Disability support workers join CUPE

The Canadian Union of Public Employees is proud to welcome 35 new members at Com-Span Inc.

We would like to welcome employees from Com-Span to our union. Workers at Com-Span provide invaluable services to the community and we’re proud to represent them in their workplace!

Com-Span Inc. provides day services to individuals with intellectual disabilities.

These workers joined CUPE because CUPE is a strong voice for workers and has a good track record of bargaining fair contracts, representing workers in meetings with management, and helping to build a safe and inclusive work environment.

Every worker has the right to join a union and have representation in the workplace.

The employees at Com-Span Inc. dedicate their lives to serving people living with intellectual disabilities and deserve a strong voice at the table. We’re proud to be that voice.

Com-Span Inc. employees voted to join CUPE in a vote held on April 6 and 7, 2017, and will be part of CUPE Local 5176.

The Labour Board officially issued the certificate recognizing CUPE as the new bargaining agent on April 28, 2017.

CUPE represents over 1,000 disability services workers in some of the following Manitoba employers: Southwest Community Options Inc., Canadian Mental Health Association, Spike (Special People in Kildonan East), Ten Ten Sinclair (and housing), Rehabilitation Centre for Children, ARC Industries Occupational Training Centre, Community Therapy Services, Association for Community Living, Haldisse Community Services, Heima er Best, Riverdale Place Homes, Parkland Regional Community Linc, Touchwood Park Association and Epic Opportunities.

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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 Manitoba statement on Behavioural Health Foundation – Male Youth Program

On behalf of CUPE Local 4792, representing staff at the Behavioural Health Foundation – Male Youth Program, we would like to express our deepest condolences and our unwavering support to the victims of the violent assaults that took place on May 29 against BHF staff.

No worker should ever have to face violence in the workplace. Everyone has the right to a safe work environment. CUPE is committed to work with the employer and Workplace Health & Safety to review protocols and safety procedures at BHF.

We offer our support to the victims of this incident and their families, and we will work diligently with all parties to address safety at BHF. CUPE 4792 has been in contact with our member.

We have also issued our concerns with respect to the closing of this important program, as well as the layoffs that will ensue.

The BHF Male Youth Program is a residential treatment program based in Selkirk Manitoba that provides intensive in-facility care and treatment to young men suffering from addictions and mental health issues.

Approximately 30 employees, represented by CUPE 4792 provide services to young men who seek support for addictions issues, are slated to be laid-off by the end of June due to funding shortages at the program.

Funding for the program has traditionally been issued through a per diem model, which only provides funding based on client use, rather than the long-term stable funding that is needed to maintain the program.

We are requesting that the new provincial government step in and provide much-needed long-term stable funding to save this important community program.

We are concerned that the closure of this program will not only impact the lives of the 30 employees who work there, but will negatively affect countless young men who are in need of crucial support.

Far too many social service agencies in Manitoba are underfunded; staff are overworked and under-paid. We must work together as a community to ensure stable, long-term funding to all social service agencies in Manitoba, and do everything in our power to ensure this type of violence never happens again.

Kelly Moist
President, CUPE Manitoba

Allen Bleich
CUPE National Representative

Manitoba budget offers minor funding increases to public services

Social Impact Bonds give rise to concern

The Pallister Government’s first provincial budget offers minor improvements to many important areas of the public sector, says CUPE Manitoba.

“We are pleased to see this government’s continuation of funding to health care, education, post- secondary education, and social services,” says Kelly Moist, President of CUPE Manitoba. “In an environment where cuts would have been the ‘easy way out’, we are pleased that this government listened to Manitobans, and has instead maintained or increased funding to many key public services”.

CUPE Manitoba applauds funding commitments to the Aboriginal Academic Achievement Fund, which will help ensure Community Liaison Workers in the Winnipeg School Division have the tools they need to perform their important work. These workers were under threat of significant job losses and funding cuts in early 2015.

CUPE also hopes the new Premier’s Enterprise Team will include representatives from labour, which were included in the former government’s Premier’s Economic Advisory Council.

However, the government’s ongoing pursuit of Social Impact Bonds causes serious concern.

“While we are pleased that the Manitoba Government has not implemented major cuts, we are very concerned with this government’s ongoing promotion of Social Impact Bonds,” says Moist. “Social Impact Bonds are an abdication of government responsibility for marginalized or vulnerable people, and we must reject these profit-making schemes”.

