Health Care Bargaining Update, April 21, 2022

CUPE met with the Provincial Health Labour Relations Services (PHLRS) on April 20, 2022 and have confirmed Mr. Arne Peltz as the mediator.

The first dates available to meet with Mr. Peltz to begin the process are May 24-27, 2022.  The next available mediation dates will be in mid-June.  More dates will be booked as they become available.

 

Until mediation begins, CUPE and the PHRLS will continue to meet to finalize negotiation of the letters of understanding and any changes to the pension and benefits articles.  This will include discussions about including anyone not currently in the HEB Manitoba pension and benefits plan, being brought into HEB Manitoba.  Riverview Health Centre will remain with the City of Winnipeg plans.

 

Why are we going to mediation?

Mediation is a common part of the negotiating process.  The Manitoba Nurses’ Union (MNU) was able to finalize their collective agreement through mediation also using Mr. Peltz as the mediator.  We are going to mediation because CUPE and the Employer are very far apart on certain proposals.  The Bargaining Council has heard the membership and are committed to getting the best collective agreement possible.  We believe that with the assistance of Mr. Peltz that we will be able to achieve a collective agreement that leaves no health care worker behind.

 

The outstanding language is about vacation (single days vs. blocks), union representation at meetings, how STATs will be taken, how overtime and pick up shifts will be awarded (seniority vs. equitable), and bumping.

 

Will I still get to vote on the proposed new collective agreement?

Yes.  Any agreement reached through mediation will still be voted on by the members.  Everything that has been agreed-to prior to mediation will not be a part of the mediation process.

 

What happens if we don’t get a collective agreement through mediation?

If we are unable to get a collective agreement through mediation and our continued negotiations, CUPE could officially serve notice to strike.  We must provide seven (7) days notice to go on strike.  If this should happen, we will notify the members when the decision is made to serve notice.

 

Please make sure we have your most recent contact information, including cell phone number and personal email.  We do not use work contact information to reach you for union business.

Manitoba Budget Continues to Fall Short

WINNIPEG – The 2022 Manitoba budget continues to put public services at risk, says CUPE Manitoba.

“Manitobans expect to see a budget that protects the public services they rely on,” says
Gina McKay, President of CUPE Manitoba.  “This government continues to cut taxes for ideological reasons rather than fully supporting our schools and health care facilities.”

CUPE is concerned that the government’s plan to reach a balanced budget by 2028 will come on the backs of Manitoba workers and public services families rely on.

“The government spent years cutting health care and eliminating full-time jobs, and now they pat themselves on the backs for this year’s budget,” added McKay.  “Manitobans won’t forget how this government decimated our health care system.”

“We are also deeply concerned that the government will look to privatizing, contracting out, and selling off public services in order to balance their budget,” says McKay.

“We are pleased that the government is providing wage support for community living workers,” says McKay. CUPE joined with MGEU and UFCW in a public campaign to call on the government to increase support for these critical workers.

“We need a government that takes bold steps to support public services, especially during a pandemic that is not yet over,” says McKay.  “This budget doesn’t do that.”

CUPE will continue to analyze the budget.

 

Manitoba government fails to address systemic staffing shortages in long-term care

Winnipeg – Today the Manitoba Government announced new funding towards staffing in long-term care facilities, but fails to address systemic staffing shortages for Manitoba’s care homes, according to CUPE.

“While we welcome additional funding for long term care staffing, the government has missed this moment in time to address systemic staffing shortages across long-term and seniors’ care” said Gina McKay, President of CUPE Manitoba.

“The government continues to refuse to legislate mandatory minimum staffing requirements in care homes, despite numerous calls for strong legislation that would ensure no senior is left without care”.

CUPE Manitoba wrote a letter to the Minister of Health at the onset of the pandemic advancing key recommendations on behalf of long-term care support workers, including minimum staffing requirements.

In 2020, NDP health care critic Uzoma Asagwara also introduced legislation, which was filibustered by the PC government.

