CUPE Manitoba Recognizes National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

September 30th is the National Day for Truth & Reconciliation. CUPE Manitoba is committed to support reconciliation and justice for all Indigenous Peoples. It is also the tenth Orange Shirt Day, a chance to honour the memories of the Indigenous children whose lives were lost in the residential school system, and recognize the strength of the survivors and their families.

CUPE Manitoba is committed to decolonizing through leadership. Today, our members are honoured to join people throughout this province and our country on this day of reflection and learning. And we are committed to working year-round in pursuit of meaningful, lasting reconciliation.

Action is needed to honour the children who didn’t make it home. Click below to learn how to build meaningful ReconciliACTION into your Local:

#OrangeShirtDay #EveryChildMatters #NationalTRCDay

If you are a residential school survivor or family member and require emotional support, there is a 24-hour Residential School Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419.

Statement from CUPE Manitoba President Gina McKay on Premier Stefanson’s Truth and Reconciliation week political ad campaign

Image of Progressive Consevative "Stand Firm" election billboard

Photo Credit: Alex Karpa, Winnipeg City News


Any leader who chooses to launch ad campaigns to ‘stand firm’ against finding the remains of missing and murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two Spirit Persons during Truth and Reconciliation Week is not worthy of being elected to the highest office in the province.

As a proud Métis, I’d like to remind Premier Stefanson that Manitoba was founded by Métis leader Louis Riel. The contrast between his legacy and her choices this week make it clear, she is unfit to be the leader of this province. She’s not qualified to represent the First Nations, Inuit, Métis, and Indigenous people of Manitoba who deserve respect, justice, and a commitment to all calls to action for Truth and Reconciliation and to find Manitoba’s MMIWG2S.

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For information, contact: Katherine Norton, CUPE Communications at 306-510-6706

Indigenous Women’s Healing Centre staff ratify first Collective Agreement

Contract language includes paid days off for traditional Indigenous ceremony

Employees at the Indigenous Women’s Healing Centre in Winnipeg have ratified their first collective agreement with CUPE Local 2348.

“We are excited that this group now has the protection of a CUPE Collective Agreement” says Allen Bleich, CUPE National Servicing Representative.

“What’s more, this Collective Agreement has important contract language that recognizes traditional Indigenous ceremonies as a workplace right for staff”.

The new language, Article 21.13 Ceremonial Leave, allows “employees wishing to take part in traditional Indigenous ceremony(s) such as a Sundance or healing ceremony up to four (4) paid working days leave per calendar year, provided that such leave is authorized by the Employer in advance”.

The four days leave for Indigenous ceremony were a workplace policy prior to negotiating the new Collective Agreement, however moving the language from policy to being enshrined in the legal contract is an important step to ensuring these days cannot be taken away should management ever change.

“We are proud that our CUPE negotiating team bargained this important language into our contract,” says Joan Hay, Shop Steward for CUPE 2348 at the Indigenous Women’s Healing Centre.

“Reconciliation includes ensuring that our workplaces recognize Indigenous culture and tradition, and I am proud to be part of a member-driven union where we can prioritize and include Indigenous perspectives and traditions into our bargaining”.

The new contract also recognizes June 21, National Indigenous Peoples’ Day, and September 30, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Day as paid holidays for staff.

Including Indigenous traditions into Collective Agreements is not uncommon in CUPE, with language ranging from the inclusion of Indigenous Elders in the grievance and mediation process, to recognizing Indigenous bereavement practices.

The Indigenous Women’s Healing Centre works to support and strengthen Indigenous women and others on their journey of healing and recovery from family violence, addictions, intergenerational issues, and institutionalization.

CUPE represents approximately 40 staff who work as Case Managers, Counselors, Residential Support Workers, Maintenance, Practical Skills Workers, Healing plan Coordinators, Facilitators, Mentors, and Cultural Support Workers.

