Earlier today, elected delegates from MGEU Locals attended a Virtual Convention to lay the groundwork for mobilizing thousands of members in their fight for fair wage increases.
Several of MGEU’s largest bargaining units – Post-Secondary Education, Government Liquor Workers, MPI, and the Civil Service – are either at the bargaining table, or heading there in March.
“It’s time for Bargaining Committees to strategize around common goals and for members to take a stand,” said MGEU President Kyle Ross. “For years now, through austerity measures like wage and hiring freezes as well as global forces like the pandemic, those who provide our public services have continued to support and care for their fellow Manitobans with determination and dedication. We have now reached a point where enough is enough. With the return to high inflation, most Manitobans are barely holding their own when it comes to wages – and this problem is especially acute in the public sector. It’s time to catch up and keep up with the cost of living.”
Convention delegates passed three resolutions (all accepted by a margin of 95% or higher) that will make it easier for members to take job action by significantly increasing strike pay (from $300 to as much as $500 per week for most workers and in most situations) and allow members to earn strike pay while on rotating or targeted job actions.
“I was recently meeting with members up in Swan River and they told me our provincial parks are struggling to find campground staff because the local McDonalds pays three dollars more per hour,” Ross said. “Our members at Red River and Assiniboine Colleges have already turned down an offer from their employer. Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries won’t give us a funding mandate, so monetary talks are on hold. We’ve also got at least 40 other Locals at the table right now. It’s time to harness our strength as union members.”
Ross encouraged all members to ensure the MGEU has their current contact information – since ongoing communication will be key in the weeks and months ahead. He also asked members to talk with their co-workers about this bargaining strategy and why it's so important to support their Bargaining Committees if and when the time comes to take action.
“In 2023, we have a unique opportunity to pull together and demand the kinds of gains that will move us forward rather than back.”