Additionally, while many mandate letters to the newly appointed Ministers call for increased involvement from the private sector, including in childcare, there is no mention of increased private involvement in the budget documents.

“We still need to see how exactly this funding is rolled out,” says Moist. “We need a strong commitment from this government that they will not privatize or contract out any public services”.

Budget Highlights:

  • 3.5% increase to health
  • Funding increases to the Aboriginal Academic Achievement fund
  • 1.4 % increase to education with 2.5% increase to initiatives for at-risk youth, literacy
  • 2.5% operating grant increase to universities
  • 4.5% increase to Child and Family Services

Budget Lowlights:

  • Commitment to Social Impact Bonds
  • No commitment to oppose privatization and contracting out
  • No commitment to increasing the minimum wage

Members’ Provincial Election Guide 2016

Consult this handy guide to find out what’s at stake for CUPE members across Manitoba and in your sector. The guide also includes suggestions for questions to ask candidates in the lead-up to the April 19 election. Contact CUPE-MB to order paper copies.

Download (PDF, 543KB)

CUPE Local 2348 (Midwives) reach tentative agreement

Winnipeg – Midwives, represented by CUPE Local 2348, have voted in favour of a new collective agreement that helps to support midwifery services in Winnipeg.

“After a difficult round of bargaining, we are pleased that we have reached an agreement that all parties deem fair,” said Sheree Capar, CUPE National Representative. “It is our hope that this new agreement will help to recruit and retain midwives in Manitoba.”

Following a strong strike mandate from Midwives on March 11, 2016, a meeting took place with a provincial conciliation officer on March 17, 2016, and an acceptable package was presented. Members of CUPE Local 2348 (Midwives) held a vote March 18-21 2016, to accept the new collective agreement, thereby averting any strike action.

“The provincial government and Winnipeg Regional Health Authority have acknowledged the value of midwifery services in Manitoba, and we will work with them to promote this important health care profession” said Capar. “There continues to be a growing demand from Manitoba families for midwifery, and we are encouraged that the province is working to address this demand”.

The provincial government recently announced $800,000 in new funding towards midwifery training programs in Manitoba, which will help train new midwives to meet the needs of Manitoba families.

“Midwives want to convey the message that midwifery services are available to all Manitobans, regardless of family background or income,” said Capar. “With this new contract, our midwives can get back to helping expectant families with prenatal and postnatal supports, as well as safe deliveries!”

The new contract for midwives will move the profession closer in line with other jurisdictions, making it easier for the WRHA to retain both existing and newly trained midwives in Winnipeg. CUPE Local 2348 worked alongside the Midwives Association of Manitoba (MAM) as well as countless supporters, including families who have used midwifery services, to highlight the value of midwifery in the province and to work towards equitable compensation.


Manitoba provincial election: What’s at stake for CUPE members?

Today the Premier of Manitoba officially dropped the writ, beginning a month-long election that will determine the next government of Manitoba on April 19.

But what does this election mean for CUPE members?

The Conservatives and Liberals want to cut jobs, privatize services, and reverse the gains we have made as workers under the NDP.

While election platforms will be rolled out throughout the campaign, we have already seen overtures made by the Conservatives and Liberals that will affect our members.

This is a brief overview of what’s at stake for CUPE members in Manitoba:

  • School Sector workers: the Conservatives have promised not to cut teaching jobs, but don’t rule out funding cuts to schools. Funding cuts to schools mean School Boards will look to our support staff members and programs for “savings”.

The Liberals have announced that they too will find millions in “savings”, but haven’t yet said where they will cut. Liberal governments in other provinces have pushed school support staff on strike with layoffs and funding cuts.

  • Child Care workers: the Conservatives have openly discussed creating more private child care centres across the province. Private centres mean higher costs for parents, lower quality, and cut corners. The more private centres the Conservatives build, the less support public centres will receive by government, driving down wages for our members.The Liberals recently announced their child care plan, which is contingent on funding from the Federal government, and has very few details.
  • Social Services workers: Conservatives have indicated they want to privatize social services by introducing Social Impact Bonds (SIBs). SIBs allow big multinational corporations to “sponsor” a program, and will receive a “return on investment” if the program succeeds. This would certainly affect our members as government funding is cut.

