Last night at the Garden City Community Centre in Winnipeg, MGEU President, Michelle Gawronsky, put forward the union's submission for the 2020 provincial budget and asked the government to stand by their word to give Manitobans a budget that strengthens public services, health care, and education.
“Our public services are under attack, and we are asking the provincial government to stop with the cuts and threats of privatization and just invest in the services Manitobans rely on,” Gawronsky said. “Manitoba is a bustling province. We continue to grow. In Winnipeg alone we’re nearing a million people. So with a growing population comes a greater need for public services.”
Since the government change in 2016, there are 2,000 less government workers. Workers such as highway crews, correctional officers, probation officers, social workers, medical examiners, health inspectors, vehicle inspectors, conservation officers are just a small sampling of the jobs affected by these cuts. These Manitobans provide valuable services each and every day, but are continually forced to do more with less.
“Who is that helping? Gawronsky questioned members of the government. “Is it helping our children in care? Is it helping to make sure the pools we use and restaurants we take our families to are inspected and clean? Good questions you all should be asking yourselves,” she said.
Gawronsky cited how vacancies in the highways department impact how our members are able to clear and maintain our roads. With nearly 70 vacancies in one single job classification in the department alone (the Operator Series, which includes truck plow operators, grader operators and loader operators), the department continues to contract out snow clearing.
As well, a recent Auditor General’s report on commercial vehicle inspections found that almost half of the heavy truck traffic was missed at three weigh scales in the Province. The scale on the Trans-Canada Highway at the Manitoba-Ontario border used to be staffed 24/7, but is now only open eight hours a day and MGEU members report that there used to be twice as many inspectors keeping our roads safe.
“We’re asking you to take a
very close look at the public services government workers provide and talk to
those on the front line. Ask them how
things are. Ask them where things could
be improved. This is where you’ll get a
clear picture of the mountain these workers are climbing every day. Only until
you understand the problems facing these workers, will you be able to address
and restore our public services,” Gawronsky concluded.
View the MGEU Pre-Budget 2020 Submission