Why are these votes taking place?
The Health Sector Bargaining Unit Review Act (Bill 29) which seeks to reduce the number of bargaining units in health care, became law in May 2018. As a result of the bill, thousands of health care workers must now vote to choose the union they want to represent them. The government has appointed a Commissioner, Robert Pruden, to oversee these health care representation votes.
When will the votes happen?
The votes will take place between Thursday, August 8, 2019 at noon and Thursday, August 22, 2019 at noon.
How will health care workers be able to vote?
An independent third party will conduct the votes electronically. Starting Thursday, August 8 at noon and ending Thursday, August 22 at noon, all health care workers involved in the votes will be able to cast their ballot electronically using any internet-enabled device (such as a computer, smart phone or tablet) or touch-tone phone. The Commissioner will mail out a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to health care workers at their home address between July 24 and August 6, 2019. Detailed instructions will be provided to health care workers, who can choose to vote by either logging in to a website or by using a touch-tone phone.
The ballot will contain a list of eligible unions (in random order) and workers will be asked to choose one. The union who receives the most votes will win and will be responsible for representing all employees in the new bargaining unit, regardless of which union represented those members before the vote. That is why every vote for the MGEU counts!
There will be no mail-in ballots.
Will voting be anonymous?
Yes. The Commissioner has assured us that the voting process will be completely anonymous. For voting security, it will be known WHO voted, but not HOW anyone voted — a similar practice to other types of elections.
How can workers find out which representation vote(s) they are eligible to participate in?
Employees who are eligible to vote will receive a package from the Commissioner containing a letter from the Commissioner and information from the unions that opted to participate in the Direct Mail-out. It is anticipated that these packages will be delivered to employees' home addresses between July 9 and July 19, 2019. The Commissioner's letter will indicate which representation vote(s) you are eligible to participate in as of that date. If your employment status changes, it may impact your eligibility to vote. If you do not receive a package and you believe you are eligible to vote, please contact your employer or the MGEU Resource Centre.
How can workers find out which bargaining unit their classification has been assigned to?
The Commissioner’s Provincial Classification Slotting list shows the bargaining unit for each classification.
The Community Support bargaining unit includes: Home
Care Attendants, Health Care Aides, Activity Aides, Recreation Aides, Mental
Health Proctors, Rehabilitation Assistants, Patient Porters, Crisis Workers.
The Facility Support bargaining unit includes: Dietary Aides, Housekeeping Aides, Laundry Aides, Clerical and Secretarial staff, Instrument & Sterile Processing Technicians, Home Support Workers, Carpenters, Plumbers & Electricians, Material, Laundry & Housekeeping Porters.
The Professional/Technical/Paramedical bargaining unit includes: Medical Lab Assistants, Lab Technologists, EMS Paramedic Technicians, Diagnostic Imagining Technologists, Pharmacists & Pharmacy Assistants, Occupational Therapists & Physiotherapists, Social Workers and Dieticians.
The Nurses bargaining unit includes all nursing classifications.
Are workers voting to choose a contract?
No. The Commissioner says that workers are voting on which union will represent you and negotiate on your behalf. You are not voting to choose a collective agreement, but you are making a decision based on which union you believe will best represent you, speak up for you, and fight for you in the new round of negotiations, and into the future.
When can collective bargaining begin?
Once votes are finished and the successful union is chosen, collective bargaining can begin. How soon that happens after the votes will be up to the successful union and the employer. Some new bargaining units will include many existing collective agreements, which means bargaining could be a complicated, time-intensive process in some cases. If the MGEU is the successful union in your vote, a bargaining committee will be elected from the membership and they will collect proposals from all new and existing members in the bargaining unit to create a proposal package to take to the bargaining table.
Existing contracts will continue to apply until a new one is negotiated.
How to learn more about these votes
We encourage health care workers to continue to visit CareComesFirst.ca for the latest about the votes. The MGEU is touring more than 100 workplaces across Manitoba to talk with workers and answer their questions. If you see the Care Comes First team in your workplace, please drop by, say hi and ask a question. See the full schedule.
The Commissioner has also developed a website (www.bill29commissioner.com) for more information.
A quick history of Bill 29
In 2017, the government announced that they wanted to reduce the number of health care bargaining units (Bill 29).
They said wherever health care workers belonged to different unions but did similar jobs for the same employer organization, those workers must vote on which union they want to represent them.
The Bill’s announcement brought all health care bargaining to a halt until union representation votes could take place.
In May 2018, the government proclaimed the Bill and appointed a Commissioner to oversee the votes.
The Commissioner has stated — “Employees are only voting on which union they want to represent them into the future. Employees are NOT voting on a collective agreement.”
Following the votes, all employees will continue to be covered by their existing collective agreements until a new one is negotiated and voted on.
In early 2019, the government passed a new regulation redefining support bargaining units and bringing Home Care into the votes. Community Support was expanded to include health care aides, other workers in hospitals and PCHs who provide direct care, and home care attendants.Facility Support now includes those providing operational support services like scheduling, clerical, laundry, and maintenance.