Civil Service - Components 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 - Bargaining Brief
Updated: Jan 21, 2020
Approx. Number of Members: 14,000
Current Contract Expires: March 29, 2019
MGEU Staff Negotiator: Sheila Gordon
Elected Bargaining Committee Members: Administration: Michelle Scebenski Clerical: Gayle Mager Corrections: Dylan Almdal Health: David Giroux Legal: Deb Jamerson Physical Sciences: Brian Wilson Social Sciences: Cristina Quon Trades: Joe Dooley 1st Vice-President: Charlotte McWilliams
LATEST BARGAINING NEWS:
The trial for the the Partnership to Defend
Public Services (PDPS) constitutional challenge of the
Public Services Sustainability Act (also known as Bill 28), the
Pallister government's wage freeze law, began on Monday, November 18, 2019.
Kevin Rebeck (MFL President), Mark Hudson (University of Manitoba Faculty Association), and Tom Paci (Manitoba Teachers’ Society) were the first witnesses called by the PDPS. MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky took the stand as the 4th PDPS witness. Economists, 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.
The PDPS and the Government will now file written arguments with the court in January.
Then from February 18-20, the court will reconvene to hear closing arguments.
After that, we will await a ruling from the trial judge.
Overview of Bargaining So Far
Throughout November, the Civil Service Bargaining Committee toured the province to attend over 50 bargaining proposal meetings.
The Committee then worked with staff negotiators to clarify key issues, identify priorities common to all Civil Service members, and develop a comprehensive package to present to the employer.
The Civil Service Bargaining Committee exchanged proposal packages with the employer on Monday, March 4, 2019 and negotiations began in mid-April.
NOTE: 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 has formed the Partnership to Defend Public Services. In the fall of 2019, this Partnership will
be challenging the government in court because what they’re doing goes
against Canadian laws – all workers have the right to negotiate a fair
contract, including their wages.
In April, the Civil Service Bargaining Committee began bargaining meetings with the Province in good faith. 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, the Public Service Sustainability Act. This Act, passed in 2017 but not yet proclaimed into force by the Province, would mandate two years of wage freezes and strict caps on wage increases in the following two years.
The Civil Service Bargaining Committee understood that for fair and meaningful negotiations to continue, the Province needed to be up front about whether or not its own Bill 28 mandate would be imposed in negotiations. The answer to this critical question influences all other issues at the bargaining table. By failing to be up front about their intentions, the Province made meaningful discussions impossible.
For these reasons, the 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 panel 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 our presentation on behalf of all MGEU Civil Service members.
However, in September, the MGEU learned that Minister Scott Fielding, who is responsible for the Civil Service, is refusing to appoint an arbitration panel, as the Civil Service Act requires him to do upon the request of either the union or the employer. In doing so, he requested that MGEU return to the bargaining table rather than fulfill his legal obligation to appoint an arbitration panel. In effect, the Minister is denying Civil Service members their legal right to arbitration, which is why the Committee is left with no choice but to go to court to seek an order for Minister Fielding and his government to follow the law.
While the Bargaining Committee pursues arbitration, the MGEU continues to work with the Partnership to Defend Public Services to challenge the constitutionality of Bill 28 and its heavy-handed wage freezes.