"We are calling on the government to honour the financial commitment and do the right thing for these workers, vulnerable young people, and all Manitobans.” — Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU President
Winnipeg (20 July 2016) — The members of the Manitoba Government and General Employees Union (MGEU/NUPGE) bargaining team at MacDonald Youth Services have announced that members will begin strike action on August 1, 2016.
MGEU/NUPGE members worked for 2 years to get contract
“These are professionals who care for Manitoba’s most vulnerable young people and after more than 2 years at the bargaining table, they have done everything possible to avoid a work stoppage,” said MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky. “Unfortunately, the government has not stepped up to do the right thing and provide adequate and sustainable funding for the critical services these members provide 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”
Last year, the Mobile Crisis Team made nearly 1,500 visits to help families deal with a young person struggling with self-harm, at-risk behaviours, mental health issues, and parent/child conflict. They also help young girls who’ve been sexually exploited get to places of safety where they can be supported and stabilized.
Inadequate and unstable funding hurts clients and workers
The previous government committed a wage increase for 4 years for these workers ― the sum of which is just a small step towards addressing some of the inequities that currently exist. Those who provide similar services to adults through the WRHA, for instance, make approximately $10 more per hour. This means it’s not easy to recruit and retain these professionals who specialize in youth crisis.
“It was with great reluctance that these members have opted to strike,” Gawronsky said. “With this work stoppage, an entire system of supports will be impacted. Emergency Rooms and Child Family Services (CFS) after hours units and shelters will see an influx of those in need, and there will be increased calls to the Winnipeg Police Service.”
Tell the Manitoba government to honour its funding commitments
Given the critical nature of their work, MGEU/NUPGE members recognize the importance of having a minimum level of service in place to ensure the safety of youth in crisis while they sort out these bargaining issues. As such, they will be requesting to negotiate an Essential Services agreement with the employer prior to the strike date.
“Members of Local 221 specialize in diffusing emergencies and reaching families and youth before things break down completely and young people find themselves in hospital, in the social service system, or in court,” she said. “Beginning to address a fair wage for these critical workers is a sound investment for all Manitobans. We are calling on the government to honour the financial commitment and do the right thing for these workers, vulnerable young people, and all Manitobans.”
Please support these members by taking a minute to send a message to government. Ask it to do the right thing by honouring their financial commitment.
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