Manitoba Throne Speech threatens public education, child care, and continues to hurt front-line health care – CUPE

The Manitoba Throne Speech offers little reassurance that the provincial government will support public education and child care, says the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

“With the elimination of the education property tax, we are concerned that the government will resort to school cuts, especially under the auspices of the K-12 review,” said Abe Araya, President of Manitoba. “Where is the government going to come up with funding for our children’s education?”

The Throne Speech also introduces the government’s plans to increase private child care spaces in the province, including for capital investments in private child care facilities.

“The government should be focused on increasing public, affordable child care across Manitoba, rather than subsidizing private facilities that could end up costing families more,” said Araya. “Childcare advocates have been calling for fully funded public child care in the province, and this government is going the opposite direction”.

CUPE Manitoba President Abe Araya, and CUPE 204 President Debbie Boissonneault at the Manitoba Throne Speech

The government’s sweeping changes to the health care system continues to impact front-line health care support staff.

“As the government and health authorities continue to implement their restructuring of health care, support workers remain understaffed and under-valued,” said Debbie Boissonneault, President of CUPE Local 204 representing Community and Facility Support staff in the WRHA and Shared Health.

“We need investments in support staff positions, as well as a commitment from the province that they will not be privatizing or contracting out any health care services”.

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.

 

Abe Araya Elected as President of CUPE Manitoba

BRANDON – Delegates at the 2019 CUPE Manitoba Convention in Brandon elected Abe Araya as President of the province’s largest union. Abe Araya comes from CUPE Local 110, representing custodians, maintenance, and painters at the Winnipeg School Division.

“Our union is focused on fighting back against cuts to health care, education, social services, and privatization,” said Araya. “Despite Brian Pallister’s attempts to divide working people, we will be uniting workers from across Manitoba to put a stop to Pallister’s austerity agenda.”

Delegates at convention voted in support resolutions, ranging from health and safety in the workplace, anti-oppression training for activists, pushing back against privatization, fighting against health care and education cuts, and supporting the Green New Deal.

“CUPE is an incredibly diverse union,” said Araya. “With the strength of Manitoba’s largest union, we will be on the front line defending public health care and education, public Hydro, and fighting for properly funded childcare and social services for all Manitobans.”

CUPE’s annual convention featured guest speakers, including NDP leader Wab Kinew, NDP Critic for Infrastructure and Municipal Affairs Matt Wiebe, NDP Member of Parliament for Winnipeg Centre Leah Gazan, Winnipeg School Division Trustee Yijie Chen, and Manitoba Health Coalition Director Breanne Goertzen.

CUPE National President Mark Hancock and CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer Charles Fleury spoke to delegates, committing the full strength of CUPE’s 700,000 members to fight against cuts and privatization.

Manitoba Federation of Labour President Kevin Rebeck provided updates on labour’s united front against Bill 28 (The Public Services Sustainability Act) and committed to fight against the Pallister government’s unconstitutional wage freeze.

Two hundred people rallied outside Brandon City Hall with CUPE Local 69 on Wednesday evening, voicing concern over the contracting out of work at the Wheat City Golf Course.

Gord Delbridge, President of CUPE Local 500 served as interim CUPE Manitoba President throughout 2019. Delbridge continues to serve as Vice-President of CUPE Manitoba. Barb Gribben of CUPE Local 737 was this year’s recipient of the prestigious Jack Rodie Award, recognizing dedication and activism in the union.

“Our union is stronger, and more united than ever,” said Araya. “Manitobans can count on CUPE to defend good jobs, and fight for our public services.”

The Canadian Union of Public Employees is Canada’s largest union representing more than 700,000 members.  In Manitoba, CUPE represents over 36,000 members working in health care facilities, personal care homes, school divisions, municipal services, social services, childcare centres, public utilities, libraries and family emergency services.

CUPE donates room full of toys to kids in the care of CFS

Today CUPE donated hundreds of toys to kids currently in the care of Winnipeg Child and Family Services.

“We want to make sure that every child gets a gift this holiday season,” said Terry Egan, President of CUPE Manitoba. “We hope this will brighten the holidays for hundreds of Manitoba kids who may not otherwise receive a present this year.”

The annual donation is a joint effort between the CUPE Manitoba Young Members Committee and CUPE 2153 which represents Winnipeg Child & Family Services workers.

CUPE Manitoba supports Bear Clan Patrol, Coalition for Families of Missing and Murdered Women in Manitoba

Today CUPE Manitoba presented the Winnipeg Bear Clan Patrol a gift of 100 blankets for the community.

Jenna Komadowski, Sherlynn Delaney, Terry Egan (CUPE MB) and Bernadette Smith, James Favel (Bear Clan Patrol)

CUPE Manitoba also presented a financial contribution to the Coalition for Families of Missing and Murdered Women in Manitoba’s 6th annual Christmas Party for MMIWG Families.

The Bear Clan Patrol was established in December 2014 as a grassroots response to the expressed needs of the community in Winnipeg’s North End and other communities for a safer, more secure environment.

“By providing a donation of blankets we want to show that we support the important work of the Bear Clan Patrol,” says Terry Egan. “The work the patrol does is invaluable to the community, and we hope all CUPE members will offer their support either through donations, or as volunteers”.

The 6th Annual Christmas Party for Manitoba Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls hosts over 200 family members, including 100 children who receive gifts and support. The event takes place on Friday, December 22 2017 at 6:00pm at the Clarion Hotel.

Terry Egan (CUPE MB) and James Favel (Bear Clan Patrol)

“These families have been through a lot, and we hope that our donation will make this event a success,” said Egan.

