“When it comes down to it, this is about the need for stable, predictable funding for our First Nations communities." —Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU President
Winnipeg (16 Dec. 2016) — Members of the Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union (MGEU/NUPGE) who work at Nisichawayasihk Personal Care Home voted to ratify a new 2-year collective agreement with the employer.
Settlement goes part of the way to addressing pay equity issues
The workers, who provide round-the-clock elder care in Nelson House, had been on strike since November 28 over the fact they earn significantly less than other workers in Manitoba who have the same training and do the same job.
“These members have been fighting to address this disparity for years and given their deep concern for their elders, only took job action as a last resort,” said Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU President. “In the end, while the employer was not able to offer all we need to fully address the disparity, this new deal is a big step towards reaching equity.”
Employer, MGEU/NUPGE will work together to secure necessary funds to achieve wage parity
The new collective agreement includes a 10 per cent wage increase in the first year of the agreement, retroactive to the expiry of the previous contract nearly 9 months ago, and a 3 per cent wage increase in the second year.
“The new agreement will go about halfway to addressing the inequity in pay between Nelson House health care support workers and workers in places like Thompson,” Gawronsky said. “This is a significant move forward and the employer has also committed to working with us to secure the necessary funds to achieve wage parity in the near future.”
Federal funding key to providing stable, predictable funding for First Nations
Both the union and employer point to the federal government as key to fully rectifying the problem.
“When it comes down to it, this is about the need for stable, predictable funding for our First Nations communities,” said Gawronsky. “In order for our members to be paid fairly and equitably, our Federal government needs to step up and adequately fund First Nations personal care homes like Nisichawayasihk.”
With the new agreement ratified, MGEU/NUPGE members were scheduled to be back on the job by the evening of December 15.
“I know our members are profoundly relieved that they’ll be there, caring for their elders, over the holidays,” Gawronsky said.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 370,000 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