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Travel Manitoba - Local 355 - Bargaining Brief
Updated: May 24, 2023
Approx. Number of Members: 23
Current Contract Expires: March 26, 2018
MGEU Staff Negotiator: Tara Schjerning
Elected Bargaining Committee Members: Alexandra Krosney, Jillian Recksiedler
LATEST BARGAINING NEWS
Members of Travel Manitoba - Local 355 voted overwhelmingly to reject the employer's second final offer on March 14, 2023.
On May 17, 2023, the Bargaining Committee returned to the table and reached a tentative agreement with the employer.
Members will have an opportunity to ask questions about the agreement at a discussion meeting scheduled for Wednesday, June 7 at 7:15 pm, via Webex.
Ballots will be mailed out on June 5, along with the ratification package, and be due back by noon on Friday June 16. Ballots will be counted on Friday June 16 at 1 pm.
Overview of Bargaining So Far
Members of Travel MB - Local 355 had an opportunity to share their ideas and proposals for improving their collective agreement at a proposal meeting held February 15, 2018.
The Bargaining Committee then worked to pull together these proposals into a package to present to the employer.
The Travel MB - Local 355 Bargaining Committee exchanged
proposal packages with the employer on June 18, 2018 and met as a
committee on July 21 to discuss strategy.
Manitoba agreed to resume negotiations with the Travel Manitoba -
Local 355 Bargaining Committee in spring 2020. But a number of management and organizational changes prevented this from happening. Monetary items like contract language and working conditions were already put on hold until the
court challenge of the government's public service wage freeze
legislation is resolved in the coming months (see details below).
The Travel Manitoba - Local 355 Bargaining
Committee resumed bargaining with the employer on October 26 and 28 and November 16 and 18, 2022. On November 18, 2022, the Bargaining Committee received a "final offer: from the employer.
A ratification meeting was scheduled for Thursday, December 15 but had to be cancelled due to illness.
The Bargaining Committee recommended
rejection of the final offer.
Members of Travel Manitoba - Local 355 voted overwhelmingly to reject the employer's final offer on January 12, 2023.
The employer agreed to return to the table on Monday, February 13, 2023 and presented the Committee with another final offer.
The Bargaining Committee scheduled a virtual ratification discussion meeting on March 2, 2023 at 6:30 pm. Voting was held by mail-in ballot, with all ballots due back in the MGEU office by March 13, 2023 at 4 pm.
CIVIL SERVICE NEGOTIATIONS: THE ISSUES
THE GOVERNMENT’S WAGE FREEZE LEGISLATION (BILL 28)
In 2017, the government announced that they would not consider giving any public service workers any general pay increase for the first two years of their new contract. So along with other Manitoba unions, the MGEU formed the Partnership to Defend Public Services to challenge the government in court they’re doing goes against Canadian laws – all workers have the right to negotiate a fair contract, including their wages.
trial was held over a few days in November 2019. MGEU President Michelle
Gawronsky took the stand as the 4th PDPS witness. Economists, other
labour leaders, labour relations experts, as well as several MGEU staff were
also called to testify.
All of this testimony added to the body of evidence placed before the judge, which already includes 37 affidavits and more than 100 pages of agreed upon facts.
In January 2020, the PDPS and the Government filed their written arguments with the court. Final arguments were heard over three days in February.
June 11, a Court of Queen's Bench judge ruled in favour of the unions,
agreeing that Bill 28 violated members' rights under the Canadian
Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Since then, the union has been working with MGEU lawyers to review the Judge’s 236-page ruling and
determine next steps.
THE GOVERNMENT’S REFUSAL TO APPOINT A THIRD-PARTY ARBITRATION BOARD
The Civil Service Bargaining Committee exchanged proposal packages with the employer in March 2019 and negotiations began in mid-April. Almost immediately, these negotiations were frustrated by the Province’s refusal to discuss wages and benefits and their unwillingness to be up front about whether or not they intended to table the wage mandate contained in Bill 28.
As a result, the Civil Service Bargaining
Committee felt compelled to file for arbitration, which allows an independent,
third-party panel to hear arguments from both sides, and determine a contract
settlement. The Committee strongly believes that an independent arbitration board
will provide a fair outcome, setting aside the Province’s unproclaimed
legislation. This judgement has been reinforced by recent arbitration
settlements in Manitoba’s public sector.
After filing for arbitration, the MGEU began working with legal counsel to prepare the MGEU’s presentation on behalf of all MGEU Civil Service members.
However, in September 2019, the MGEU learned that the Minister responsible for the Civil Service is refusing to appoint an arbitration panel. In effect, the Minister is denying Civil Service members their legal right to arbitration.
This left the MGEU with no choice but to file an application asking the Court of Queen's Bench to order the government to appoint an arbitrator.
union and the Province filed written arguments on January 30, 2020 and
made their case in front of the judge on February 27, 2020.
On June 1, the
Minister responsible for the Civil Service wrote the MGEU to say it
will be take the first step in complying with the court's order to
appoint an arbitration panel. However, the Minister also said the government would be appealing the
judge's ruling in the MGEU's favour.
Despite the government’s appeal, the union pushed ahead with preparations for the arbitration at the same time as the appeal proceeded through the courts. Both the MGEU and the employer nominated their representatives to the Arbitration Board, which settled the terms of a new collective agreement for MGEU Civil service members by issuing an Award in May 2022.
Once the Interest
Arbitration Board issued its Award on a new
collective agreement for MGEU Civil Service members, the Travel MB -
Local 355 Bargaining Committee worked to schedule bargaining dates in