CUPE as an organization continues to learn, adapt, and grow in the journey towards true reconciliation. Contract language is one step, however we recognize that addressing the long-term impacts of colonization takes meaningful partnerships and continued action.

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 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:

Manitoba government offers responsible, visionary plan: CUPE

WINNIPEG – Manitoba’s NDP government has once again offered the province a progressive vision for the upcoming year in its annual speech from the throne, in what CUPE Manitoba is calling “a responsible and visionary plan.”

“The Manitoba government has offered an incredibly progressive plan that reflects the needs of a great cross-section of Manitobans” said Kelly Moist, President of CUPE Manitoba, “offering paid leave for victims of domestic violence, ensuring support for new refugees, confirming funding for Shoal Lake’s freedom road – this is the whole package.”

This year’s Throne Speech reflects the nation-wide calls for action on numerous key issues, both domestic and international, positioning Manitoba as a clear leader on social justice and progressive economic growth.

“After over a decade of steady growth and pragmatic stewardship over the economy, this government is well poised to tackle some pretty big issues” said Moist, “Manitobans expect a government that is both responsible and visionary, and that’s what today’s Throne Speech offers.”

Highlights of the Throne Speech include extending paid leave to victims of domestic violence, support for Syrian and other refugees, a renewed call for a  national inquiry on missing and murdered Indigenous women, a renewed commitment to building the Shoal Lake 40 freedom road, investments in infrastructure and rapid transit, stable funding for colleges and universities, and a commitment to building 12,000 affordable childcare spaces.

The Throne Speech further commits to protecting Manitoba’s crown corporations against privatization.

“While other provinces are recklessly privatizing their key assets, Manitoba’s NDP government has pledged to protect our important institutions” said Moist, “all we need to do is look to our east or west to see what Liberal and Conservative governments have to offer, and it’s not pretty.”

Additionally the Throne Speech continues the government’s steady funding towards health care, education, infrastructure, and improving long-term care, all of which affect the work that CUPE members perform daily

“As the union that represents workers in communities and workplaces across Manitoba, we are excited to work with this government as it turns its vision into reality,” said Moist, “today’s Throne Speech is a great launching point for a new, progressive plan for our province.”

Winnipeg’s municipal workers support Shoal Lake #40

WINNIPEG – The municipal workers who deliver Winnipeg’s water have joined those calling for the building of an all-weather access road to Shoal Lake #40 First Nation.

“It is unjust that the people who live in the community that sources our public water have been under a boil water advisory for 17 years and are often cut-off entirely from accessing clean water and public services” says Mike Davidson, President of CUPE Local 500. “As the workers who deliver this water to Winnipeggers, we feel that clean, public water should also be available to those who source it.”

On July 21, 2015, CUPE Manitoba officially endorsed the Shoal Lake #40 “Freedom Road” campaign by sending a letter to Chief Erwin Redsky indicating the support of Winnipeg’s municipal workers, as well as a letter to Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt urging him to act immediately to improve the living conditions of the people of Shoal Lake #40.

CUPE MB Aboriginal Council attended National Aboriginal Day, collecting petitions calling for clean water for all Aboriginal communities.

“We applaud the City of Winnipeg and Province of Manitoba for committing to help build a road to Shoal Lake” said Kelly Moist, President of CUPE Manitoba. “Everyone seems to acknowledge the urgency of this situation, except for the federal government.”

While the federal government refuses to commit funding to help Shoal Lake #40 gain access to potable water and services via an all-weather road, Canadians from all levels of civil society are taking initiatives to support the community – from petitions, to writing letters to Members of Parliament, to fundraising.

CUPE Local 500 has been outspoken against the privatization of water and wastewater treatment, and is a staunch advocate for continued investments in public water infrastructure.

“We all benefit from the clean, potable water provided to us by Shoal Lake” said Davidson. “It is unacceptable that this community should suffer on our behalf.”

