Manitoba budget step in the right direction to improve public services – CUPE Manitoba

Gina McKay speaks to media at the Manitoba Budget

Winnipeg, Treaty 1 – Manitoba’s largest union is applauding the NDP government’s first budget, which should help address chronic understaffing in healthcare, childcare, municipal services, and education.

“Hiring 600 health care aides will help fill the staffing holes created by the previous government”, said Gina McKay, President of CUPE Manitoba. “We hear every day from health care support staff across Manitoba who are calling for backup, and now the help is coming”.

The budget includes beginning new Emergency Rooms at the Victoria Hospital and in Eriksdale. The new budget also aims to address the long-standing issue of staffing shortages in long-term care.

“Increasing the direct hours of care in long term care will ensure residents get the care they need”, said McKay. “We would like to see minimum standards legislated, so facilities are legally required to ensure adequate levels of care at all times”.

CUPE Manitoba is also pleased that the two new schools planned for Winnipeg will not be using the P3 model (Public-Private Partnership) – a model that has failed elsewhere in Canada. CUPE members in Brandon mobilized against proposed P3 schools under the previous government.

“CUPE is relieved that the Minister of Education has made the right call in ensuring our new schools are fully public,” said McKay. “Public-Private Partnerships have ultimately cost taxpayers more in other jurisdictions, and we are glad this government is being fiscally prudent”.

The budget also ends the long-standing freeze on municipal funding, which should help municipalities across the provinces invest in community services. This includes new funding for a public library strategy. CUPE expects that new infrastructure projects, including wastewater treatment upgrades will not be done using the P3 model.

The NDP budget is “night and day” when compared to the previous PC government’s austerity agenda, and takes steps to address issues of social inequality in Manitoba.

“The government is moving forward on important initiatives including increased supports for disABILITY services, a safe consumption site, and taking steps on MMIWG2S+ such as searching the Prairie Green landfill,” said McKay. “This government is making it clear that they will listen to equity-seeking groups and act, we look forward to continue to be at the table”.

Highlights for CUPE members include:

Health care

  • 600 health care aides hired for home care, personal care homes, hospitals, and community care.
  • A new Emergency Room at the Victoria Hospital, and new Mature Women’s Centre.
  • Beginning phase one of a new Emergency Room in Eriksdale.
  • New personal care homes in Lac du Bonnet, Aarborg, and Winnipeg.
  • New Seniors’ Advocate (CUPE has been calling for this since 2013).
  • Addition of acute and lower-acuity beds in Brandon, Selkirk, ad Winnipeg.
  • Institutional Safety Officers in health care settings, who are CUPE members.
  • Improving medical transportation and MRI coverage for rural and Northern Manitoba.

Child Care and Education

  • Increased funding for K-12 education by 3.4%.
  • $3 million to help reduce class sizes in K-3.
  • Two new schools in Winnipeg, which will include childcare centres.
  • $20.9 million to support new child-care spaces and increase of $5 million in new provincial funding for wages for child care workers and staffing childcare spaces.
  • The provincial government is not pursuing the P3 model for the new schools.
  • $104.2 million in education funding, including $30 million for a universal school nutrition program.
  • Expanding $10/day daycare to non-school days, including in-service days, spring and summer breaks.

Social Services and Equity

  • Increase of nearly $20 million for Community Living disABILITY services.
  • New supervised consumption site, addiction treatment beds, and harm reduction services.
  • Searching the Prairie Green landfill for the remains of Morgan Harris, Marcedes Myran and Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe (Buffalo Woman).
  • Funding for new social and affordable housing units, and $5 million for new incentives to end chronic homelessness.


  • Lifting the municipal funding freeze, including an increase of $51.6 million to operating grants and $7.3 million to capital grants.
  • Funding for recreation including in Thompson, Brandon, and Lorette.
  • $1.2 million for new public libraries funding model, including new money for rural and Northern libraries.

More information and the full budget document can be found here.


President McKay and MFL President Kevin Rebeck
President McKay and Local 204 President Margaret Schroeder

Strike at Ten Ten Sinclair ends, workers achieve significant gains – CUPE

Health care workers at Ten Ten Sinclair have voted 97% to accept a new deal after four years without a new contract.