“The Manitoba government needs to legislate these minimum staffing levels so no care home, private or public, can operate without enough workers,” said McKay.

CUPE Manitoba commissioned a poll in December 2020 through Probe Research, which found 94% of Manitobans support regulations that would increase minimum staffing levels in long-term care.

Additionally, two-thirds of Manitobans would like to see public or non-profit agencies take over at least some privately operated long-term care homes.

“We know that the private sector’s primary motivation is profit for shareholders, not the care of seniors or the value of care home staff,” said McKay. “We need strong, fully-staffed and publicly accountable long-term care in Manitoba, and this government has not committed to that”.

In Saskatchewan the provincial health authority has already begun assuming delivery of long-term care services provided by Extendicare for failing to adequately address the COVID-19 situation.

“The government needs to take decisive action to address systemic challenges in Manitoba’s long-term care sector, and today’s announcement doesn’t address these deeper issues”.

Additionally, Manitoba’s public sector health care support staff have been five years without a new contract. CUPE Manitoba, along with CUPE 204, CUPE 4270, CUPE 8600, and CUPE 500 urges the province to prioritise health care support negotiations with the view to improve working conditions, wages, and benefits to ensure recruitment and retention of staff.

 

Health Care Bargaining Update, Dec 17, 2021

CUPE met with the Provincial Health Labour Relations Services (PHLRS) on December 8 & 15, 2021.  We have bargaining dates in January on the 5th, 12th, 19th and 26th.  We have proposed dates in February and March and are waiting on the Employer to confirm.

Status of Bargaining

We were able to agree to more language proposals around Hours of Work and Leaves of Absence.  There are a lot of rumours right now about what is or isn’t happening at bargaining.  Please confirm with your site representative on any rumors you hear.  There has been no offer on wage increases by the Employer yet.  We have not started discussion on any monetary items, including wage increases.

Since we began bargaining the parties have exchanged 73 documents.  Our original proposal package contained over 600 proposals.  That did not include all the Letters of Understanding at the back of each collective agreement.  We have agreed to approximately 30% of the language proposals.  We understand we keep saying it is a slow process, but this is why.  It is not just about getting a wage increase; we have to negotiate every item for your new collective agreement.  The Bargaining Council asks for your continued patience as we fight for each of you.  Our goal is to leave no health care worker behind.

Bill 28 – Public Services Sustainability Act (wage freeze)

The public sector unions, through the Manitoba Federation of Labour (MFL), have filed an application to the Supreme Court of Canada.  We reported that the MFL won the court case against Bill 28 a few months back.  The government appealed that decision, and their appeal was upheld.  This overturned the MFL’s win.  However, because of the community’s pushback against Bill 28 the government, under Premier Stefanson, has repealed Bill 28 for now.  There is concern that they may resurrect it under a new version in the future.  Therefore, the MFL is taking their case to the Supreme Court.  We expect this will be a lengthy process, but the wage freeze legislation being withdrawn should lift a cloud over our negotiations.

Campaign

CUPE health care members should expect to see campaigns popping up across Manitoba in the new year, raising awareness about the important work health care support workers do, as well as calling on the government to support our members.  We will also be launching campaigns building solidarity within the membership, because we will not win if we are divided.

CUPE also continues to advocate for safe workplaces, better staffing levels, and against government cuts to health care.

Wishing you and your loved ones a safe and joyous holiday season and all the best for 2022!  Special thanks to all the health care workers who are working over the holiday season, and all those who have been working hard throughout another difficult year.

Please make sure we have your most recent contact information, including cell phone number and personal email.  We do not use work contact information to reach you for union business.

If you have any questions or comments, please send an email to healthcare@cupe.ca.

Health Care Bargaining Update, December 2, 2021

CUPE met with the Provincial Health Labour Relations Services (PHLRS) on October 27, November 3, 10, 17 and December 1, 2021.  Negotiations are ongoing, and we are calling on the PHLRS to leave no healthcare worker behind.

