Dates set for health care union representation votes, August 8 to August 22, 2019

Dates set for health care union representation votes, August 8 to August 22, 2019
CUPE to Pallister: health care workers deserve a break

Today the Commissioner responsible for the implementation of the Health Sector Bargaining Unit Review Act (HSBURA) announced the dates of union representation votes, a move by this government that CUPE continues to claim is an unnecessary disruption to health care.

“The Pallister government is throwing another wrench into an already strained health care system,” said Shannon McAteer, CUPE Health Care Coordinator. “Health care workers across Manitoba deserve a break, yet this government continues to pile on uncertainty, stress and chaos.”

HSBURA was enacted in 2018, and forces health care workers to choose which union will represent them into the next round of contract negotiations. Bargaining has been stalled in Manitoba until the results of these representation votes.

“CUPE is Canada’s largest health care union and we will stay focused on fighting Pallister’s health care cuts and defending our members in the workplace,” said McAteer. “We also want to focus on the future, and that future is bargaining a strong contract for our health care members and getting them the respect they deserve”.

The union that gets the most votes in each of the 18 health care votes taking place across the province will be certified to represent those workers. The winning union in each bargaining unit will then bring its largest collective agreement into the next round of bargaining. If CUPE wins the votes, CUPE will be bringing the strongest health care contracts in the province to the table.

“CUPE’s health care contracts are the strongest in Manitoba, with good pensions and benefits for all of our hard working health care members” said McAteer. “CUPE has a no-concessions bargaining policy and a $100 million strike fund, so we are ready to bargain strong in health care.”

DETAILS:

Voting dates will take place between August 8 and August 22, 2019.

Notice Period: June 13 – July 10
– Voters lists will continue to be reviewed.
– A letter to all affected employees with information about the votes will be delivered between July 9 and July 19.

Campaign Period:
July 11 – August 7
– This includes an opportunity to meet with CUPE in kiosks at various sites.
– Voters will be provided with a Personal Identification Number (PIN).
– A voter help desk will be available.

Voting Period:
August 8 – August 22
– Voting will begin at 12:00 noon on August 8, and end 12:00 noon on August 22nd
– Voting will be available 24 hours a day online or by touchtone phone, in English and French.
– Once voting concludes, the results will be tabulated and released.

CUPE is committed to following the campaign rules established by the Commissioner, and we will continue to provide information to all health care workers about the impact the Health Sector Bargaining Unit Review Act will have in the workplace.

CUPE wants all members to know that while these votes are taking place, CUPE will continue to prioritize fighting for you in the workplace. We know health care workers are going through a difficult time, and we’re committed to being with you, for you at work.

CUPE is ready to fight for all health care workers.

CUPE represents 680,000 members across Canada, including 162,000 health care workers, and approximately 11,600 health care workers here in Manitoba.

Learn more about CUPE and the representation votes at: http://cupehealthcare.ca

 

Urgent Care at Concordia response to community mobilizing: now it’s time to end the chaos in health care

It’s time to end the chaos in health care says CUPE Local 204 President Debbie Boissonneault, in response to the government’s announcement that the Concordia Hospital Emergency Room will be converted to an Urgent Care Centre within the next five weeks. CUPE Local 204 represents 7,000 health care workers across Winnipeg.

“CUPE members and the community fought to stop the closure of the Concordia ER,” said Boissonneault. “It’s because of this pressure that the hospital will now have an Urgent Care Centre instead of the government’s plan for nothing. We deserve to know the government’s long-term plan for properly-resourced public health care. It is crucial that the government confirms that this decision to make Concordia into an Urgent Care Centre will last past the next election.”

“This government is playing political games with our health care system, and health care workers are at a tipping point,” said Boissonneault. “Staff have been doing everything possible to care for patients during the rushed and disruptive implementation of the government’s plans, but worker fatigue and morale have become a real concern”.

Since the Pallister government announced its restructuring plans, including the closure of Emergency Rooms at the Concordia Hospital, Seven Oaks Hospital and the Victoria Hospital in 2017, the WRHA has been implementing system-wide staff restructuring to accommodate the changes.

Added Boissonneault: “CUPE is calling on the government to fully reverse its decision to close the Concordia and Seven Oaks Emergency Rooms. It’s time to end the chaos in health care.”

CUPE 204 President Debbie Boissonneault confronted Minister Friesen and demanded a meeting to discuss CUPE’s ongoing concerns with the cavalier changes to the health care system.