“Front-line health care support workers at Ten Ten Sinclair stood up and demanded fair wage increases and won,” said Gina McKay, President of CUPE Manitoba. “After over two weeks on strike, these workers have achieved significant gains, and are heading back to work to care for the people they love”.

The new contract includes general wage increases, wage adjustments, an additional pay step, a long-service premium, double overtime rates, and significantly increased shift premiums. Workers will be receiving significant retro-pay and a signing bonus.

During the term of the contract, the top rate for a trained health care aide will increase from $18.06/hour to $22.54/hour, an improvement of $4.48. All health care workers will receive a minimum cumulative wage increase of over 20% by 2025.

When you include the value of the long-service step and shift premiums, long-serving health care aides will see their compensation increase by over 30% during the six-year agreement.

The new agreement also includes a Memorandum of Understanding to continue discussions between CUPE, Ten Ten Sinclair, and the WRHA on the facilities status in the WRHA.  CUPE will continue to advocate that Ten Ten Sinclair be recognized as a health care site that is covered under both health care essential services and WRHA “central table” health care bargaining.

“The strike at Ten Ten Sinclair really highlighted the value of front-line health care support workers, and the diverse needs of Manitobans in the health care system,” says McKay.

“We are inspired by the courage of these workers in stepping up and fighting for the benefit of all health care workers and the Manitobans they care for, and we are grateful for the tenants of Ten Ten Sinclair and the public for their support”.

CUPE will work with Ten Ten Sinclair on facilitating workers schedules to return to work. The strike is officially over.

CUPE 4376 and 2348 represent approximately 160 workers at Ten Ten Sinclair Inc.

Winnipeg Health Care Workers on Strike

WINNIPEG, Treaty 1 – The largest health care strike in Manitoba in over a decade began on Wednesday, March 6 at 12:00 am, with 160 health care support workers at Ten Ten Sinclair Inc. officially on strike.

“After all they’ve been through, these health care workers are literally being left out in the cold”, said Gina McKay, President of CUPE Manitoba.

“It is 2024, and no health care worker in Manitoba should be left behind. We are calling on the WRHA to step up immediately and support these front-line workers”.

Negotiations continued into the night on March 5, but the WRHA and employer were unable to provide a fair deal for the health care workers by the midnight strike deadline.

Due to the previous government’s attack on public services, workers at Ten Ten Sinclair have seen their wages increase by only 1.75% since 2016, while the cost of living has increased by 25%.

Health care aides at Ten Ten Sinclair are making less than other health care workers across the WRHA.

“Everything wrong in health care in Manitoba is manifesting itself at Ten Ten Sinclair: rather than paying experienced workers a fair wage that helps with recruitment and retention, we are seeing health care workers forced out on strike and replaced by private agency workers,” said McKay.

“The government and WRHA had a real opportunity to show front-line health care workers that they matter, but these health care workers are being left out in the cold – it is truly disappointing”.

Pickets are beginning at 10 am, March 6, at 1010 Sinclair Street in Winnipeg.
Approximately 160 health care workers and supervisors will be on strike, the majority are health care aides.

Ten Ten Sinclair Inc. is a non-profit organization supporting people living with disabilities and other challenges, and receives funding from the WRHA.

The last major strike in health care took place in 2013 at Vista Park Lodge in Winnipeg.

Health Care Workers at Ten Ten Sinclair Set Strike Date

WINNIPEG – Approximately 160 health care workers at Ten Ten Sinclair Inc. have set a strike date of March 6, 2024, calling on the independent living organization to offer front-line staff fair wages.

“Health care support staff at Ten Ten Sinclair have been working tirelessly to support our community, but are being treated like they don’t matter,” said Gina McKay, President of CUPE Manitoba. “These workers provide front-line health care to persons living with disabilities, with mental health challenges, and others in our community who need the support, and they deserve to be treated fairly”.

Staff at Ten Ten Sinclair were subject to the previous government’s wage freeze, and with the rising cost of living these workers are being left far behind other health care workers.

“All the staff at Ten Ten Sinclair want is to be recognized for the work they do every day, including throughout the pandemic,” said McKay. “No health care worker should be left behind”.

