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.

 

Strike at Rolling River School Division is over

After ninety-two days on the picket line, custodians and cleaners at the Rolling River School Division are heading back to work.

“These workers have been on the frontline keeping schools safe and clean but were pushed to the picket lines for three months in the coldest weather,” said Gina McKay, President of CUPE Manitoba. “These workers stood for fairness and didn’t back down despite all odds. We are very proud of them.”

On January 4, 2022, CUPE Local 1630 applied to the Manitoba Labour Board and asked them to help settle the dispute either by the Board or through a neutral arbitrator.

On January 31, 2022, the Labour Board issued an order to terminate the strike, reinstate the workers, and settle the provisions of a collective agreement.  The parties can either appoint an arbitrator or the Board will review the Union and employer’s proposals and aid in settling a new collective agreement within the next 90 days.

“We remain dumbfounded as to why this particular school division has refused to offer its custodians and cleaners the same as other school support staff across the province,” said McKay. “These workers deserve nothing less.”

The Rolling River School Division employed replacement workers throughout the strike, leading to substandard cleaning in schools across the region. Students at numerous schools joined the picket lines, calling on the school division to settle a fair agreement.

The picket line was also joined by CUPE National President, Mark Hancock, Canadian Labour Congress President, Bea Bruske, opposition parties, and countless other unions.

“Our members are happy to be getting back to the jobs they love, and the students they care for,” said McKay.

The CUPE 1630 strike began on November 1, 2021, and officially ended on February 1, 2022.

School Support Staff at Lord Selkirk School Division Ratify Collective Agreement

SELKIRK, MB – Education assistants, custodians, school librarians, secretaries, and other support staff at the Lord Selkirk School Division have voted in favour of a new collective agreement.

“School support staff at Lord Selkirk School Division have been on the frontlines keeping our kids safe throughout the pandemic and have dedicated every moment to supporting the education of our students,” says Karen Sinnock, President of CUPE 1522.

“We are pleased that the Lord Selkirk School Division has offered us a fair deal that is in line with what teachers and support staff represented by CUPE in other school divisions received.”

CUPE 1522 had a strike mandate from members, and organized information pickets to raise awareness across Selkirk about the value of school support staff.

CUPE 1522 and the Lord Selkirk School Division agreed to the same four-year deal that teachers across Manitoba received: 1.6%, 1.4%, 0.5%, and cost-of-living adjustment.

Twenty-three other CUPE locals have already settled this same agreement between school divisions in Manitoba and support staff represented by CUPE.

Custodians and cleaners at Rolling River School Division represented by CUPE 1630 are entering their fourth week on strike and are asking for the same.

“At this point the Rolling River School Division is putting our schools at risk, while stubbornly refusing to offer what everyone else is offering,” said Kevin Jay, President of CUPE 1630.

“Rolling River School Division needs to step up, offer us the same deal, and let us get back to work.”

Rolling River School Division Custodians and Cleaners Set Strike Date

MINNEDOSA, MB – Custodians and cleaners at the Rolling River School Division have notified the school board that they will begin legal strike action on Monday, November 1, 2021, at 12:00 am. 

 

“We have done everything to try to prevent a strike, but the Rolling River School Division has left us little choice,” said Kevin Jay, President of CUPE 1630, representing the division’s 21 custodians and cleaners. “All we are asking for is the same respect that teachers and other support staff in Manitoba have already received.”

CUPE 1630 are asking for the same four-year deal that teachers across Manitoba received: 1.6%, 1.4%, 0.5%, and cost-of-living adjustment.

Twenty-four CUPE locals have already settled this agreement between school divisions in Manitoba and support staff represented by CUPE.

“What we’re feeling is that custodians and cleaners in Rolling River School Division aren’t worth the same as in Winnipeg and other divisions,” said Jay. “We urge the school board to make the right call and offer us the same deal as everyone else so we can focus on our jobs—keeping schools safe and clean.”

The strike will begin at the Minnedosa Collegiate and the Rolling River School Division Board Office at 154 3rd Avenue SE, Minnedosa, Manitoba.

School support staff in two Manitoba school divisions prepare to strike

Selkirk, Minnedosa, MB  – Education Assistants, custodians, school librarians, and secretaries at the Lord Selkirk School Division are preparing for job action following the School Board’s refusal to offer a fair contract, says CUPE Local 1522, representing approximately 300 support staff.

Approximately 21 custodians and cleaners at Rolling River School Division represented by CUPE Local 1630 are also in a strike position, with 93% in favour of strike action.

“School support staff at Lord Selkirk School Division have been on the front line keeping our kids safe throughout the pandemic, and have dedicated every moment to supporting the education of our students,” says Karen Sinnock, President of CUPE Local 1522.  “Parents and the community know that these workers are valuable, yet the School Board refuses to acknowledge these staff.”

