Summer 2019 Bargaining Update

Publish date: Thursday, August 01, 2019

Bargaining

MNU members

MNU President

Politics & Government

Union news

The following letter was emailed to MNU members on August 1, 2019.

Dear members,

Bargaining a new contract continues to be a top priority for MNU. Here’s an update on what’s currently happening with respect to negotiating a new collective agreement.

As we’ve previously reported, Bill 29 Commissioner Robert Pruden has advised that the government is refusing to bargain with ANY health care union until Representation votes are complete (voting runs August 8 to August 22). It’s completely unfair and unreasonable that nurses have been caught up in this process. However, the fact is no health care union has been able to negotiate because of this process, and members of all unions affected by the representation votes continue to work under expired collective agreements.

I encourage all members to read the backgrounder below, which summarizes what’s happened to date. Let me be perfectly clear: MNU has made every effort to resume collective bargaining, yet the Pallister government has simply refused to come to the table.

I want to assure all MNU members that following the completion of the representation votes and the issuance of new certifications, MNU will immediately resume preparations for negotiations. Given the current situation, we believe MNU is in a strong position to be the first health care union to the bargaining table, and we are preparing accordingly.

Your Provincial Collective Bargaining Committee is already scheduled to meet following the completion of the voting process. We plan to issue a new call for proposals to MNU members, and review our existing package of proposals. We had previously completed this process in 2016, but given everything that’s happened since then, it’s clearly necessary to consult directly with members again.

In the meantime, for those of you affected, the representation votes serve as an important opportunity to send a strong message to government that nurses are UNITED, and ready to bargain. I hope we can count on those of you affected by the votes to turnout in strong numbers from August 8 to August 22, and VOTE MNU.

The response to our campaign from nurses has been incredibly positive so far. Nurses know the importance of maintaining our own union run for nurses, by nurses. MNU is the only union that can offer specialized services, expertise, and resources exclusively for nurses, while maintaining nurses’ reputation as the most trusted spokespeople in health care. No union has worked harder than MNU to speak out against this government’s attacks on nurses and the health care system. More information about the benefits of MNU representation is available at www.manitobanurses.ca/vote.

While we’re proud of the support we’ve received to date, we don’t take it for granted. There is a lot of work to be done, both during the campaign and afterward, and we are absolutely committed to ensuring that we’re in the best possible position to get nurses a strong collective agreement.

Thank you for your continued support during these challenging times.

Sincerely,

Darlene Jackson
Chair, Provincial Collective Bargaining Committee
President, Manitoba Nurses Union


MNU Bargaining Backgrounder

Months prior to the expiry of the MNU Collective Agreement in March 2017, the MNU Provincial Collective Bargaining Committee (PCBC) finalized our list of bargaining proposals, and served notice to bargain. We took every necessary step with the reasonable expectation that government would bargain fairly with nurses.

Unfortunately, the Pallister government has since refused to meet us at the bargaining table. Instead, the government has imposed two severe pieces of legislation that have circumvented every health care union’s right to bargain a fair contract for their members:

  • Bill 28, The Public Services Sustainability Act was passed in 2017. It imposes a two-year wage freeze followed by a 0.75 per cent increase in the third year and 1 per cent increase in the fourth year.
    • Though it has not been proclaimed so it’s not technically law yet, the bill severely undermines the collective bargaining process, and is being challenged in court by The Partnership to Defend Public Services, a coalition of public sector unions that includes MNU. The case will be heard in the Court of Queen's Bench from November 18 to December 5, 2019.
  • Bill 29, The Health Sector Bargaining Review Act (HSBURA) was also passed in 2017 and is forcing health care unions into upcoming representation votes beginning August 8, 2019.
    • Though passed in June 2017, HSBURA was not proclaimed into law until May of 2018. Since then, MNU along with other health care unions have been forced into a prolonged process to organize and implement these votes. In May 2019 we finally confirmed which regions nurses would be voting in. In June 2019 the dates for the vote were confirmed for August 8 to August 22, 2019.

The Pallister government has indicated it will not consider entering into collective bargaining with any health care union until the process is complete.

As a result, MNU has been forced to operate under the same collective agreement until a new contract is negotiated.

It’s a challenging situation for nurses. We have made every effort to hold the government accountable, advocating for nurses and our right to free and fair collective bargaining at every opportunity. We will continue to do so, and we’ll continue to keep members informed of any new developments. Visit manitobanurses.ca/bargainingcentre for more on bargaining, and mantiobanurses.ca/vote for more on our campaign to VOTE MNU.

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