MGEU/NUPGE members trying to negotiate a fair and reasonable collective agreement in the face of concessions from the employer.
Winnipeg (08 Jan. 2015) — On January 6 and 7, members of the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE) employed by the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) Community Programs cast their ballots in a strike vote.
Strike vote response was overwhelming
A significant majority of the approximately 800 eligible voting members turned out to vote. When all the ballots were tallied late last night, 98 per cent supported strike action.
With such a substantial strike mandate from the membership, MGEU bargaining committee is hopeful that when negotiations resume on January 30 (the next scheduled bargaining session) the WRHA’s representatives are prepared to remove their concessionary proposals.
Health care workers vital to ensuring Manitobans receive timely and quality care in the community
The MGEU/NUPGE members in this bargaining unit perform a wide range of jobs from case coordinators, resource coordinators and scheduling clerks to dieticians, audiologists, nurses, clinicians and administrative staff. Working in the Home Care program, Community Mental Health, Access Centres and QuickCare Clinics, these workers are vital to Manitoba’s health care system — preventing hallway medicine by ensuring patients receive timely, appropriate care in the community.
Workload remains a significant issue for these professionals, particularly since the WRHA has added programs, responsibilities and patients without a proportional increase in staffing. The union has become increasingly worried about the stress placed on members, as workers are expected to continue to maintain services with fewer resources available.
Employer proposals refuse to address serious issues of workload and lack of resources
Other workplace issues, such as the WRHA’s increasing practice of vacation blackout periods and ongoing payroll problems, have added to the frustration. So, when the employer’s representatives began negotiations in December by presenting a long list of contract clawbacks and insisted on moving all employees over to a seven-day work schedule, the bargaining committee knew members would not support their proposals. This recent strike vote result reaffirms that fact.
The bargaining committee’s next step is to sit down with the employer to negotiate an essential services agreement to be enacted in the event of a strike.
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