CUPE 1522 will be organizing information pickets in the coming weeks to raise awareness across Selkirk about the Board’s refusal to recognize school support staff.

CUPE 1522 and CUPE 1630 are asking for the same four-year deal that teachers across Manitoba received: 1.6%, 1.4%, 0.5%, and cost of living adjustment.

Twenty-four CUPE locals have already settled this agreement between school divisions in Manitoba and support staff represented by CUPE.

“Staff at Rolling River feel disrespected, undervalued and feel that they deserve nothing less than many other School Division teachers and support staff across Manitoba have received at the bargaining table”, said Kevin Jay, President of CUPE 1630.

CUPE Local 1522 and CUPE Local 1630 have a strike mandates from their membership and are in the process of preparing for job action.

Winnipeg School Division custodians, trades ratify new agreement

WINNIPEG – School custodians, trades, and mechanics represented by CUPE
Local 110 and the Winnipeg School Division have ratified a new collective agreement.

“Custodians, tradespeople, and mechanics have been critical throughout the pandemic in helping keep our schools safe and running,” says Rick Peschel, President of CUPE 110.

“Our members were prepared to strike to achieve a new agreement, and we are relieved that the School Board made the right decision.”

Wage increases are in line with recently negotiated teacher’s agreements and are retroactive: 1.6% in 2019, 1.4% in 2020, 0.5% in 2021, and a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in 2022.

The agreement between CUPE 110 and the Winnipeg School Division is yet another CUPE school sector agreement that is above the province’s unfair wage mandate.

“The provincial Conservatives really tried to hold school support staff back,” said Peschel.

“It shouldn’t take a potential strike for leaders to acknowledge the hard work of front-line staff, but we are glad the Winnipeg School Division finally pulled through.”

CUPE 110 represents approximately 400 school support staff at the Winnipeg School Division, including custodians, trades, bus mechanics, and more.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees represents approximately 6,000 education workers, including education assistants, custodians, bus drivers, clerical, library technicians, intercultural liaisons, and more in 25 school boards across Manitoba.

Winnipeg School Division custodians, trades, urge Board of Trustees to settle contract ahead of potential strike

School custodians, trades, painters, and maintenance workers are calling on the Winnipeg School Division (WSD) Board of Trustees to settle contract negotiations at their regular board meeting on Monday, October 4, 2021, or face potential job action. 

 

“The Winnipeg School Division has failed to negotiate a new contract for the frontline staff who have been responsible for keeping our schools clean and running, especially throughout the pandemic,” says Rick Peschel, President of CUPE Local 110.  “We hoped the Board of Trustees would have settled this contract before the school year started, but they have shown very little leadership despite frontline staff continuing to work incredibly hard throughout the pandemic.”  

 

The Winnipeg School Division forced school bus drivers to strike in 2020 during the school year, as well as pushing teachers to the edge this summer, now they are pushing custodians over too, explains CUPE 110.

CUPE 110 is asking for the same four-year deal that teachers in the division received: 1.6%, 1.4%, 0.5%, and cost of living adjustment. 

Many other school divisions in Manitoba have already settled this agreement with support staff represented by CUPE.

“The WSD lost the school bus driver arbitration, they took the teachers arbitration settlement, and somehow they think the results here are going to be different for hard-working support staff?” said Peschel.  “We have been very patient with this Board to date, and we ask that the Board settle our contract on Monday so we can focus on keeping our schools clean, safe, and running.” 

 

CUPE Local 110 has a strike mandate from its membership and is in the process of preparing for job action. 

School division support staff accept new agreements, avoid strike before start of the school year

School support staff at the River East Transcona School Division and Prairie Rose School Division have tentatively accepted a new collective agreement, while clerical, IT, and library techs at Seven Oaks School Division ratified a new agreement last night.

These school divisions have avoided a strike that could have begun as early as this week, says CUPE.

“Hours before support staff were to begin a legal strike, the River East Transcona School Board agreed to settle a fair contract with its workers,” says Lee McLeod, CUPE Regional Director.  “We thank all staff and the Board of Trustees at River East Transcona School Division, Prairie Rose, and Seven Oaks School Division for working hard to achieve a fair deal, especially with the provincial government’s continued efforts to hold school support staff back.”

Brandon School Division (CUPE 737) has also recently achieved a new collective agreement following a strong strike mandate from staff.

While the provincial government has said it will not pursue Bill 64, The Education Modernization Act, they have yet to fill the funding gap created by underfunding in the education sector and the phase-out of the education property tax or repeal their wage freeze mandate.

