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


Seven Oaks Hospital health care support staff to hold rally today

Winnipeg – health care support staff at Seven Oaks Hospital represented by CUPE Local 2509 are holding a rally on Thursday, April 20 at 11:30am in front of the Seven Oaks Hospital grounds.

“Health care support staff at Seven Oaks are outraged over the cuts to the hospital” says Shannon McAteer, CUPE Health Care Coordinator.

On Friday, April 7 the WRHA announced sweeping changes to Winnipeg’s health care system, including the closure of three Emergency Rooms and relocation of numerous other departments at Seven Oaks and other hospitals across the city.

“It’s not just about jobs, its about the programs that serve the community,” concludes McAteer.

“Removing Emergency Rooms, mental health programs, and other services from the entire North and North East part of the city is simply irresponsible.”

A rally was held at Concordia Hospital last week, and the Manitoba Nurses Union is holding another rally on April 26, as more and more health care workers are standing up to voice their concerns over the massive changes.

For more information contact: David Jacks, CUPE Communications: C. (204) 801-7339

Manitoba budget leaves doors wide open for privatization

Winnipeg – CUPE Manitoba is concerned that the provincial budget announced today leaves the door open for the unchecked privatization of public services and programs, while eroding existing public services.

The government recently announced that current P3 Accountability and Transparency legislation will be eliminated, and echoed this move in today’s budget.

CUPE MB President Kelly Moist speaking to the Canadian Press at the 2017 budget scrum

“This government insists that public transparency and accountability is a ‘regulatory burden’”, said Kelly Moist, President of CUPE Manitoba. “We believe the public has the right to know the details of private contracts that are receiving public dollars”.

The budget’s language of “new”, “innovative”, and “collaborative” approaches to the government’s long-term care investments is also concerning, considering this language is often double-speak for privatization.

“The province must invest in more public personal care home spaces and reject for-profit beds,” said Moist. “As more and more Manitobans move into personal care homes, we need to ensure a strong, fully public system is available to them so dollars go directly to the care Manitobans deserve, instead of private profit.”

There is no clear commitment that the 501 new childcare spaces announced in the budget will be fully public.

CUPE is also concerned with the continued emphasis on Social Impact Bonds as a medium to deliver public social services and programs.

“While the budget references a ‘Made in Manitoba’ Social Impact Bond program, there is very little detail in what programs and services will be affected,” said Moist. “We are pleased however that the government is interested in supporting community Social Enterprises, and hope the government continues to support community-led initiatives and leaves private for-profit corporations out of it”.

“The government has already broken it’s promise to protect public services and the workers who provide them by closing ERs, laying off hundreds of Hydro workers, and imposing wage freezes on workers province-wide” says Moist. “We need to strengthen – not cut or privatize – our programs and services and this budget does not give us much confidence”.

CUPE Local 1973 fights back against ER and program cuts

CUPE Local 1973 members took action today to protest the closure of programs at Concordia Hospital. Hundreds of members, residents from the community, and supporters from other unions showed up en-force in solidarity with Concordia health care workers.

CUPE local presidents from health care facilities from across Manitoba also showed up to support CUPE 1973. This is just the beginning of CUPE’s fight back for strong pubic health care in Manitoba, so lets keep up the pressure!

Check out some of the great media coverage from today’s rally!


Manitoba health care workers concerned with Pallister’s health care cuts

Health care workers in Manitoba are deeply concerned with the Progressive Conservatives’ approach to the province’s health care system.  Today’s announcement outlining the closure of emergency rooms at Concordia, Seven Oaks, and Victoria hospitals, and closing the urgent care centre at Misericordia, could potentially put public safety at risk, and is sending a shock-wave of uncertainty amongst the province’s health care workers.

“Closing ERs simply doesn’t make sense,” says Shannon McAteer, CUPE Health Care Coordinator.  “Manitobans expect access to emergency room services in their communities and closing them will make that access more difficult”.

Closing ERs is only the first step of a misguided approach to health care, leading to speculation on Pallister’s true health care agenda.

In Saskatchewan, health care restructuring resulted in cuts to services, privatized MRIs, and contracted-out laundry services – all of which has resulted in a weaker public health care system.

“Hospitals need more support, not less,” says McAteer.  “Today it’s cuts to emergency rooms, what will tomorrow bring?”

Already the provincial government has determined to cancel important health care infrastructure throughout Manitoba, and has stalled negotiations with the federal government on a renewed funding agreement for Manitoba.