Status of Bargaining

The Bargaining Council has agreed to some language proposals.  Some of these include maternity/parental leave, emergency leave, emergency and disaster planning, whistle blower protection, union security, respectful workplace and non-discrimination/harassment, many definitions, grievance and arbitration rules and many more.

The Bargaining Council is having to fight for every proposal.  It is not like any other bargaining that has come before.  This is why bargaining seems to be taking so long – we are working article by article to make sure no health worker is left behind.

Discussions are ongoing regarding job security, vacation, hours of work, scheduling, overtime, and layoff/recall.  Wage increases are still to be discussed as well as market adjustments.

 

Bill 28 – Public Services Sustainability Act (wage freeze 0, 0, 0.75 and 1%)

The government announced last week that they will be repealing or cancelling this legislation.  CUPE and the other public sector unions had taken the government to court over this wage freeze legislation.  The Unions won but the government appealed that decision.  The appeal judge overturned the decision.  Despite this, the government felt the pressure from unions, including CUPE, and is withdrawing the legislation altogether.  We continue to work with the Manitoba Federation of Labour on legal routes to ensure governments cannot interfere with bargaining.  This is an important victory for CUPE members.  The Bargaining Council had no intention of accepting the mandated wage freeze but having this pressure removed means we can bargain a fair wage increase at the table.

We have bargaining dates scheduled to the end of January 2022.

 

Strike

Negotiations are continuing and we are making progress.  We understand it is slow.  Fighting to maintain the protections and rules in the collective agreement takes time.  After the representation votes members from many different unions came to CUPE.  Their collective agreements have different and unique language that we are trying to maintain such as language for hours of work, shift schedule rules, overtime, and shift premiums, just to name a few.

It is very important that we fight to maintain this collective agreement language, but that will unfortunately take a lot of time.  There were over 123 collective agreements that are merging into one province-wide collective agreement.

While negotiations continue, we will not serve notice to strike.  In August, healthcare support workers took a strike vote to show the employers that we are serious about leaving no healthcare worker behind.  If negotiations break down, we will be ready to strike.  We’re not quite at that point.

Please make sure we have your most recent contact information, including cell phone number and personal email.  We do not use work contact information to reach you for union business.

If you have any questions or comments, please send an email to healthcare@cupe.ca.

18,000 health care support workers across Manitoba are gearing up for a strike vote

Health care support staff in the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, Shared Health, Southern Health-Santé Sud, and Northern Regional Health Authority are preparing for a strike vote.

“Health care support staff have been fighting on the front lines to keep our communities safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, while also enduring the Pallister government’s drawn-out attacks on health care,” says Lee McLeod, CUPE Regional Director. “Support staff are the pillars of health care, but are being treated as if they don’t matte­r—and that is unacceptable.”

Health care support staff have not had a new contract since 2017 when the government first tabled unconstitutional wage freeze legislation. 

Furthermore, the provincial government introduced legislation that amalgamated health care contracts – forcing dozens of contracts to be merged, pushing negotiations into 2021. Additionally, the provincial government forced cuts across health care since first being elected, resulting in a staffing and morale crisis. 

“Health care support staff are under so much pressure, and the government has shown very little respect for the work they do. After years without a contract, health care support staff want to see real support from the government, and that includes a fair contract for all staff,” said McLeod. “We are fighting to make sure no health care worker is left behind.”

CUPE is currently holding information sessions, as well as meet and greets with health care support staff to discuss the status of bargaining. The strike vote is expected to be held online and in-person, depending on the region, on August 18, 2021. No strike date has been set yet.

CUPE health care members please contact your local union to update your contact information as soon as possible.

CUPE 204, members register here.
CUPE 4270
, information here or contact healthcare@cupe.ca.
CUPE 8600
, members contact cupe8600@outlook.com or call/text 204 680-6072
CUPE 500, contact union@cupe500.mb.ca or click here.