CUPE 204’s Letter to Minister Friesen re: health care changes

CUPE Local 204 represents approximately 7,000 health care workers across Winnipeg, including support staff at Concordia Hospital, Seven Oaks Hospital, Grace Hospital, and HSC.

Pallister government’s Bill 29 will disrupt health care, CUPE

CUPE proposes solutions to make health care bargaining more efficient

WINNIPEG – The Pallister government has proclaimed Bill 29, The Health Sector Bargaining Unit Review Act, an unnecessary step that will further disrupt the health care system following a year of upheaval, says CUPE, which represents 11,500 health care workers in Manitoba.

Over the past year, the government has cut health care funding, forced disruptive restructuring including deletions and layoffs on front-line workers, has closed ERs, shuttered Urgent Care Centres, axed health programs, and ignored growing health issues across Manitoba.

CUPE has consistently cautioned that so many cuts and changes will put patient care at risk.

“The last thing health care workers need right now is more uncertainty,” said Shannon McAteer, CUPE Health Care Coordinator. “Health care workers are already working short, feeling disrespected by this government, and now they are being given one more obstacle while they try to do their jobs.” There is a better way, says CUPE.

In response to the government’s concerns that health care has “too many bargaining units”, 7,000 CUPE health care members formed CUPE Local 204, a single union local that represents 20 health care facilities in Winnipeg and Manitoba, including hospitals, personal care homes, community clinics, health care programs, and more. This was done without disrupting health care, and at no cost to government.

CUPE has also proposed a bargaining council, where each union would continue to represent its workers under a single collective agreement.

“We can be innovative,” said McAteer. “We have shown that. We can show it again.”

Unfortunately, the Minister of Health has not responded to CUPE’s request for a meeting to discuss alternatives to Bill 29.

“We have viable solutions for government,” said McAteer. “Unfortunately, this isn’t a government that meets with stakeholders. This isn’t a government that listens, but there is still time to meet and discuss. We are open to that.”

CUPE is a strong health care union representing 150,000 health care workers across Canada, and over 11,500 in Manitoba.

CUPE welcomes Flight Medics/Nurses at Vanguard Air as newest members

CUPE is pleased to welcome Flight Medics/Nurses at Vanguard Air Care Inc. as the newest members of our union!

Paramedics and Nurses at Vanguard Air provide 24-hour service in Manitoba with locations in Norway House, Thompson, Island Lake, and Winnipeg.

“All workers in Manitoba deserve a safe work environment and a strong union to represent them in the workplace,” said Terry Egan, President of CUPE Manitoba.

“We are proud that Flight Medics/Nurses at Vanguard Air chose CUPE as their voice at work, and we are committed to representing them!”

The Canadian Union of Public Employees is Canada’s largest union representing more than 643,000 members. 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.

Put the brakes on Pallister plan for health care changes: CUPE

The Provincial Government has finally released the Wait Times Reduction Task Force final report dated November 2017, eight months after the government announced the closure of Emergency Departments and Urgent Care centres in hospitals across Winnipeg.

“The Report suggests that the government’s decision in April 2016 to shut ERs was rushed,” says Debbie Boissonneault, President of CUPE 204 representing health care workers across Winnipeg, including at Concordia Hospital, Grace Hospital, Seven Oaks General Hospital, and Health Sciences Centre.

CUPE members at Seven Oaks Hospital protest government’s plans to close the ER & ICU, April 20, 2017

“As front-line workers, we believe that any changes to the health care system must be done carefully, putting patient care first.”

The report notes that closing the Concordia and Seven Oaks Emergency Departments (EDs) should be delayed, in particular “if the ED at Seven Oaks General Hospital were to close at the same time as the full closure of Concordia Hospital ED, it would put a monumental burden on the remainder of Winnipeg’s EDs”.

“Our primary concern as health care workers is how patients are affected by these changes,” said Boissonneault.

“CUPE and the authors of the report share the concern that rushed, ill-conceived changes could result in harm.”

The report also highlights concerns that “rapid implementation of consolidation will place a major stress on current resources”.

The Regional Health Authorities have been mandated to find millions in “savings” while the government is implementing recommendations from the Peachy Report, the KPMG Report, and the Wait Times Reduction Task Force report.

The KPMG consulting report pushes rapid changes to the health care system while the Wait Times Reduction Task Force, with medical doctors at the helm, cautions to “hasten slowly”.

“We are already experiencing the additional stress on health care staff in facilities across the province due to all these changes happening at once and the mixed messages from government,” said Boissonneault.  “There are numerous different reports being implemented in-part or in-full at the same time, and there seems to be no coherent plan on how these changes will impact patient care.”