The new agreements between CUPE and River East Transcona School Division, Seven Oaks School Division, Prairie Rose School Division and Brandon School Division ensure school support staff receive raises that are consistent with those recently negotiated by other CUPE Locals and other unions in Manitoba, including the Manitoba Teachers’ Society, and are retroactive:  1.6% in 2019, 1.4% in 2020, and 0.5% in 2021 and cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in 2022.

“CUPE school support staff have been leaders in pushing for fair wage settlements, despite the provincial government’s attempts to undervalue their worth,” said McLeod.  “We hope other school divisions follow suit and recognize what parents and the community already know: school support staff are the pillars of our education system and deserve fairness.”

Other school divisions represented by CUPE that have reached agreements outside the province’s attempted mandate includes St. James-Assiniboia School Division, Sunrise School Division, Interlake School Division, Evergreen School Division, and Turtle River School Division.  CUPE thanks the Boards of Trustees of all these school divisions for their leadership in advance of the new school year.

Seven Oaks School Division custodians and bus drivers will hold a ratification meeting next week.

Negotiations are ongoing in other school divisions, including Pine Creek, Portage la Prairie, and Park West School Division where CUPE-represented support staff currently have strike mandates.

Custodians, trades, and maintenance staff at the Winnipeg School Division are also currently in a strike position and could set up picket lines in the coming weeks if the Board continues to prevent a fair settlement in line with other divisions.

 

Education reform, attacks on labour to be scrapped by Manitoba’s interim Premier following months of community pressure

Today the interim Premier of Manitoba, Kelvin Goertzen announced that Bill 64, which sought to eliminate public school boards is likely being withdrawn. 

“CUPE has been fighting Bill 64 since it was first announced and we are relieved that it is likely being withdrawn,” said Lee McLeod, CUPE Regional Director. “This result is due to community pressure, including workers and families speaking out against Bill 64”.  

Also likely being withdrawn is Bill 16 (The Labour Relations Amendment Act) which would have led to long, drawn-out strikes and lockouts. 

“Bill 16 has already put pressure on negotiations across Manitoba, with thousands of workers at the bargaining table worrying about whether or not they would have access to arbitration if they go on strike,” said McLeod. “Our members can continue to focus on negotiating a fair deal without the cloud of Bill 16 over their heads”. 

 Additionally, Bill 35 (The Public Utilities Ratepayer Protection and Regulatory Reform Act) which would have undermined the Public Utilities Board, Bill 40 (The Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation Amendment and Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Control Amendment Act), which would have privatized public liquor, and Bill 57 (The Protection of critical Infrastructure Act) which would have targeted protests are all likely being withdrawn. 

“Thousands of CUPE members are still at the bargaining table, with 18,000 health care support staff in strike position. We fully expect interim Premier Goertzen to prioritize getting a fair deal for health care workers as soon as possible”. 

 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 Local 110 warns province to stop interfering in education bargaining

WINNIPEG – President of the Union that represents custodial and trades staff at the largest school division in Winnipeg (Winnipeg School Division (WSD)), says the provincial government is inhibiting an important contract settlement that will prevent uncertainty and chaos for students and parents less than two weeks before schools reopen.

Members of CUPE Local 110 have been negotiating a new contract since their last contract expired in June of 2019, with wages being the only remaining issue to be settled. During bargaining, union negotiators dropped many of their original demands in order to avoid a strike and ensure that schools open on time.

“All we are asking for is a fair deal in line with what the teachers were awarded not only in the Winnipeg School Division but throughout the Province of Manitoba,” says Rick Peschel, President of Local 110.  “The Union has been very reasonable throughout negotiations, and only wants a fair deal for school support staff.”

“We are asking for the government to stop interfering with our collective bargaining,” says Peschel.  “Our members just want to go to work, but after being in the third year without a contract, they are feeling frustrated as it is evident that the school division is being pressured not to sign. Any strike action at this late date would cause chaos for parents and students.”

Last May, the WSD signed a four-year agreement with teachers that includes pay increases dating back to the 2018-19 school year, with a retroactive hike of 1.6 percent in that year, 1.4 percent in 2019-20, and 0.5 percent for 2020-21. The agreement also includes a cost-of-living increase for the 2021-22 school year.

“All we are asking is for the provincial government to allow collective bargaining to continue without interference. We just want fairness for the workers we represent” says Peschel.

The bargaining unit for CUPE Local 110 represents approximately 400 custodial, maintenance, mechanics, tradespeople, painters, and technicians at the WSD, Manitoba’s largest School Division. Members of Local 110 are in a legal strike position after a recent strike vote that saw overwhelming support for strike action. The local is also moving forward with a public campaign to bring attention to the negative impacts on WSD custodial and trades staff due to the provincial government’s continued attempts to mandate wages for Manitoba school divisions.