CUPE represents 18,000 health care support staff across Manitoba in both Community Support and Facility Support roles in the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, Shared Health, Southern Health Santé-Sud, and Northern Regional Health Authority.

CUPE health care bargaining update #7, June 10, 2021

Bargaining update for CUPE health care members.


Strike/job action

The CUPE Bargaining Council may call on the members for a strike mandate (vote) to support their efforts at the bargaining table.  Normally, unions do not call for a strike vote until there is a significant break down in the negotiations.  We are not at that point quite yet but CUPE has begun preparations in case we need to call for a strike vote.

A strike committee has met and are preparing for the potential of a province-wide strike.  We are not calling for a strike vote yet but the planning required for 18,000 members to go on strike is huge and that is why we must start preparing now.

Why are we not striking like the nurses?

The Manitoba Nurses’ Union (MNU) has taken a strike vote.  The nurses did not have as many collective agreements or classifications to merge into one collective agreement as CUPE, therefore they are further along in the process.  They also started bargaining four months before we did.

CUPE has over 123 collective agreements all with very different contract language.  CUPE wants to protect as much language as possible from all the collective agreements, so this requires a longer process at the bargaining table.  CUPE members have told us that protecting this language is important.

MNU has also stated they will be doing different types of strike/job action rather than stopping working.  Unions will not be able to stop providing essential care in a strike especially with the COVID crisis.

CUPE supports MNU and will stand in solidarity with them throughout any strike or job action.

What is binding arbitration?

Currently The Labour Relations Act allows for unions to apply for binding arbitration after sixty (60) days on strike. Binding arbitration is where an arbitrator (sort of judge) decides what will be in a collective agreement.  Usually, binding arbitration is only used when there are a few outstanding items, most often wages, that the parties cannot come to agreement on.  Once the binding arbitration process has started, whatever the arbitrator decides is what the union gets.  There is no voting on a collective agreement.

How does Essential Services affect a strike?

Before any health care union can go on strike an Essential Services Agreement (ESA) must be negotiated.  This is law.

CUPE is negotiating updated ESAs with the Employers.  The Bargaining Council may be calling on members for information regarding staffing levels and required duties for each classification at your site.   The Essential Services Act(Health Care) of Manitoba requires the unions to provide essential care so as not to affect the “life and limb” of clients/patients/residents.

We thank all CUPE members for their feedback and concerns.  We are doing everything we can to protect and improve your collective agreement and fight for fair wage increases.

Manitobans support public and non-profit take-over of private long-term care homes

WINNIPEG – A new poll from Probe Research, commissioned by CUPE, has found that two thirds of Manitobans would want the government or non-profit agencies to take over at least some privately operated personal care homes in the province, with nearly 40% saying *all* private personal care homes should become public or non-profit.

The poll further finds that over half of Manitobans do not trust private companies (like Revera) to provide good quality care to the elderly and chronically ill, and that eight-in-ten Manitobans do trust non-profit organizations and the government (like Regional Health Authorities) to provide good care.

“Manitobans have seen first-hand the critical need for strong, public and non-profit care for our elders,” said Abe Araya, President of CUPE Manitoba. “The Manitoba government needs to phase out private for-profit care homes and invest in a strong public system.”

More than half of all COVID-19 related deaths in Manitoba have been in long-term care facilities, with many in privately operated care homes.

Overwhelming majority of Manitobans support legislated minimum staffing requirements in care homes.

Ninety-four percent of Manitobans support regulations that would increase the minimum staffing levels at long-term care homes. Support for increased staffing levels runs across party lines, and finds support in both rural communities and Winnipeg.

“CUPE has been calling for increased staffing levels in long term care homes for years,” said Araya. “Manitobans understand the critical need to legislate minimum staffing levels so we can get our seniors the care and attention they deserve, now and post-COVID-19.”

On May 27, 2020, NDP healthcare critic Uzoma Asagwara introduced a bill to legislate mandatory minimum staffing requirements for long term care homes, however the Pallister government used their majority to filibuster it, preventing it from being debated in the last legislative session.

