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of Manitoba, Kelvin Goertzen announced that Bill 64, which sought to eliminate public school boards is likely being withdrawn. 

“CUPE has been fighting Bill 64 since it was first announced and we are relieved that it is likely being withdrawn,” said Lee McLeod, CUPE Regional Director.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Also likely being withdrawn is Bill 16 (The Labour Relations Amendment Act) which would have led to long, drawn-out strikes and lockouts.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and Bill 57 (The Protection of critical Infrastructure Act) which would have targeted protests are all likely being withdrawn.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. 

School Division support staff in Manitoba call for fair contract ahead of new school year

School support staff in five school divisions in Manitoba have now voted in favour of strike action, calling for contract negotiations to be resolved ahead of the new school year. 

“School support staff have been working incredibly hard to keep our schools and children safe during the pandemic, yet the Pallister government continues to try to prevent school divisions from settling staff contracts fairly,” says Lee McLeod, CUPE Regional Director. “School support staff are feeling ignored and disrespected by the government, and are voting to strike for fairness.” 

School support staff who now have strike mandates include the Brandon School Division; custodians and trades at the Winnipeg School Division; custodians, library techs, bus drivers, IT, and clerical at the Seven Oaks School Division; and support staff at Turtle Mountain and Park West School Divisions in the Westman area. 

School support staff have been without a new contract since 2018, as a result of Pallister’s unconstitutional interference in collective bargaining. Support staff are asking for wage increases in line with recently settled teachers’ contracts.  

No dates for a strike have yet been set. 

There is another way.

“Some school divisions have offered fair wages and settled negotiations without the cloud of Pallister’s wage mandate holding them down,” said McLeod. These include the St. James-Assiniboia School Division, Interlake School Division, Turtle River School Division, and Evergreen School Division.  “School divisions should be unafraid to exercise their locally elected voices by supporting the staff who have helped carry our schools through the year.” 

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

April 8, International Day of Pink: Show Virtual Solidarity

The International Day of Pink is recognized annually on the second Wednesday in April.

Its sole purpose is “…to create a more inclusive and diverse world.”

It began when the youth at Jer’s Vision (now the Canadian Centre for Gender & Sexual Diversity) were inspired by the actions of David Shepherd and Travis Price, students in Nova Scotia.  They witnessed another student being bullied because they were wearing a pink shirt.  Travis and David quickly mobilized other students and pink t-shirts so the following day they could demonstrate their support of the target by wearing pink t-shirts to school.

News of their actions spread quickly and now, worldwide, people stand in solidarity, in pink, against bullying, discrimination, homophobia, transphobia, biphobia, and trans misogyny.

CUPE Manitoba members understand the principles and values of solidarity.

Because of COVID-19 this year we cannot physically stand together in pink, but we can participate in the virtual campaign/rally.

If you are able, put on a pink shirt, take a selfie and share the picture on your social media using #VirtualDayofPink.

We all know that we are strongest when we stand together. We can shape our world. Let’s help ensure there is safe space for everyone in our human family.

Take action against bullying.

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.

Winnipeg’s Executive Policy Committee takes next step towards Living Wage Policy

Following a significant campaign by CUPE 500, the City of Winnipeg took one step closer to implementing a Living Wage Policy for city workers and contractors delivering city services.

CUPE Local 500 presented to Winnipeg’s Executive Policy Committee (EPC) on September 17th and October 8th, encouraging members of EPC to support a Living Wage Policy for Winnipeg’s staff and contractors hired by the city to deliver services.

Following a report from City Administration that highlighted other jurisdictions which already have Living Wage policies, EPC voted to prepare an implementation plan for a similar policy for Winnipeg.

“We are calling for a Living Wage Policy not only for our own members, but for the private contractors and subcontractors that do work for our city”, says Gord Delbridge, President of CUPE Local 500.

“We are also calling for a Living Wage Policy to help lift marginalized Winnipeg citizens, including young people, women, Indigenous, and racialized workers out of poverty while they are doing work for our community”.

Currently 13% of civic staff and contractors earn less than $15 per hour, many of whom are women, young, Indigenous, or racialized workers.

CUPE campaigned during the 2018 Winnipeg municipal election calling on election candidates to support a Living Wage Policy.

CUPE 500 commissioned a poll during the election which found 81% of Winnipeggers support a Living Wage Policy.

CUPE 500 has also been pushing to include non-unionized contractors and subcontractors in the Living Wage Policy, a move Delbridge hopes will lift all those working on projects for the City of Winnipeg out of poverty-level wages.

While the Motion passed 6-1 to conduct a cost review of implementing a Living Wage Policy for the City of Winnipeg, the cost of doing nothing means that some city staff and many private contractors working for the city will continue to be at risk of living in poverty.

“A Living Wage Policy for Winnipeg needs to happen now. We believe that nobody should work at poverty-level wages, and for these workers, every day matters.”

1919 Winnipeg General Strike Monument Unveiled

WINNIPEG – Today the City of Winnipeg unveiled a new monument commemorating the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike in the lead up to the 100th anniversary of the strike, where over 25,000 workers walked off the job in support of fair wages, and better working conditions.

“Remembering and honouring the struggles of the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike is important to us as trade unionists and to the community as a whole” said Terry Egan, President of CUPE Manitoba. “It is because of the sacrifices made by striking workers in 1919 that we are able to continue to organize as a movement and fight for our members”.

At 11:00 am on May 15, 1919, workers left their jobs and marched into the streets of Winnipeg, leading to one of the biggest labour actions Canada has ever seen. Strikers included both the private and public sectors, and ranged from garment workers to police officers. On June 21, 1919, the Royal North-West Mounted Police and hired union busters rode on horseback and fired into a crowd of thousands of workers, killing two and injuring countless others.

The new monument, designed by Monteyne Architecture is called The 1919 Marquee, and is installed at the corner of Lily Street and Market Avenue in Winnipeg’s Exchange District, an area that the strike took place. The project was led by a committee that included former CUPE National President Paul Moist.

“The greatest monument to the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike is the work we continue to do today as union activists,” said Egan. “The fight for fair wages and benefits, equity, and safe & healthy workplaces didn’t end in 1919, and we must never relent in the struggle ahead of us.”

CUPE Manitoba represents approximately 26,000 public sector workers in health care, municipalities, school divisions, energy, airlines, social services and childcare, post-secondary education, and more.

CUPE health care members protest cuts in Manitoba

Health care workers lined the streets in front of Health Sciences Centre / CancerCare Manitoba in Winnipeg today to protest government cuts to health care.

“The government’s approach to health care has been confusing, hurtful, and has completely disregarded the needs of both patients and front-line health care workers,” said newly elected CUPE Local 204 President Debbie Boissonneault.

The Pallister government mandated that all Regional Health Authorities in Manitoba find millions in “savings”, which has resulted in the closure of Emergency Rooms, community health programs, policies that lead to staffing shortages, and direct cuts to support staff positions and hours.

The shift rescheduling process at Health Sciences Centre (HSC) has been pointing to significant job cuts and the reduction of full-time health care support staff to part-time work, which will lead to fewer hours of care for Manitoba patients.

CUPE health care members responded by taking their message to the streets with an info picket at HSC/CancerCare Manitoba on September 21.

“Front-line staff at HSC and CancerCare Manitoba are incredibly concerned not just for their jobs, but for the diminished quality of care that will result from cuts to positions and hours”, said Boissonneault. “We know the public stands with health care workers, we need the government to stand with us too and stop the reckless cuts”.

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!

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/concordia-hospital-er-rally-1.4065765

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/hundreds-protest-er-closure-at-concordia-419173964.html

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/our-communities/herald/Residents-fight-to-save-ERs-life-419185714.html

http://www.metronews.ca/news/winnipeg/2017/04/11/concordia-community-rallies-to-save-hospital-emergency-room.html

http://winnipeg.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1098895

 

Kildonan Personal Care Centre Workers to Hold Info Pickets March 23

WINNIPEG – Kildonan Personal Care Centre workers – the women and men who look after elders with compassion and care every day – will be holding an information picket on Thursday, March 23, 2017.

Contract talks between Local 4860 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees and Revera, the company that runs Kildonan PCC, broke down in late January over remaining bargaining items. The parties met in conciliation in February, but wages and benefits were not resolved.

CUPE Local 4860 members are asking for parity with other Revera personal care homes – the same wages and benefits.

WHO:             CUPE Local 4860 personal care centre employees

WHAT:            Information Picket

WHERE:        1970 Henderson Highway, at Bonner Avenue

WHEN:           Thursday, March 23, 2 pm until 6 pm

WHY:              Call for parity on wages and benefits at the bargaining table

“CUPE Local 4860 members do the same job as workers at other care centres,” said Dawn Sabeski, President of CUPE Local 4860. “Kildonan PCC employees caring for our elders deserve parity and fair wages.”

“Elders deserve great care and we want to do the best job we can for them. It’s important for us to be treated fairly so that we can take pride in our work and know that we are valued as much as employees in other personal care homes.”

The Canadian Union of Public Employees is Canada’s largest union representing more than a
half-million members. In Manitoba, CUPE represents approximately 26,000 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.

International Women’s Day is March 8, 2017 – Join the virtual Day of Action!

http://docs.google.com/gview?url=http://cupe.mb.ca/files/2017/02/IWD_Kelly_Moist_IWD.pdf&embedded=true

Download (PDF, 504KB)

http://docs.google.com/gview?url=http://cupe.mb.ca/files/2017/02/Womens-day-Ad_colour_10_25X5_75_PDG.pdf&embedded=true

Download (PDF, 1.56MB)

http://docs.google.com/gview?url=http://cupe.mb.ca/files/2017/03/IWD-Social-Media-Selfies.pdf&embedded=true

Download (PDF, 424KB)