One positive aspect of the Wait Times Reduction Task Force is an emphasis on social determinants of health, which include poverty, living conditions, and other socio-economic factors that impact the well-being of communities.

“We are pleased to see that the report emphasizes government action on inequity in our society,” says Boissonneault.  “Whether this government is willing to address these deeper issues in health care is still left to be seen.”

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 presents to the Standing Committee on Legislative Affairs on Bill 24

CUPE Manitoba President Terry Egan and CUPE Local 500 President Gord Delbridge made presentations to the Standing Committee on Legislative Affairs on Bill 24, The Red Tape Reduction and Government Efficiency Act which aims to eliminate The Public-Private Partnerships Transparency and Accountability Act.

“When this government was elected, one of it’s key messages to the public was that it was going to improve transparency,” CUPE Manitoba President Terry Egan told the committee.

“Eliminating the P3 Transparency and Accountability Act is moving in the complete opposite direction”.

“I worked on the front-line in a Winnipeg school, its where I spent my entire career,” said Egan. “So this announcement came as a total shock to me. I wondered who on Broadway could come up with this backwards idea, and why”, referencing the Pallister government’s plans to build new schools in Manitoba under a P3 model while at the same time eliminating the P3 Transparency and Accountability Act.

CUPE 500 President Gord Delbridge provided the committee with numerous examples from across Canada where P3s have failed, and emphasized the importance of strong P3 accountability legislation.

“Rather than throwing out this legislation, we ask this government to instead turn its mind to improving The Public-Private Partnerships Transparency and Accountability Act to ensure even more transparency and better oversight of P3’s from the beginning to the end of the end of P3 projects,” said Delbridge.

“While some may call this red tape – most Manitobans would call this common sense”.

Read CUPE Manitoba and CUPE Local 500’s presentations:

CUPE Manitoba P3 Speaking Notes
CUPE Local 500 Speaking Notes

Contact HEPP to oppose changes to the Healthcare Employees’ Pension Plan

All health care workers in Manitoba who are part of the Healthcare Employees’ Pension Plan (HEPP) have received or will be receiving a letter indicating that HEPP will be making changes to the plan.

CUPE is opposed to the changes to the plan.

It is CUPE’s national policy to oppose two-tier pensions and benefits.

The creation of a two-tier pension will create division and inequity between current and future plan members.

The changes will also force some members to delay or change their retirement plans.

We believe that HEPP is a healthy, well-funded plan, and that these changes are not necessary.

We encourage CUPE members to visit the HEPP website (hebmanitoba.ca), carefully review the letter you will be receiving from HEPP, and call HEPP if you have any questions about changes they are making to the plan.

CONTACT HEPP

In Winnipeg please call (204) 942-6591

Toll free: 1-888-842-4233.

Email: info@hebmanitoba.ca

EMAIL HEPP AND TELL THEM WHY YOU OPPOSE THE CHANGES!
You can either submit the pre-written email (click “read the petition”, you can amend it to write your own!)

I oppose changes to HEPP

To: Healthcare Employees Pension Plan

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254 signatures

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Two-tier pension benefits the wrong direction for health care workers: CUPE

WINNIPEG – The Canadian Union of Public Employees is speaking out against changes to the Healthcare Employees’ Pension Plan (HEPP) announced on October 17, 2017.

“The changes to the plan announced today may force some health care workers to delay or change their retirement plans, and creates an unnecessary division between existing plan members and the future generation of health care workers,” says Shannon McAteer CUPE’s Health Care Coordinator.

“Two-tier pension plans are unfair to future members of the plan, and disproportionately affect newcomer or younger members of the workforce who are just starting their careers in health care in Manitoba.”

The Health Care Employee Benefit Plans (HEB Manitoba) which administers HEPP announced their decision to eliminate all supplementary and bridge benefits for new members after January 1, 2018, creating a two-tier plan with reduced benefits for new employees, among other changes to the plan.

“Health care staff work tirelessly every single day to support the health and well-being of the people of Manitoba,” said McAteer. “A strong workplace pension plan like HEPP is critical in recruiting and retaining health care workers in Manitoba, and with so much uncertainty in health care these days its unfortunate that health care workers now have one more thing to worry about”.

CUPE issued a letter to HEB Manitoba in response to these changes and is calling for a meeting with HEB Manitoba to open discussions on the governance structure of the plan and how these decisions are made to ensure better transparency for CUPE members who are members of the plan.

CUPE members are encouraged to contact HEPP for more information on the changes.

We also have an email petition for members to fill out to express their opposition to HEPP’s changes.