CUPE Locals 4376 and 2348 are preparing for strike action and are planning information pickets outside the main facility at 1010 Sinclair Ave in the coming weeks.

“We don’t want a strike to happen, but at the end of the day these CUPE members are standing up for what’s right: fairness for health care support workers,” said McKay. “It’s time to care for the workers who provide care, and we are calling on Ten Ten Sinclair and the government to support these critical front-line health workers”.

Ten Ten Sinclair Inc. is a non-profit organization that receives funding from the WRHA.

CUPE Manitoba welcomes new federal-provincial health commitments

Winnipeg, Treaty 1 ¬¬– The union that represents 18,000 health care support workers in the WRHA, Shared Health, Northern Regional Health Authority, and Southern Health-Santé Sud is welcoming the new federal funding commitments for health care.

“Health care support workers are the pillars of the health care system, but are often left without much support,” said Gina McKay, President of CUPE Manitoba. “Funding that focuses on recruitment and retention for health care support workers and others in health care is critical to ensuring quality health services and staff who feel supported”.

The announcement included the Working Together agreement of $434 million over three years that includes adding more support staff, doctors, and nurses, and specifically mentions the importance of recruitment and retention of health care workers.

“18,000 health care support workers represented by CUPE in Manitoba are about to enter negotiations to ask for fair wages and stronger supports in the workplace,” said McKay. “The previous government in Manitoba did little to support health care workers, and even tried imposing a wage freeze on them, so we are relieved that the federal government and new NDP provincial governments recognize the importance of recruiting and retaining health care workers”.

CUPE Manitoba also applauds the new Aging with Dignity agreement of $199 million in funding over five years to expand home, community health, and long-term care, as well as dementia programming.

“Supporting public home care and public long-term care is critical to ensuring our seniors, older persons, and elders can live with dignity, and hiring 100 new public home care workers is welcome,” said McKay. “There has been a growing number of for-profit home care agencies and long-term care facilities in Manitoba, and we are pleased to hear Premier Kinew commit to funding universal public health care, and supporting the staff who work tirelessly for our community”.

CUPE Manitoba looks forward to working with the provincial government as a key stakeholder in the rollout of the new funding for health care.

Learn more about the announcement here.

Health Care Support Workers’ Week: October 16 – 20, 2023

CUPE is celebrating the work of its thousands of members in health care support roles across Manitoba. The Manitoba Government officially proclaimed October 16 – 20 as Health Care Support Workers’ Week. 

Health care support workers keep our health care system working, and are a critical part of the health care team,” stated Gina McKay, President of CUPE Manitoba. “This week is a special week to recognize each and every health care support worker in every community across Manitoba”.

This week also falls on the official swearing-in week of Manitoba’s newly elected provincial government. CUPE Manitoba is hopeful that this new government will address the chronic issues facing Manitoba’s health care support workers, including the ongoing staffing crisis that impacts long term care, acute care, and home care.

“The past seven years under Brian Pallister and Heather Stefanson have been difficult for health care support workers,” said McKay. “Health care workers are looking forward to a government that listens and takes the concerns of workers across Manitoba seriously”.

LISTEN to our radio ad, airing across Manitoba:

READ the Proclamation (English) Proclamation (French)
Letter from government to CUPE: Letter from Honourable Audrey Gordon, (former) Minister of Health

The Canadian Union of Public Employees is Canada’s largest union representing more than 715,000 members. In Manitoba, CUPE represents approximately 37,000 members working in health carefacilities, personal care homes, school divisions, municipal services, social services, child care centres, public utilities, libraries and family emergency services.

Brandon Clinic shuts down walk-in services

The Brandon Clinic informed CUPE Local 2096 and the Brandon community that the walk-in clinic will be closed, effective July 4, 2023.

“Walk-in services at the Brandon Clinic are yet another victim of the provincial government’s inability to attract and retain doctors and other health care workers to Manitoba” said Gina McKay, President of CUPE Manitoba.

The Brandon Clinic issued a memo to the community, indicating that this closure is a direct result of “severe family physician shortages”.

“Closing the walk-in clinic will put further stress on the Brandon Hospital which is already short-staffed and overwhelmed,” said Dawna Klemick, President of CUPE Local 2096 representing 44 health care workers including nurses, at the Brandon Clinic.

