Local 351 members to send message: Westman diagnostic services at risk
MGEU members Jodi Terrick (left) and Lori Noordenbos will join their Westman Lab - Local 351 colleagues and other supporters outside the Brandon Regional Health Centre on Tuesday, April 18.
Apr 11, 2017
After more than three years without a collective
agreement, members of Westman Lab – Local 351 plan to send a message to the
Pallister government: enough is enough ― Westman residents deserve the same
quality of diagnostic care as those in Winnipeg and other areas.
“Our Local 351 members currently earn at least seven percent less than lab technologists in other areas of the province, as well as within Prairie Mountain Health itself,” said MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky. “Not surprisingly, Westman Lab is losing unprecedented numbers of experienced lab technologists who can earn significantly more elsewhere. Last year alone, we’re looking at more than a 20% turn-over rate. It’s a situation that’s unfair to those doing the exact same job for less, and to those in the area whose diagnostic services end up taking the hit.”
Other lab technologists in the province who are also MGEU members and negotiate as part of the “Technical Professional Central Table,” concluded and ratified a collective agreement almost a year ago. All were offered retroactive pay back to the expiry of the previous contract, but the RHA has not made that same offer for Westman Lab, leaving them even further behind.
“This inequity is unfair and unproductive,” Gawronsky said. “With the election and all the changes, our members have been patient, but they’ve had enough. The employer cancelled our last bargaining date. With staff shortages, people are burning out from unmanageable workloads and worried about service implications for their community.”
To draw attention to the issue, members will be holding an information picket outside the Brandon Regional Health Centre on Tuesday, April 18th from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm. All are welcome to attend and show their support. All concerned Manitobans are also urged to contact the Minister of Health and make their voices heard.
“Our members at Westman Lab have a strong tradition of standing up to the employer on issues of fairness,” Gawronsky said. “The time has come again to do just that. We must stand together for health care fairness on behalf of all Western Manitoba residents.”