“Again, our message is simple. A fair and reasonable wage increase is not too much to ask.” — Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU President
Winnipeg (08 June 2015) — The Manitoba government’s foot-dragging at more than a dozen bargaining tables has left 25,000 members without a contract ― and the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE) with no choice but to go public with a clear message: "Enough is enough. A fair and reasonable wage increase is not too much to ask."
Manitoba government putting public services at risk by delaying negotiations
“These Manitobans are the foundation of our public services: many work in home care, some are social workers or addictions counselors,” said MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky. “Nearly fourteen thousand work directly for the Province, in anywhere from highways and campgrounds to health records and water safety. If solutions aren’t found soon, some of these workers could be in a position to take strike votes and others may be forced into lengthy arbitrations that could take up to another year or more.”
In an effort to kick-start contract talks, the MGEU/NUPGE has launched an advertising campaign to share with Manitobans what’s at stake if talks remain stalled.
The campaign will begin on June 8 with a series of radio ads that directs listeners to the MGEU’s Elephant Talk website to learn more. The site includes interactive links, including a way for MGEU/NUPGE members and average Manitobans to send a message to the government, encouraging them return to the bargaining table with a fair offer.
MGEU members took wage freezes during last round, economy has improved to allow government to negotiate fair deals
Gawronsky said, "the goal at these bargaining tables is a simple one that should be shared by the Selinger government: fair wage increases that are in keeping with what’s already been negotiated for other public sector workers.”
“These are the workers who voted to accept wage freezes in their last contract to help the government in meeting its fiscal challenges,” Gawronsky said. “Now, forecasts point to Manitoba being one of the most economically healthy provinces in Canada and these workers feel they have earned the right to modest contract improvements at least in keeping with agreements bargained for other public sector workers.”
Surveys show Manitobans highly value public services
In public surveys like the one recently conducted by the MGEU/NUPGE, Manitobans are consistent in expressing not only how much they value the services provided by public sector workers, but how they want these services protected and enhanced.
“Manitobans deserve to know what’s at stake,” Gawronsky said, “In the case of home care, for instance, more and more workers are leaving the program because of continuing workplace issues, including the fact that they don’t get paid when they’re sick or when they’re travelling from one client to the next.”
She added that the public service is also seeing the loss of good people with specialized skills because wages haven’t remained competitive with the private sector.
“Again, our message is simple. A fair and reasonable wage increase is not too much to ask.”
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