“It is unfortunate that the government missed this chance to do the right thing for our seniors,” said Araya. “With such a wide range of Manitobans supporting legislation on minimum staffing levels, you would think the government would act.”

The poll ran between November 24 and December 4, 2020, surveying a random and representative sampling of 1,000 adults residing in Manitoba.

Download the full report and data tables here.

CUPE represents approximately 19,000 health care support workers in Manitoba, including in both private and personal care homes.

CUPE: New wage support program is welcome news – Manitoba’s crisis in care still needs urgent action like paid sick days

WINNIPEG – The Canadian Union of Public Employees welcomes the new Caregiver Wage Support Program (CWSP), but warns that more comprehensive action like guaranteed sick pay is still urgently needed to stem the crisis in residential care in Manitoba.

CUPE represents workers in nearly all the eligible caregiving roles. The Union is hopeful that the program will be extended by adding additional weeks, expanded to help more workers (such as those working in Home Care, hospitals, and community clinics), and amended to include sick days.

The program, jointly funded by the federal and provincial governments, will provide a $5/hour wage supplement to eligible workers earning less than $25/hour who provide care in a variety of different care home, disability care, youth care, or assisted living settings. There will be two intake windows, in December and January, and the benefit will apply to regular and overtime wages for hours worked from November 1, 2020 to January 10, 2021.

“We welcome the new program, as it recognizes the sacrifices frontline workers are making during the COVID-19 pandemic, but we are concerned that the benefit does not cover enough workers, does nothing to increase wages long-term, and does not cover sick time pay,” says Abe Araya, President of CUPE Manitoba. “We wish it would not take a pandemic for government to recognize the critical role that frontline workers play in caring for Manitobans.”

Sick time provisions are a big problem for lower-paid caregivers working shifts, and CUPE has been advocating for guaranteed paid sick time for frontline workers since the beginning of the pandemic. Many workers have had to go without pay when they are sick or in isolation. Denying them the new wage supplement puts pressure on workers and on the safety of residents, their families, and other staff in caregiving programs. No worker should have to choose between paying their bills and safe work.

“If we want to get this pandemic under control, we need better leadership from government. Today’s announcement hailed the lowest-paid caregivers as heroes, but these heroes need better pay and the reassurance of paid sick time if they are home with COVID, COVID-symptoms, or required to isolate,” Araya added. “It was a missed opportunity by government to show they really respect frontline workers and will do what is needed to make caregiving safer for workers and residents.”

 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.

CUPE calls on public health officials to conduct immediate inspections of private personal care homes

The Canadian Union of Public Employees is calling on public health officials, including the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, to immediately conduct in-person inspections at each private personal care home that currently has COVID-positive cases, and automatically launch inspections for any future outbreaks.

“We need to be proactive and have public officials inspect these privately-operated homes,” says Shannon McAteer, CUPE Health Care Coordinator. “The results of the inspection during the Parkview Place outbreak yielded important findings and recommendations, including staffing and personal protective equipment (PPE) that can help that facility fight the spread of COVID-19, but we cannot let other facilities get to that point.”

CUPE learned on Tuesday, that Maples Personal Care Home, operated by Revera, now has 70 active cases of COVID-19, including seven staff.

“Government and private operators dragged their feet before, and we cannot have a repeat of what happened at Parkview Place,” said McAteer. “We are asking for public health inspectors to immediately conduct in-person reviews at all private care homes with current outbreaks, and automatically launch inspections at future outbreaks to ensure each home is prepared for, and can prevent an outbreak.”

CUPE represents support staff in 10 private personal care homes in Manitoba, including Revera facilities: Parkview Place; Heritage Lodge; Maples Personal Care Home; Charleswood Care Centre; Kildonan Personal Care Centre; Valleyview; and Extendicare facilities: Oakview Place; River East Personal Care Home; Tuxedo Villa; and Hillcrest Place.