MGEU calls on government to immediately hire more staff at Cadham Lab

Winnipeg (21 Oct. 2020) — The Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE) sent a letter to Premier Brian Pallister this week, pointing out that Medical Lab Technologists (MLTs) at Cadham Provincial Laboratory — Manitoba's flagship provincial medical lab — are at a breaking point and more staff must be hired as soon as possible.

Working at 300% of their normal capacity

"When the pandemic hit, Cadham Lab employees stepped up to the challenge, processing thousands of samples, working tremendous amounts of overtime, at a pace they have never seen before," said Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU President. "I’m told that right now they are working at about 300% of their normal capacity. This includes not just COVID-19 testing, but also testing required for our health care system to continue serving the broader medical needs of Manitobans."

Recently, a group of employees from Cadham Lab sent a letter to the Assistant Deputy Minister of Health, outlining urgent needs on the front lines. In particular, they explained why they need relief in the form of more Medical Lab Technologists to process COVID-19 samples.

Hiring more public workers helps with capacity issues and prevents burnout

"Since the onset of this pandemic, the province has focused on expanding private testing, rather than expanding capacity at Cadham Lab," Gawronsky said. "By investing in additional staff, Cadham Lab can quickly meet the growing pressure on our lab testing capacity."

The Winnipeg Free Press recently reported that lab capacity, including private capacity, is approaching its limit. As COVID-19 testing ramps up, with additional sample collection sites, hiring more MLT’s at Cadham Lab will add much-needed capacity during the second wave of this pandemic. Adding staff is also necessary to prevent staff burnout and ensure a thriving lab team into the coming months and years.

"The dedicated staff at Cadham Lab want to do what they do best: accurately and efficiently diagnose illness and keep Manitobans safe," Gawronsky said. "They are relying on our government’s immediate attention to this urgent matter."

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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