Receiving the gifts on behalf of the Bear Clan Patrol was James Favel, and receiving the gift on behalf of the Coalition for Families of Missing and Murdered Women in Manitoba was Bernadette Smith.

For more information on the work of the Bear Clan Patrol, visit: https://www.bearclanpatrolinc.com/

Manitoba Throne Speech opens door to further privatization

The Canadian Union of Public Employees – Manitoba is deeply concerned that the November 21 Speech from the Throne further opens the doorway to privatization of public services and programs, particularly services for children.

“The Pallister government has spent the past year throwing our health care system into chaos, and introducing privatization schemes like P3 Schools and Social Impact Bonds,” says Terry Egan, President of CUPE Manitoba.

“This government seems more concerned about their ideology than what is best for Manitobans, and today’s Throne Speech continues down that path.”

Since last year’s Throne Speech, the Pallister government has rolled out its plan to close Emergency Rooms, cut funding to health authorities province-wide, introduced Public-Private Partnership (P3s) schemes to schools in Winnipeg and Brandon, and pursued Social Impact Bonds – a way for the private sector to garner profit from public social services.

Today’s 2017 Throne Speech further reinforces the government’s plan to pursue the dangerous path of privatization, especially in services for children. Meanwhile the government has eliminated transparency and accountability legislation for P3s.

“This government is introducing a Social Impact Bond in our child welfare system, and P3s for our schools, but has never had any open discussions on if these models even work,” said Egan.

“We know there are serious concerns about Social Impact Bonds and P3s, but the government is pushing through anyways, it’s irresponsible and ideological.”

While CUPE recognizes the need for improving access to child care in Manitoba, the government’s plans to provide incentives to the private sector to build more private child care spots is not in the best interest of Manitoba families.

“We need more public spaces and facilities,” said Egan. “Going down the path of subsidizing more private for-profit day care is the wrong direction. The government should instead be supporting non-profit community and school based child care.”

In Manitoba, CUPE 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.

CUPE members protest cuts to health care in Manitoba

CUPE members were out en-force on July 6, protesting the Manitoba government’s cuts to health care.

“Employees at Health Sciences Centre (HSC) and CancerCare Manitoba are overworked, understaffed, and deeply concerned with the Pallister government’s massive changes to health care” said CUPE Local 1550, representing support staff at HSC and CancerCare Manitoba.

With Emergency Rooms and Urgent Care Centres closed, new long-term care facilities canceled, the cancellation of the new CancerCare building, and other hospital programs being cut and shuffled around, a bigger burden will be placed on HSC with no sign of new resources.

“The government’s cavalier plans for health care have been confusing, chaotic, and have deeply hurt staff morale”, said CUPE 1550. “How can HSC handle major increases in patient flow? How can health care workers do their jobs when the government keeps making cuts and systemic changes?”

Pickets were held from 7:15am – 9am, 11am – 1pm, and 3pm – 5pm throughout the day to facilitated shift changes so members could join the picket line. Local media noted the significant support from members of the community driving by.

Recent polling found that the majority of Manitobans are opposed to the governments closure of Emergency Rooms and Urgent Care Centres. CUPE and other unions have held numerous rallies against cuts, including outside the Concordia Hospital, Seven Oaks General Hospital, Victoria Hospital, Misericordia Hospital, at the Manitoba Legislature, and in Flin Flon.

“Our pickets today are to keep the pressure on the government by continuing to raise awareness against the cuts”, said CUPE 1550.

CUPE members from Locals 500, 998, 1599, 1973, and 2348 came out in support!

CUPE members were also joined by dozens of activists from sister unions, including Amalgamated Transit Union 1505, Canadian Postal Workers, Manitoba Association of Health Care Professionals, Manitoba Federation of Labour, Manitoba Government & General Employees Union, Manitoba Nurses Union, Public Service Alliance of Canada, Unifor, and Workers United.

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

 

CUPE stands in solidarity with Tolko workers in The Pas

It is with great dismay that CUPE has learned of the closing of the Tolko Industries paper and saw mill in The Pas, Manitoba, resulting in the loss of over 250 jobs.

While CUPE does not represent Tolko workers, we do understand the impact the closure of this plant will have on the community at large, and on individual families.

We echo the concerns of Unifor Locals 1403 and 302, which represents mill and office workers, as well as supervisors at Tolko Industries in The Pas.

“Our members who have loved ones working at Tolko will be hurt by this closure,” says Kelly Moist, President of CUPE Manitoba representing public sector workers in health care, education, and municipalities in The Pas and RM of Kelsey.

“For every good job lost in Manitoba’s North, there will be serious economic and social implications for the community as a whole, as well as on individual families”.

The recent news of the closure of the Port of Churchill further exacerbates the employment and economic crisis that is unfolding in Manitoba’s Northern communities.

Due to this closure, the Pas and RM of Kelsey will likely lose significant tax revenue generated by Tolko Industries that helps fund municipal services in the community.

CUPE Manitoba calls on the federal and provincial governments to act quickly to ensure good, stable jobs are available in Manitoba’s Northern communities, and to protect those workers and families facing impending layoffs.

2016 Manitoba Filipino Street Festival

Once again CUPE Manitoba will be participating in the Manitoba Filipino Street Festival!

10626355_921218504559297_302897637174016928_oWe will be marching in the parade, and we’ll also have a booth on-site during the festival.

If you’re interested in coming out, please let us know by emailing: cupemb@cupe.mb.ca

We’ll be meeting at 7:45 am to get our parade float ready, and the march starts at 9am! Feel free to join us!

The street festival this year takes place downtown, on Saturday, August 20th at 9am at Memorial Park (by the Legislature)

Thanks to all the Locals who have helped put this event together!

For more information visit:
http://filipinostreetfestival.ca/