Killarney office closure short-sighted; Gawronsky asks Premier to reconsider

The government is closing its Provincial Services office in Killarney, and the jobs of the affected members will be transferred to Winnipeg. Send the Premier a message; tell him to keep the Killarney office open.

Winnipeg (10 April 2018) — The Manitoba government is closing the Provincial Services office in Killarney and transferring the work to Winnipeg — a move that came as a big surprise to the 5 employees who work in the Department of Families.

MGEU/NUPGE asks Premier for evidence of declining volume of work

“A declining volume of work” was the reason provided by the province to the affected members of the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE). However, the employees, who oversee 6 separate provincial programs and ensure low-income families and seniors receive their benefits, say there has been no slowdown in their work.

In a recent letter sent to the Premier, Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU President, asked for clarification on the issue and evidence from the province that shows a “declining volume of work.” She asked that the government reconsider its decision and keep the office open.

Local jobs important to community economy

“Anyone living in a small town knows how important these kinds of local jobs are. They keep the economy going and support families living in the community,” says Gawronsky. “A previous Progressive Conservative government decentralized jobs years ago and moved them to towns like Killarney for this very reason. Now, these hard-working members are being told their jobs have an expiry date. It makes no sense.”

The province says that each affected staff member was asked to state whether they intend to move to Winnipeg, along with their work. If they do not wish to make the 230 kilometre move (and none of the workers do), the province will have to find other work for the members in the region. To date, no one has received an option for another position in the surrounding area. 

“Obviously, our members prefer to stay where they’ve put down roots, doing the work they were trained to do. I don’t know where the government will find other comparable work nearby," said Gawronsky.

Send letter to Premier

The office is scheduled to close in May, which is why Gawronsky is calling on all concerned MGEU/NUPGE members and Manitobans to send the Premier a message, asking him to reverse the decision to close the Killarney office.

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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