“It was a sad day, a tough day for these workers, with many tears shed and fears shared. For them, their biggest concern is for their clients and how they will be affected." — Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU President
Winnipeg (14 May 2018) — It was a sad day in Killarney, as Michelle Gawronsky, President of the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE), stood with members on the last day before the government closed their office for good.
Manitoba government closing Department of Families office short-sighted
The Killarney-based employees from the Department of Families were asked to meet with 2 department officials on Wednesday, with Gawronsky joining them, to discuss the relocation of their jobs. Despite requests from the union to reconsider and hundreds of emails sent by Manitobans asking the Premier to keep the Department of Families Provincial Services Office open, the government moved forward with their short-sighted plan yesterday.
“It was a sad day, a tough day for these workers, with many tears shed and fears shared,” said Gawronsky. “For them, their biggest concern is for their clients and how they will be affected. This will have an impact on the community and how they access these services. But I also wonder what this will mean for the future of these workers.”
While the jobs will move to Winnipeg, the affected members have been redeployed in other roles in Brandon, which amounts to a 3-hour daily commute in some cases.
No proof yet to back decision
Manitoba government officials claim a “declining volume of work” was their reason behind the closure. Gawronsky recently wrote the Families Minister asking for proof of declining work, but the government has yet to provide any concrete evidence.
“I think there is wisdom in supporting the local economy and keeping this work here in the community, but they refused to see it," Gawronsky said. "Ultimately, it will be Killarney seniors and families with young children who will pay the price for these cuts.”
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