Shoal Lake Facts

Shoal Lake #40 First Nation is located at the Manitoba-Ontario border south of the Trans-Canada highway. Shoal Lake has provided Winnipeg’s drinking water since 1919 via a 153 km aqueduct.

The population of Shoal Lake #40 is 270, and the community has been under a boil water advisory for the past 17 years. The community spends approximately $100,000 per year importing bottled water, despite supplying 700,000 Winnipeggers with water from the nearby lake and reservoir.

Currently there is no all-weather road access to the community, which must travel via boat during the summer, or cross the ice in the winter to fetch basic supplies and drinking water. At least 9 community members have died taking this journey.

ShoalidarityThe cost of building the all-weather “Freedom Road” to connect the community to the Trans-Canada highway is estimated at $30 million. All levels of government have committed $1m towards a road plan. The Province of Manitoba and the City of Winnipeg have each committed to contribute a share of the cost towards the project, but the federal government has not committed, leaving the community at risk.

CUPE believes that water is a basic human right. There are still far too many communities across Canada under boil water advisories, and CUPE will continue to push for safe, public drinking water for all.

CUPE Local 500 represents approximately 4,200 municipal workers in Winnipeg.

Letter to Chief Erwin Redsky

Download (PDF, 342KB)

Letter to Minister Valcourt

Download (PDF, 330KB)

Vigil for Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women – The Pas

CUPE Manitoba organized a vigil on October 4th in The Pas, Manitoba as part of the nation-wide day of action and remembrance for missing and murdered Aboriginal women. Over 200 vigils were organized across Canada through partnership with the Native Women’s Association of Canada.

The vigil in The Pas, located at the Clearwater Lake Pump House where Helen Betty Osborne was murdered in 1971, served as a stark reminder of the legacies and horrors of colonialism, racism, and misogyny faced by far too many Aboriginal women in Canada. The vigils also reignited calls on the Federal Government to implement a full public inquiry into the countless cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada.

CUPE Manitoba was honoured to have organized this event along-side the Opaskwayak Health Authority.

National Aboriginal Day – June 21

Click here to Download a PDF of the letter from CUPE National President, Paul Moist and CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer, Charles Fleury. – See more at:

National Aboriginal Day is a day for all Canadians to celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures, and outstanding achievements and contributions to Canada of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples.

June 21 was chosen because of the cultural significance of the summer solstice, the first day of summer and longest day of the year. Many aboriginal groups mark the date as a time to celebrate their heritage.

On June 21, all Local 500 members are encouraged to participate in the local events commemorating this day.

– See more at:

National Aboriginal Day is a day for all Canadians to celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures, and outstanding achievements and contributions to Canada of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples.

June 21 was chosen because of the cultural significance of the summer solstice, the first day of summer and longest day of the year. Many aboriginal groups mark the date as a time to celebrate their heritage.

On June 21, all members are encouraged to participate in the local events commemorating this day.

View below letter from CUPE National President Paul Moist:

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– See more at:

CUPE Manitoba Aboriginal Council and Common Causes: Idle No More

IMG_0822The CUPE Manitoba Aboriginal Council was proud to be invited to speak at the Idle No More #J28 demonstration and round dance at the Manitoba Legislature on January 28, 2013.

CUPE MB Aboriginal Council co-chair Sister Shirley Langan gave a strong message that movements must join together in Common Causes to fight back against the Harper Government’s politics of division.

“We know the hardships our working people face in the workplace, the discrimination that many aboriginal workers put up with day-by-day: before, during, and after work.” said Langan to the nearly 1,000 participants “This discrimination takes many faces: racism, wage differences, the way we are treated by our employer, and access to education.”

Sister Langan highlighted the importance of Common Causes as an assembly of social movements dedicated to defending democracy, the environment and human rights in the face of an all out assault by the Harper government.

“This government is practicing a cynical and divisive kind of politics where they set aboriginal peoples and non-aboriginal peoples against each other, just as they pit non-union workers against unionized workers.”

For more information on Common Causes, visit