Workers at Macdonald Youth Services in Winnipeg to hold information picket

“We are calling on the government to honour their financial commitment and do the right thing for these workers, vulnerable young people, and all Manitobans.” — Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU President

Winnipeg (11 July 2016) — Members of Macdonald Youth Services Crisis Stabilization, Local 221 of the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE), will be holding a lunch hour information picket on Tuesday, July 12, 2016 at Macdonald Youth Services’ temporary head office at 491 Portage Ave. (Rice Financial building) from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm.

New provincial government not honouring commitment

“After over two years at the bargaining table, our union finally received a financial commitment from the previous government,” said MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky. “Unfortunately, the new government has not so far honoured the commitment that we were assured in April 2016.”

Members of Local 221 provide specialized crisis response care for Manitoba’s most vulnerable young people. The Mobile Crisis Team made nearly 1,500 visits last year to help families deal with a young person struggling with self-harm, at-risk behaviours, mental health issues, and parent/child conflict. They also help young girls who’ve been sexually exploited into places of safety where they can be supported and stabilized.

Providing urgent care 24/7

“There is no one else in the city that provides this kind of urgent care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year,” Gawronsky said. “These workers are profoundly committed to the youth and families they serve. But they now find themselves in a highly unfair and unsustainable situation, with little choice other than to consider a work stoppage.”

The previous government committed to wage increases for these workers ― which is just a small step towards addressing some of the inequities that currently exist. Those who provide similar services to adults, for instance, make approximately $10 more per hour. This means it’s not easy to recruit and retain these professionals who specialize in youth crisis.

Calling on the provincial government to do the right thing

“It was with great reluctance that these members voted to strike,” Gawronsky said. “In the event of a work stoppage, an entire system of supports will be impacted. Emergency Rooms and CFS after-hours units and shelters will see an influx of those in need, and there will be increased calls to the Winnipeg Police Service.”

Members of Local 221 provide a vital public service. They specialize in diffusing emergencies and reaching families and youth before things break down completely and young people find themselves in hospital, in the social service system, or in court. Gawronsky said beginning to address a fair wage for these critical workers is a sound investment for all Manitobans.

“We are calling on the government to honour their financial commitment and do the right thing for these workers, vulnerable young people, and all Manitobans.”

NUPGE

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

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