Abortion rights are human rights!

The U.S. Supreme Court has made a decision that directly targets the health & safety, human rights, and reproductive health rights for those accessing abortion and reproductive health services in the United States.

The court’s decision is rooted in politicizing and legislating the rights and decisions away from those needing safe and legal abortion and reproductive health services in their home communities.

All people needing access to abortion services are impacted, as this decision ensures that their bodily autonomy is no longer their own decision. Instead, individual states will have decision making power over what reproductive health services will be available, based on oppressive control measures.

The deep rooted oppressive measures taken are reflective of classism, sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, and discriminatory governance and control.

As Manitoba’s largest union, we share our voice and solidarity with the labour movement, reproductive health clinics, 2SLGBTQI+ organizations, and community organizations in the United States that are advocating and opposing the dismantling of these rights.

We will advocate for everyone who needs abortion services, regardless of race, class, socioeconomic status, gender or identity.

For those who are forced to access abortion services and care in a non regulated or private program, we know that the risks are great for infection, complications, and even death. Public service reproductive care centres and clinics are crucial to ensure all humans have access to inclusive health care services in 2022.

If travel and access to reproductive health care increases in Manitoba as a result of this decision, CUPE & unionized workers stand with anyone seeking reproductive health care in our province.

The following resources and services are available for immediate support:

The Women’s Health Clinic:

https://womenshealthclinic.org/what-we-do/abortion/

Sexuality Education Resource Centre (SERC)

Winnipeg 204-982-7800
or Brandon 204-727-0417
https://serc.mb.ca/reproductive-justice-in-rural-and-remote-manitoban-communities/

For Teen Health information and a list of Teen Clinics in Manitoba visit: www.teentalk.ca

Klinic Crisis Line
204-786-8686 or 1-888-322-3019

Services in the Northern Health Region:

https://northernhealthregion.com/programs-and-services/medical-abortion/

To donate to abortion services in Manitoba, visit:

CUPE Manitoba donates to the Eugene Kostyra Memorial Fund

The CUPE Manitoba executive board made a donation of $5,000 to the Eugene Kostyra Memorial Trust Fund, supporting scholarships for students at St. John’s High School.

“CUPE Manitoba is proud to continue to honour Eugene’s legacy by supporting this wonderful scholarship program in his name”, said Gina McKay, President of CUPE Manitoba. 

“Eugene’s life’s work has impacted thousands of Manitobans, and helped make the lives of CUPE members better”.

Eugene Kostyra was an active CUPE member, moving to become the CUPE Regional Director in Manitoba, and later a Member of the Legislative Assembly and Cabinet Minister.

At the 2021 CUPE Manitoba Convention, delegates voted to support the Eugene Kostyra Memorial Trust Fund, recognizing the importance of Eugene’s work, and it’s ongoing impact in the community.

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.

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”.