“We are deeply concerned that this is only the thin edge of the wedge when it comes to Pallister’s radical approach to health care,” says McAteer.  “Canadians value a public, accessible, and universal health care system, and carving it into pieces is simply wrong”.

“Pallister promised to protect front line services, and now we see emergency  rooms and urgent care departments being shut down,” said McAteer.  “This is not protection, it is a broken promise”.

If you are a CUPE health care member, please see this additional information on how the changes affect you.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees is Canada’s largest union representing over 643,000 members.  In Manitoba, CUPE represents approximately 25,000 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.

Member Update on Government’s Plans for Wage Freezes and Caps, Health Care Bargaining Units

Today, the Pallister government unveiled plans to make sweeping changes that affect CUPE members.


The Canadian Union of Public Employees Manitoba is disappointed to see the government introduce heavy-handed legislation that would bypass the bargaining table and impose four years of wage freezes and caps on public sector workers. All public sector workers, including in health care, education, and social services like child and family services, would be affected.  Public sector workers entering into new collective agreements would see no wage increase in years 1 and 2, with a .75% increase in year 3 and a 1% increase in year 4. Existing collective agreement are not affected.

These wage freezes and caps would put workers behind, as they fall below increases in the cost of living. They will apply to the thousands of public sector workers who previously showed their willingness to be part of the solution, by agreeing – at the bargaining table – to two years of frozen wages already.

We know that bargaining is the proven way to find solutions that work for both employers and workers. We’d much rather try to work things out together, by talking and compromising at the bargaining table.

CUPE and other public sector unions, along with the Manitoba Federation of Labour, are willing to come to the table and are prepared to work constructively with the government to find solutions that will protect public services, and strengthen Manitoba’s economy for all.

Balancing the budget should not come at the expense of the public services so many families count on or the people who provide them.

Despite repeatedly saying that “it’s all hands on deck,” Premier Pallister last year allowed himself and his entire cabinet a 20 per cent increase in pay over the previous government. Balancing the budget just doesn’t seem to include the Premier or his cabinet.


The government also announced a total restructuring of health care bargaining units across Manitoba. The proposed legislation would establish one bargaining unit in each category of health care work, per health region (RHAs), plus Cancer Care Manitoba and Diagnostic Services Manitoba. A commissioner would oversee the reduction of health care bargaining units from 182 to less than 50.

All health care unions in Manitoba are facing the same challenges, and we are committed to working together.

CUPE will be working with the Manitoba Federation of Labour and other unions to analyze the new legislation, and we will continue to update members on the impact these changes may have on members.

We wish we could say that this won’t be a prolonged struggle, but we all know that it will be. Through it all, you can count on CUPE and the Manitoba Federation of Labour to keep the government’s feet to the fire and keep fighting for you and your family.




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.

Charleswood Care Centre Employees Hold Info Pickets

Winnipeg – Employees at Charleswood Care Centre are holding information pickets in an effort to raise public awareness that in Manitoba private, for-profit long-term care workers have very little financial security in retirement.


Members of CUPE Local 4281 rejected their employer’s final offer in a vote held in March 2016, and have been meeting with a provincial Conciliation Officer since in an effort to work towards securing a pension plan.


“The public understands that we need to support personal care home workers” states CUPE National Representative, Robyn Powell, “they are underpaid, overworked, and after decades of caring for the elderly, they too deserve dignity, security and respect in their golden years”.


Represented by CUPE Local 4281, employees at Charleswood Care Centre are health care aides, dietary aides, laundry and housekeeping aides, cooks, and recreation workers.


Meetings with a Conciliation Officer are scheduled for May 20th, to attempt to reach a fair deal, but public support is very important to staff.


Charleswood Care Centre is owned and operated by Revera Inc., which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the federal Public Sector Pension Investment Board. Many Revera facilities across Ontario are members of the Nursing Home and Related Industries Pension Plan (NHRIPP), while facilities such as Charelswood Care Centre here in Manitoba, are members of a group RRSP plan. CUPE is proposing that current employer and employee RRSP contributions instead be directed to the NHRIPP.


“We want to see staff at Charleswood rolled into the same plan that many Revera employees in Ontario belong to,” says Powell. “The pension plan structure already exists, but for some reason Revera is opposed to its employees in Manitoba being members of a pension plan, and that needs to change”.


Information pickets will take place outside Charleswood Care Centre at 5501 Roblyn Blvd. on Monday, May 16th throughout the day from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm.