“These members believe very strongly that this is not just about their own safety in an often dangerous environment at HSC. Without a trained and experienced security workforce at the hospital, patients and visitors are facing too many risks as well.” — Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU President
Winnipeg (07 Dec. 2015) — Members of the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE) who work in security at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg met on November 30 to prepare for a mid-December strike.
Possible strike over high attrition rates, unsafe working conditions
In this round of bargaining, their employer has failed to effectively deal with high staff turnover in what has become an often dangerous work environment.
“Local members remain profoundly frustrated by the employer’s unwillingness to provide an offer that addresses extremely high staff turnover,” said MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky.
Attracted by better compensation and safer workplaces, many officers are leaving to work in other fields. In the last five years alone, about half of the security team of 80 has left.
MGEU/NUPGE had hoped negotiations would continue but employer offer hasn't changed
After holding a successful information picket in September and delivering a strong strike mandate in October, members were hopeful that the province, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) and HSC management would provide an offer that would help recruit and keep more qualified officers at HSC.
“Talks were to resume Thursday, November 12,” Gawronsky said, “but the Bargaining Committee ended up canceling that meeting because the employer had made it clear their offer hadn’t changed. With nothing to discuss, there was no point in meeting.”
Safety issues concern workers and patients
Preparations are currently underway to set up picket lines outside the hospital beginning December 15, 2015. An Essential Services agreement has been negotiated with the employer to maintain core services during the strike.
“These members believe very strongly that this is not just about their own safety in an often dangerous environment at HSC,” Gawronsky said. “Without a trained and experienced security workforce at the hospital, patients and visitors are facing too many risks as well.”
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