"The committee felt this offer was improved enough to take it back to the members for consideration." — Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU President
Winnipeg (07 Jan. 2016) — After more than a year at the bargaining table, civil service members of the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE) reached a tentative agreement with the employer on December 30, 2015.
Long negotiations but civil service members kept up pressure to get good contract
"It was a long and frustrating round of negotiations," said MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky. "This Bargaining Committee worked so hard to get the employer back to the table with a fair offer, and now that the employer has offered some real improvements, it's time to take it back to our membership for a vote."
In July 2015, MGEU/NUPGE civil service members filed for abitration over the issue of wages. The provincial government had offered to other public sector workers general wage increases in the first two years of the collective agreement. The same offer was not included in negotiations with MGEU/NUPGE members. An arbitration panel was agreed upon, and dates for a hearing was scheduled for late May and early June 2016.
"But over the past several months, we kept the pressure on through advertising, rallies and demonstrations, and meetings with politicians," Gawronsky said, "and eventually, they responded."
New offer contains no concessions
The employer invited the committee to return to the bargaining table on December 11, 2015, to present a revised offer. On December 17, the committee countered and on December 30, they returned to the table with their best and final offer.
The improved offer is a five-year deal with employment security in a time of potential uncertainty,and it contains no concessions. The employer, however, did not change the wage offer in the first two years of the agreement.
"The committee felt this offer was improved enough to take it back to the members for consideration," Gawronsky said.
If offer rejected, abitration continues
If the offer is rejected, the Committee will proceed to arbitration on the dates scheduled, with a decision expected no earlier than the fall of 2016 or winter of 2017. If the offer is accepted, the employer has agreed to prepare it for sign off as quickly as possible so that agreed to changes can be implemented.
Voting will take place in meeting locations across the province in the last two weeks of January, and through mail-in ballot. Members will not be issued another ballot, other than the one they are mailed. All ballots must be received at the MGEU Head Office in Winnipeg before 4 p.m. on January 27, 2016 to be counted.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE