Judge delivers decision on injunction against Manitoba's Bill 28

“Even though we wanted a different outcome, we remain confident in our position as we move forward with the constitutional challenge.” — Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU President

Winnipeg (23 July 2018) — On July 20, the judge who had heard the case brought forward by the Partnership to Defend Public Services against the Pallister government’s wage freeze legislation (Bill 28 The Public Services Sustainability Act), released his ruling on the Bill 28 injunction. Unfortunately, the judge ruled against the Partnership’s request for an injunction. The MGEU/NUPGE is a proud member of the Partnership to Defend Public Services (PDPS). 

Ruling has no bearing on constitutional challenge

“Obviously this is disappointing news, but we always knew that winning this injunction would be very challenging,” said Michelle Gawronsky, President of the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE). “I want to reassure all MGEU/NUPGE members that this ruling has no bearing or influence on our constitutional challenge.”

Gawronsky also noted that the judge said the main trial will proceed on an expedited basis.

“Even though we wanted a different outcome, we remain confident in our position as we move forward with the constitutional challenge,” said Gawronsky. 

Labour movement not backing down from protecting public services or public service workers

"Manitoba’s labour movement remains committed to standing up for our province’s dedicated public sector workers despite the court ruling in the injunction case brought by the Partnership to Defend Public Services," announced Kevin Rebeck, President of the Manitoba Federation of Labour.

“While winning this injunction would have meant an immediate victory for working families in our province, we knew all along that courts rarely grant injunctions in these types of cases,” said Rebeck. “But we have been clear all along that we will never back down when it comes to making sure the public services we count on are protected, and that the workers who deliver them are respected.”

A successful injunction exempting parties from legislation before the case goes to trial is hard to come by, as the courts set a very high bar and do not grant these types of injunctions very often.

Constitutional challenge to be heard in coming months

Rebeck added that the PDPS’s main legal challenge on the constitutionality of the Pallister government’s wage freeze legislation has yet to be heard.

“While we certainly would have preferred to win this injunction to stop this law’s harmful impacts on bargaining in Manitoba right away, this ruling doesn’t mean that the courts have ruled on the constitutionality of the law,” said Rebeck. “We remain confident and we look forward to presenting our full constitutional challenge to the Court of Queen’s Bench in the coming months. We will continue to fight back against the Pallister government’s cuts and attacks on services on behalf of Manitoba’s 120,000 public sector workers.”

Rebeck stressed that moving forward, Manitoba’s labour movement looks forward to the full Charter challenge case being heard on an expedited basis by the courts.

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The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 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