official Opposition to move budget amendments that will help create quality jobs, make urgent investments in public health care and child care, expand the CPP, and introduce measures that protect valued public services.

“This budget is clearly taking our country in the wrong direction. It fails workers, families, seniors, students, Indigenous peoples and the environment,” says Moist. “The only bright side is that with our pending federal election, this will be the Conservatives last budget. Next budget, we’ll be able to start repairing the damage done. It’s time for a change.”

CUPE’s complete analysis of the 2015 federal budget will be available on cupe.ca.

For more information:

Greg Taylor
CUPE Media Relations
613 818-0067
gtaylor@cupe.ca

CUPE members hold “kitchen table” conversations on public child care

GIMLI – CUPE members from across Manitoba met to discuss the importance of public child care, and the need for a national child care strategy.

This meeting took part during CUPE’s Winter School in Gimli, Manitoba (January 25-27) where approximately 80 CUPE members gathered to discuss stewarding, financial officer training, health and safety, and public speaking.

The “kitchen table” discussions were an informal way for members to talk about their personal experiences with both public and private childcare centres. Members discussed the need to create a greater awareness of the current child care situation, and how it affects families and communities.

These conversations are the first part of a multi-year child care campaign. With the active support of CUPE members we will be making the call for public and non-profit child care a priority in the 2015 federal election.

During these discussions, members highlighted the fact that many are paying over $1,000/month in childcare expenses, while others are on five-year waiting lists for public child care facilities. Additionally, private child care centres are exploiting the opportunity to move in and “fill the gap” caused by insufficient public funding for childcare nation-wide: costing families more, for less.

One member told the story that they had to move into an apartment from a home in order to pay for their child’s care.

One member told the story that he and his “buddies” were discussing their family’s child care needs during a “Winnipeg Jets” NHL game and how difficult it is to find childcare spots in Manitoba for their children.

One member told the story that her family could not afford to invest in a home because child care costs were too high.

One member told the story about how childcare workers are underpaid, and often can’t afford child care themselves.

Discussions also centred on broader issues, including work-life balance priorities, social and economic rights, women’s equality and human rights.

Maureen Morrison, CUPE Equality Representative and kitchen table discussion organizer notes that holding a conversation on child care is exciting and easy to do: just arrange a time and place, and the conversation happens naturally as members share their stories.

These kitchen table discussions are happening every day as parents and families struggle to provide for their children. The time to take the conversation from the kitchen table to the government is now. CUPE along with other unions, the CLC and coalition partners are organizing “kitchen table” discussions with members across the country to build an action plan to re-think child care in Canada.

Contact Shellie Bird sbird@cupe.ca to learn more on how you can organize a “kitchen table” conversation with CUPE members in your local.