“We’ve already lost nurses at the Brandon Clinic in recent weeks, and now the community is really being left out in the cold, it is unacceptable, and the province has to do something to address the health care staffing crisis in Manitoba”.

Brandon Clinic is one of Westman’s largest medical clinics that includes walk-in services that serve the entire region.

For information, contact:  David Jacks, CUPE Communications at 204-801-7339

Brandon Clinic Lays Off Nurses

BRANDON, TREATY 2 – Today the Brandon Clinic informed CUPE Local 2096 that seven health care workers are being laid off due to funding constraints, in what is being described as a shock to the community in Brandon.

“There is no legitimate reason that nurses at Brandon Clinic should be receiving layoff notices, especially with the critical shortage of health workers across Manitoba,” said Gina McKay, President of CUPE Manitoba.

These staff, which include five full-time nurses, one casual nurse, and one transcription position, provide important health services for the community, including biopsies, excisions, mental health exams, dressings, pediatric support and so much more.

“We have no shortage of work at the Brandon Clinic, and the news of layoffs comes as a huge shock,” said Dawna Klemick, President of CUPE Local 2096 representing forty-four health care workers including nurses, at the Brandon Clinic.  “This is certainly going to impact the community since other health services are already overwhelmed – where are people going to go?”

Brandon Clinic is one of Westman’s largest medical clinics that includes walk-in services that serve the entire region.

“Brandon is an important hub for Manitoba health care.  Cuts and closures in the Westman area have a significant impact on patients and health care facilities across the province,” said Thomas Linner, Provincial Director of the Manitoba Health Coalition (MHC).  “Unfortunately, the Manitoba government has focused on providing tax cuts of over $1 billion – mostly to the wealthiest individuals and corporations doing business in Manitoba – instead of investing in health care in communities like Brandon.”

CUPE Manitoba and MHC are calling on the provincial government to work with the Brandon Clinic and ensure that these layoff notices are withdrawn so that the staff can get back to work for the community they care for.

Home Care is in Crisis, the Time to Fix it is Now

CUPE Manitoba has launched an email petition calling on the Stefanson Conservatives to address the crisis in Home Care.

This Home Care petition follows the ongoing Health Care and Anti-Privatization petitions on our We Work for Manitoba website that have seen more than 10,000 emails sent to the Premier, to government Ministers, and to local MLA’s.

Please sign the petition to Fix the Crisis in Home Care and share it on social media. We invite all CUPE Local leaders in Manitoba to promote the petition with your membership.

Throne Speech Response, CUPE Manitoba President Gina McKay

CUPE Manitoba President Gina McKay offers the following response to today’s Manitoba Throne Speech:

Today’s Throne Speech was a disappointment. Not only did the government fail to introduce the concrete measures that are needed to improve health care, they are making things worse by prioritizing the privatization of Manitoba’s public services. 

The government wants to convince Manitobans that by expanding private delivery of diagnostic testing and surgeries that they can speed up wait times, but this simply isn’t true. There isn’t an untapped source of health care professionals waiting to operate these private clinics. If there was, they would be hired already. Any capacity added by private clinics will come at the expense of public operations.

There was absolutely nothing in today’s throne speech about investments’ in our public education system. After years of struggle through the COVID-19 pandemic, students and education workers were looking for real commitments to improve our schools. But the message from Premier Stefanson was clear – students, teachers, and education workers are on their own.

There was discussion of new jobs, but a focus on private business investments and private sector opportunities was at the core of each announcement. We need the Manitoba government to commit to, and invest in, public service workers in all public sector work – including those noted today in the Throne Speech: libraries, schools, health care, child care, and social services.

It is crucial for the Manitoba government to ensure services are publicly funded, and not through private sector contributions that have returns on their investments. There should never be corporate monetary returns on public service work. 

This was a concerning Throne Speech from a tired government that’s run out of ideas and is gearing up to line the pockets of private investors. If anything, the pandemic should have taught us the value of our public services. But this government has a neoliberal agenda that looks for profits before quality health care, education, and public services. 

Manitoba’s public services are not for sale, and CUPE members in our province work for Manitoba. The 2023 election cannot come soon enough.