In fact, the last time the Pallister Conservatives were in power in Manitoba, they cut millions of funding to social service agencies, including many where CUPE members work today.In other provinces, Liberal governments have cut social services to the core.

  • Health Care workers: When the Conservatives were last in power, Brian Pallister was a Cabinet Minister and he cut health care jobs. Many CUPE members remember the impact of these cuts.The Conservatives today are no different. They have already discussed finding ways to reduce the workforce in order to “save money”.

In Saskatchewan and Alberta conservative governments have privatized laundry services and cut jobs. The Alberta Conservatives even wanted to introduce fees for health care services. Albertans had enough, and voted in an NDP government.

In Ontario and BC, Liberal governments have found “savings” off the backs of workers. In BC, laundry services have been contracted out resulting in job cuts and pay cuts. Liberals in Manitoba would surely follow that lead.

  • Municipal workers: Pallister’s Conservatives have a policy on the books to immediately rescind Manitoba’s groundbreaking Public Private Partnership Transparency (P3) legislation. By doing this they will eliminate accountability and transparency for P3s, which take away jobs from public sector workers, and are far more costly than traditional procurement.

Conservatives will also make sure that new infrastructure is owned and operated by private companies (through P3s), rather than municipal governments.

That means there will be less “need” for public sector workers like you, and it will likely result in downsizing and contracting out.Liberal governments have also promoted the use of P3s., especially in Ontario and the east coast.

The Ontario Liberals have been major advocates of P3s despite their Auditor General pointing out that P3s have cost Ontarians $8 billion more than traditional, government managed projects.

Liberal governments in Quebec have interfered in municipal bargaining, resulting in major labour action in municipalities across the province due to cuts, contracting out, and attacks on pensions.

  • Crown Corporations: While Pallister’s Conservatives have denied that they would privatize Manitoba Hydro, the last PC government in Manitoba also denied they would privatize MTS, and then turned around and did so. The Pallister Conservatives have been constant critics of Manitoba Hydro and its planned developments.

The Manitoba Liberal Party has already indicated they will privatize Manitoba Liquor stores, which means they are likely eyeing other places to encourage privatization. Manitoba Liquor stores earn over $280 million in annual profits which are used by the provincial government to pay for government services such as health care and education.

The choice for CUPE members is clear:

At the most recent CUPE Manitoba Convention, members from across the province voted to endorse the NDP. If you take a look at the track record of the NDP in Manitoba over the years, it is clear they are prepared to work hard for workers in our province.

  • School Sector workers: The NDP in Manitoba has consistently increased funding for schools. Class sizes have been reduced, while supports for staff have increased, including wages.
  • Child Care workers: The NDP has tripled public child care funding, and has implemented wage enhancement to increase pay for child care workers. They have also promised to build more public child care centres, and increase spaces by 12,000. Manitoba has the most affordable child care outside Quebec, and the NDP is committed to universal child care for all.
  • Social Services workers: Many of the social service agencies in Manitoba today exist because the NDP has prioritized community development, and has reinstated much of the funding that was cut in the 90’s.

The NDP hold the firm belief that investing in social services means investing in the community and protecting those who need it most. From supports for mental health to supporting the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations: the Manitoba NDP support social service programs and jobs.

  • Municipal workers: The Manitoba NDP has created the first-ever P3 Accountability Legislation in Canada, recognizing that public workers can do the job better, cheaper, and with more accountability to the taxpayer.

The Manitoba NDP has also consistently funded infrastructure, provided supports to municipalities across the province for things like arena maintenance, community programs, and parks.

  • Health Care workers: The Manitoba NDP has consistently made health care a priority, and is building new personal care homes across the province. While other provinces are cutting jobs, cutting pay, and privatizing services, the Manitoba NDP have always invested in health care.
  • Crown Corporations: The NDP will continue to invest in Manitoba Hydro, investing in both generation and transmission capacities. The NDP has promised to keep the MLCC public.

April 19 is an important day for CUPE members to get out and vote. But you can do more!

CUPE members are encouraged to volunteer in local NDP campaigns, and help re-elect Manitoba’s worker-friendly government. Talk to workers from other provinces about the challenges they’ve faced under Liberal and Conservative governments.

The stakes have never been higher, and now is the time to take action.

For more information on the provincial election, visit cupe.mb.ca/category/manitoba-provincial-election.

