“There seems to be money for everyone but the front-line staff. There is $7.5 million for the new MYS headquarters under construction, money for raises for senior officials at MYS, and enough to give the Premier a raise.” — Michelle Gawronsky, President of MGEU
Winnipeg (15 Aug. 2016) — The Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union (MGEU/NUPGE) is disappointed to announce that following a conciliation session with the employer a deal has yet to be reached and Macdonald Youth Services (MYS) Crisis Stabilization members (Local 221) continue to be on strike.
Workers in vital public service feeling abused and frustrated
The MYS Bargaining Committee recently met with the employer at Conciliation and Mediation Services, in hopes of reaching an agreement and ending the strike. After more than two years, the employer came to the table and still failed to make an offer of any kind, leaving members frustrated and still on the picket line.
“These members provide a vital public service to vulnerable teens, and these kids need them,” said MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky.
Looking for wage increases on par with what others have received
The union is asking for a very modest 2% annual increase, similar to what other members doing the same work have already received. This is 0.08% of the approximately $29 million MYS operating budget.
The employer has publicly supported this wage increase in the media, but new information throws their sincerity into question.
Documents obtained by the MGEU show MYS gave their CEO a 6% raise over the past 2 years and their Director of Business Operations, the lead negotiator who keeps insisting that they can’t afford a modest raise, a 9% increase during the past 2 years. These are the same two years over which these front-line workers have worked without a contract.
Money for everyone but front-line staff
“Our members are caught in a political dispute between the government and their employer. They are being used as pawns,” said Gawronsky. “There seems to be money for everyone but the front-line staff. There is $7.5 million for the new MYS headquarters under construction, money for raises for senior officials at MYS, and enough to give the Premier a raise.”
Gawronsky posed 2 simple questions to MYS:
- If you can give raises of 6% and 9% to your CEO and senior manager, why can’t you make a fair and reasonable offer to your front-line staff?
- Why can’t we just put this contract before an independent arbitrator so that full services can resume, front line staff can go back to work, and kids in crisis can get the services they need?”
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