Civil Service - Components 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 - Bargaining Brief
Updated: Apr 01, 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
Two key issues continue to impact the Civil Service Bargaining Committee's efforts to reach a deal on behalf of members.
THE GOVERNMENT'S WAGE FREEZE LEGISLATION, COURT HEARING
The trial for 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.
In January 2020, the PDPS and the Government filed their written arguments with the court. Final arguments were heard over three days in February. We are now awaiting a ruling from the trial judge.
THE GOVERNMENT'S REFUSAL TO APPOINT AN ARBITRATION BOARD
Civil Service collective agreement expired in March, and bargaining
proposals were exchanged with the employer just prior to that. The
Province’s proposals included a long list of concessions that would
erode many rights and benefits in the collective agreement.
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 board, 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.
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.