Labour leaders concerned about lack of meaningful dialogue re: legislation
MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky was joined by fellow members to voice the union's opposition to Bill 28 and 29 at public consultations held last night.
May 09, 2017
So much for the Premier’s commitment to “teamwork.”
That’s how dozens of Manitobans felt last night after sharing their concerns and alternatives to a couple of problematic government Bills – which were passed through the committee immediately following the presentations.
“This is not a good day for Manitobans,” said MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky. “The Health Care Bargaining Review Act is a solution in search of a problem. It’s distracting us all from what should be our focus, which is the very best patient care possible. As for Bill 28, taking away your own employees’ rights to bargain collectively is both unconstitutional and unnecessary.”
She told the government committee last night that they should practice what they preach and allow their public employees to negotiate a fair deal.
“The Premier has said his government would protect frontline services and the people who provide them. He likes to talk about the collaborative spirit of Manitobans, or “teamwork.” But the Public Services Sustainability Act is quite the opposite.”
She said when faced with challenges, MGEU members have shown that they are willing to step up on behalf of Manitobans and be part of the solution.
“These workers have already had two years of zeros at the bargaining table. And the reality is, in order to maintain quality public services there must be investment in the people who provide the service. Recruitment and retention has become a major problem in several sectors - like home care or technical professional or child welfare - where people feel undervalued and overworked.”
She asked the committee to reconsider Bill 28 and respect the rights of MGEU members to freely engage in collective bargaining.
“It’s good for services, it’s good for the economy and it’s good for Manitoba.”
She also told them their Health Care Bargaining Review Act is a step backward, that breaks key election promises.
“Our members take great pride in providing quality public services, but resources are stretched thin and people are already being asked to do more with less. This government promised Manitobans that they would protect front-line services, which means investing to alleviate some of this stress. Instead, with Bill 29, they’re focusing on a highly disruptive and unnecessary restructuring of bargaining processes that are already streamlined.”
She said this is the last thing our health care system needs and will not improve patient care .
“BC and Nova Scotia have similar structures to ours and they work well. There’s no reason they can't amend the legislation to reflect these models.”
Despite the lack of meaningful dialogue with government, she added the union and other labour leaders would continue to make their voices heard.
“We will continue pushing hard for alternatives to disruptive health restructuring and any measures which don’t respect the collective bargaining rights of our members.”