CUPE Local 2348 (Midwives) reject employer’s offer, move closer to strike

Winnipeg – Midwives represented by CUPE Local 2348 have voted to reject their employer’s most recent offer, following a ratification vote held on March 10 and 11.

“Midwives in Winnipeg are sending a clear message that more support is needed for their profession,” said Sheree Capar, CUPE National Representative. “We are falling further behind other jurisdictions in terms of compensation, and the most recent offer doesn’t do enough to catch up”.

At a meeting with a provincial conciliation officer held on March 9, the employer represented by the Provincial Labour Relations Secretariat offered a package that would not adequately address the growing gap between midwifery in Manitoba and other provinces.

“There are countless Manitoba families on the wait list for midwifery services – the demand is there” said Capar. “We need to both train and retain midwives, and ensuring a competitive compensation package is crucial to serving this demand from the public”.

Midwifery in Manitoba has been in the spotlight recently for the shortage of trained midwives in the province. The Provincial Government built a new Birth Centre in Winnipeg, and recently increased funding for midwifery training, but demand far outpaces the supply.

Studies across Canada and the world show that midwifery is an essential part of the health care system, providing professional maternal care to families in all segments of society.

“We have heard from midwives directly that they are choosing other provinces or other health care professions,” said Capar. “Manitoba cannot afford to lose any more midwives, and the WRHA needs to act now to hold on to those we have!”

Midwives in Manitoba fall under Essential Services Legislation, so in the event of a strike no expectant mother will be put at risk – deliveries will still occur throughout the strike and each woman’s care plan will be reviewed and referred as necessary.

“We know families support our members, and we hope that this can be resolved as quickly as possible,” said Capar.

CUPE Local 2348 hopes to meet again with the employer representatives, highlighting the new strike mandate, before setting a specific strike date, which could be set within weeks. A strike date has not been set.

Manitoba fiscal update is good news for province’s workers

The province’s Economic and Fiscal Outlook tabled in the Manitoba Legislature today offers a more progressive way of ensuring that the wealthy pay their fair share. With the implementation of a new tax bracket that would see Manitoba’s highest earners provide slightly more in income taxes, the province is able to expand tax credits and supports for lower income earners.

“The 98% of Manitobans who don’t earn over $170,000 per year expect the government to help build a more level playing field,” said Kelly Moist, President of CUPE Manitoba. “Ensuring that the wealthy pay their fair share is good for working families”.

The fiscal outlook is an excellent tool for Manitobans to understand the nature of government budgeting, as well as a current look into the state of the Manitoba economy.

“While the Progressive Conservatives used much of today in an attempt to filibuster the government’s update, we are pleased that it was ultimately tabled for Manitobans to view,” said Moist. “The PCs have yet to offer Manitobans anything of substance themselves, and instead turn to parliamentary tactics to stall valuable discussion”.

The Manitoba Government is also committed to continued funding to health and education, and expanding childcare, ensuring that the province builds stronger public services for Manitobans.

“Other provinces are opting to cut funding to schools and hospitals, while Manitoba chooses to invest,” said Moist. “Manitobans should be proud that this government continues to fund the services we all rely on”.

Midwives to hold info pickets

WINNIPEG – Midwives are gathering together to hold an info picket on Thursday, February 4th outside the Birth Centre on St. Mary’s Road, in an effort to raise awareness about the state of midwifery in Manitoba.

“We applaud the government for increasing funding for midwifery training, but we are falling behind other provinces when it comes to compensation” said Sheree Capar, CUPE National Representative. “We need to deal with recruitment and retention issues, and the best way to do that is to have competitive compensation so we don’t lose our midwives to other provinces or professions”.

CUPE 2348, representing approximately 30 midwives working in the WRHA, has held numerous meetings with a provincial conciliation officer in an attempt to reach a fair deal with their employer.

On January 13th and 14th, midwives voted 91% in favour of a strike mandate.

Info pickets will take place on Thursday, February 4th from 7 to 9 a.m. outside the Birth Centre at 603 St. Mary’s Road.

“We want to give the employer one last push to deliver a fair contract for Manitoba’s midwives,” said Capar.

The current collective agreement expired on March 31, 2014.
CUPE Local 2348 represents approximately 30 midwives working in the WRHA.

For more information on the state of midwifery in Manitoba, check out our 2014 infographic!