HCSS Bargaining Bulletin: MGEU to Keep up Pressure as Representation Votes Unfold

Jun 12, 2018

The following Bargaining Bulletin was emailed to HCSS members today:

Over the past year, MGEU has been pushing hard to bargain a new collective agreement for you to replace the one that expired on March 31, 2017. Now that the government is finally proceeding with plans for holding health care representation votes (also known as intermingling votes), I thought it might be helpful to give you a bit of an update on what has happened so far, and how your union will keep fighting to get you to the bargaining table as soon as possible.

March 2017

The government announced they want to reduce the number of bargaining units in each health region and each health employer (Bill 29). To achieve this, they said representation votes would be held in bargaining sectors in each region where there was more than one union.

The MGEU and other health care unions told the government that these votes would be a waste of time and money. They gave the government options for streamlining health care bargaining even more than it already is — but the government rejected these recommendations.

Meanwhile, the MGEU Central Table HCSS agreement that covers you expired on March 31, 2017 (NOTE: it still, however, remains your collective agreement to be followed until a new one is ratified).

Your Bargaining Committee notified the employer they were ready to begin negotiations — but the employers refused, saying there was no point in starting bargaining if representation votes could be called at any time.

April 2017 to December 2017

The HCSS employers continued to delay negotiations because of Bill 29, but the government did nothing to actually implement Bill 29. During these months, I spoke with the government and the media many times, arguing that our members have a right to bargain a new collective agreement and must not be held hostage by government foot-dragging on Bill 29 representation votes.

January 2018

After nearly ten months of government inaction, enough was enough. The MGEU filed an unfair labour practice against employers for refusing to bargain with us — either the government must begin implementing Bill 29 and moving forward with representation votes, or the employers must come to the table.

Several weeks later, the Manitoba Labour Board scheduled hearing dates — June 20 and 21, 2018 — for our unfair labour practice complaint to be dealt with.

May 2018

The government proclaimed Bill 29 and started moving forward on representation votes. Given this, the MGEU agreed to put our unfair labour practice complaint hearing on hold.

Which brings us to today!

Please be assured that if the government does not keep moving forward in good faith with these votes, the MGEU can and will request new hearing dates with the Labour Board. We will keep the pressure on until we get to the bargaining table!

Next steps

At this point, we anticipate that votes will be called in the next few months. We will be sure to let you know, however, as soon as we have any updates.
In the meantime, you will most likely see MGEU representatives in facilities throughout the province over the summer, talking about what’s at stake, and why our union is the biggest, strongest, and best health care union in Manitoba. When you have a moment, visit CareComesFirst.ca to find out more.

If you have any questions at all about bargaining, the votes, or your union in general, please contact us.

In Solidarity,
Michelle Gawronsky
MGEU President

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