Scheduling issues, reduced vacation and benefits, and other financial concessions are areas of major contention for MGEU/NUPGE members.
Winnipeg (11 Dec. 2014) — After only three sessions at the bargaining table, the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union bargaining committe for members working at the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority Community Programs broke off negotiations with the employer due to concessionary demands.
Winnipeg Regional Health Authority concessions set a negative tone for collective bargaining
The WRHA’s insistence on moving all employees over to a seven-day work (day and evening) schedule is one of the main areas of contention for the MGEU/NUPGE bargaining committee. A previous arrangement had been agreed upon between the union and the employer but now the employer is re-introducing its original day and evening schedule.
The seven-day schedule is just one of the many concessionary demands the employer has made at the bargaining table. They are also seeking to reduce vacation, general holiday benefits, income protection/sick time, seniority accumulation, union leave, and bereavement leave, while reducing severance pay, merit increases and completely eliminating provisions for bridging years of service.
MGEU/NUPGE members cannot accept the long list of concessions given that they already accepted the provincially-mandated two-year wage freeze during the last round of negotiations.
Concessionary demands and the current work environment could prompt a strike vote
Workload remains a significant issue for members at the WRHA. The WRHA has added programs and increased responsibilities, while patient volumes have increased significantly without any proportional increase in staffing. MGEU/NUPGE has become increasingly worried about the stress placed on members as workers are expected to continue to maintain services with fewer available resources.
The concessions in bargaining add to other workplace issues, such as the WRHA’s increasing practice of vacation blackout periods and ongoing payroll problems creating extreme frustration for the members and bargaining committee.
MGEU/NUPGE has indicated that if the WRHA will not change its concessionary demands, bargaining will not resume and MGEU/NUPGE members will have no choice but to begin preparations for a strike vote in January 2015.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 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