Committee Requests Arbitration to Reach New MPI Contract
Nov 05, 2012
On October 25, MGEU members decisively rejected Manitoba Public Insurance’s final contract offer. On October 30, the elected bargaining committee representing members at MPI went back to the bargaining table to ask the Corporation to reconsider its freeze on wages, benefits and other monetary demands.
The proposal put forward by the committee was based on feedback from many members who said their primary concern with the offer was the wage and benefits freeze during the first two years. The Corporation brought the MGEU’s proposal to government officials to discuss if they were prepared to change their offer.
After these consultations, MPI informed the bargaining committee that they were prepared to make minor changes and they attached a condition that the offer was only valid if the bargaining committee highly-recommended the offer to members in another vote.
Given the fact that the offer differs very little from the one voted down by members on October 25th -- and as it does not adequately address the concerns that the vast majority of members have expressed to the committee over the past week and a half -- the committee cannot endorse this new offer.
Having reached this impasse, the committee met this morning to examine every possible avenue to reach a fair deal for MPI members. This afternoon, the committee submitted a written request to MPI to resolve the issue through interest arbitration. This is a less confrontational option to strike action and, as the committee has communicated to the membership before, the committee considers taking a strike vote as a last resort.
What is Interest Arbitration?
Arbitration is a quasi-judicial process to renew or establish a new collective agreement. It involves a third-party (an arbitrator) which hears evidence presented by both the union and the employer on issues in dispute, and hands down a binding decision. Arbitration must be agreed upon by both sides before it can begin.
Once the employer responds to the request, the committee will send an update to members.
In the meantime, MPI members can update their contact information to ensure they receive up-to-date bargaining information.