Child and Family Services Western - Local 211 - Bargaining Brief
Updated: Sep 20, 2022
Approx. Number of Members: 40
Current Contract Expires: Local 211: March 31, 2019
MGEU Staff Negotiator: Laura Nelson
Elected Bargaining Committee Members: CFS Western - Local 211: Chet Baker, Marshall Terhock
LATEST BARGAINING NEWS
The CFS Western/EPR - Locals 211 Bargaining Committee reached a tentative agreement with the employer on September8, 2022.
Members will have an opportunity to vote on the agreement at a ratification meeting scheduled for September 26, 9:30-11:00 am, at Brandon MGEU Office.
Overview of Bargaining So Far
Members of CFS Western (EPR) - Local 450 had an opportunity to put forward their ideas and proposals for their new collective agreement with the employer on February 5, 2019. The Bargaining Committee then worked to pull together these proposals into a bargaining package to present to the employer.
Members of CFS Western - Local 211 had an opportunity to put forward their ideas and proposals for their new collective agreement with the employer on May 7, 2019. The Bargaining Committee is now working to pull together these proposals into a bargaining package to present to the employer.
The Bargaining Committees for Child and Family Services Western - Local 211 and Emergency Placement Resources (EPR) Local 450 met with the employer on September 12, 2019. Both sides decided to delay entering into bargaining
with the employer until after the Civil Service collective agreement is
CIVIL SERVICE NEGOTIATIONS: TIMELINE AND 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 included 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.
On 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.
On August 17, 2020, the Pallister government announced it would be appealing the judge's ruling.
government had until January 2021 to submit supporting documentation
for its appeal by the end of January 2021 and the Partnership to Defend
Pubic Services (PDPS)
(which includes the MGEU and other public-sector unions) then had
30 days to file material in response.
On June 2, 2021, the Court heard from both
sides in the Appeal hearing. The PDPS legal counsel made the case, once
again, that the Public Services Sustainability Act (Bill 28) is
unconstitutional, as it denies public sector workers of their Charter
rights to sit down and negotiate fair wage increases with their
On October 13, 2021, the Manitoba Court of Appeal announced it was overturning the Court of Queen’s Bench decision in favour of workers.
On November 24, 2021, the government announced it would be repealing the
Services Sustainability Act (PSSA or ‘Bill 28’ wage freeze legislation),
in an effort to create a ‘fresh start’ and take a ‘different
approach’ at the bargaining table, as well as a new no-layoff commitment
However, the PSSA has already done significant damage to collective bargaining in the public sector. Thousands of public workers, including CFS Western - Locals 211 and 450, remain without a contract and at many bargaining tables, employers continue to insist that the wage freezes and caps in the PSSA are non-negotiable.
The repeal of the PSSA also does not deal with the fact that two Manitoba courts have issued drastically different rulings on its constitutionality (see below for more details).
On December 13, 2021, the MGEU, other unions, and the MFL applied
to appeal to the Supreme Court in order to resolve the constitutionality
of the PSSA.
The Government's Refusal to Appoint a Third-Party Arbitration Panel
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 believed that an independent arbitration board
will provide a fair outcome, setting aside the Province’s unproclaimed
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 was refusing to appoint an arbitration panel.
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 April 16, 2020 the Court of Queen’s Bench ruled that the MGEU was entirely justified in seeking arbitration on behalf of Civil Service members. In her ruling, Judge Keyser sided firmly with the union and directed Finance Minister Scott Fielding to appoint an arbitration panel as clearly outlined in the Civil Service Act.
On June 1, the
Minister responsible for the Civil Service wrote the MGEU to say it
would 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.
On April 13, 2021, the Court of Appeal confirmed that the MGEU had a right to have an interest arbitration board appointed to determine the terms and conditions of the next Civil Service collective agreement.
This victory meant that MGEU Civil Service members (as well as members of those Locals, like CFS Western, looking for the Master agreement to set precedent) would finally get a fair hearing before an independent arbitration board.
In the decision, the Minister’s appeal was dismissed, the court
order to appoint an arbitration board was confirmed, and the Minister
ordered to pay court costs to the MGEU.
Lawyers for the union and the government filed
extensive written submissions and on September 21 and 22, 2021, made
their oral arguments in front of the Board.
The Board the considered the submissions of both parties to determine the new terms and conditions of the agreement.
On May 18, 2022, the Interest Arbitration Board awarded the terms of a
new collective agreement for MGEU Civil Service members. The MGEU was successful in being awarded
almost all of its proposals, while the Board rejected each and
every concession proposed by the Province.
With Bill 28 repealed and the Civil Service award settled, the CFS Western/EPR - Locals 211 and 450 Bargaining Committee met with the employer to begin discussions re: monetary items like wages and benefits on June 20, and 28, 2022.