This update was posted on April 24, 2020. Because this situation is evolving rapidly, we encourage you to visit the MGEU's COVID-19 Information page for more information about this issue.

The MGEU is committed to serving members through the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, while following the guidance of public health officials. That is why the MGEU is taking precautionary steps and making some adjustments to how we serve members until the COVID-19 threat recedes.

In March, we announced which MGEU meetings and events would be delayed or cancelled, and how meetings that do proceed may take place to comply with public health orders and guidance.

Today, we are updating our plan for upcoming meetings and events in accordance with the latest information from public health officials. Adjustments to regular meeting practices are being made to protect members and staff, and to fulfill our responsibility to limit and slow the spread of the virus in our communities.

We have used a federal government public health risk assessment tool and Manitoba public health orders and guidance to determine what MGEU meetings/events should be cancelled or postponed, and what risk mitigation measures should be implemented for those meetings that proceed.

MGEU Convention, Meetings and Events:

The 2020 MGEU Convention, previously scheduled for October 2020, will be rescheduled at the earliest opportunity allowable within public health restrictions. Although this event is still months away, public health orders continue to prevent the scheduling of local meetings to eIect convention delegates and submit resolutions, and it is uncertain how long these orders will remain in place. In making this difficult decision, the MGEU Board of Directors considered a number of factors:

· the feasibility of electing delegates and voting on resolutions using remote meeting technologies or mail;

· the planning and processing time required between convention and meetings to elect delegates and vote on resolutions;

· venue cancellation policies;

· the availability of essential workers to participate in required meetings;

· legal advice; and

· current challenges to the organization arising from the pandemic. 

The Board of Directors recognizes the central importance of our biennial convention in the democratic operation of our union, and is formally committed to rescheduling convention and related meetings as soon as is practically feasible and permissible within public health restrictions.

The 2020 MGEU Women’s Conference has tentatively been rescheduled for November 29 – December 1, 2020. Unlike the biennial convention, attendees for this event have already been selected, and the planning time required to stage this event is much shorter. Given the ongoing uncertainty, it remains possible that this conference may need to be rescheduled again.

The following MGEU meetings and events are postponed until further notice:

· Member education courses and sessions;

· Local meetings; and

· Area Council meetings.

The following MGEU meetings may only be held if absolutely necessary. Chairs may seek approval to hold such necessary meetings by submitting a request and rationale to the Director, Member Services. If approved, these meetings may only be held with strict risk mitigation measures in place (see below):

· Standing Committees; and

· Component Executive meetings

Risk mitigation measures will be worked out with employers for any necessary bargaining meetings. Our preferred approach will be to conduct bargaining meetings by teleconference or videoconferencing. If a bargaining meeting must proceed in person MGEU will insist on strict risk mitigation measures (see below). 

Risk mitigation measures for any meetings that proceed will include:

· Assessing if the meeting can be delayed before it is scheduled;

· Assessing if the meeting can be conducted by phone or video conferencing;

· Notifying all participants that they should not attend if they have any symptoms (coughing, sneezing, fever, runny nose, shortness of breath) or meet the other public health criteria for self-isolation;

· Reminding all participants to practice proper cough etiquette and hand hygiene , and having alcohol-based hand sanitizer available;

· Booking larger meeting rooms set up to allow for social distancing techniques.

If you have any questions about how these changes to MGEU meetings and events may affect you, please contact the MGEU Resource Centre.

MGEU Staff Representative Meetings with Members in their Workplaces:

MGEU staff representatives regularly hold meetings with members in workplaces across the province. Travelling to so many workplaces increases the risk of transmission to members in those workplaces, to staff, and to our communities. For this reason, staff representatives have been directed to conduct such meetings with members by phone, where possible, until further notice.

MGEU Offices

To comply with public health orders, MGEU offices are not currently welcoming visitors.

If you need assistance, please contact us through the MGEU Resource Centre so that we can help you.

Please do not send any deliveries to our offices at this time. If it is essential that you must send something to one of our representatives, please contact the MGEU Resource Centre first to find out how your delivery should be sent.

COVID-19 issues in Member Workplaces:

MGEU members with concerns and questions about COVID-19 in their own workplaces should first speak with a supervisor/manager or consult their workplace health and safety committee/representative. If members have further questions for MGEU, please contact the MGEU Resource Centre.

The MGEU will continue to keep members updated as the situation evolves.