MGEU members who support youth in care as they age out of the child welfare system have served strike notice to their employer, Knowles Centre. These members working in the Supported Advancement to Independent Living (SAIL) program would be in a strike position by January 8, 2024.

“Anyone who meets these workers can see how dedicated and compassionate they are in their work,” said President Kyle Ross. “They help youth in care develop the life skills they need to become independent and healthy adults. They make a real difference in the lives of these kids who have faced so many challenges at such a young age.”

Last month, Knowles Centre presented what it described as its “best” offer at the bargaining table. After having frozen these workers’ wages for more than a decade, the offer proposed wage increases of just 6% over a five year contract:

2021: 0%
2022: 0%
2023: 2%
2024: 2%
2025: 2%

“Most of them already have two jobs, in many cases two full-time jobs, just to make ends meet,” added Ross.

MGEU represents 35 workers at the Knowles Centre SAIL program, a 24/7 operation with four buildings in Winnipeg where participating youth live in supervised apartments while they learn key life skills, such as money management, self-care, housekeeping, and cooking.

“No one wants a strike for this important service, but the dedicated Manitobans who support these vulnerable youth should be valued and treated with respect for the work they do,” said Ross. “It is time for Knowles Centre to come back to the bargaining table with a fair and reasonable offer that helps these workers catch up and keep up.”

Any Local 432 members who have not provided the MGEU with a personal email address are encouraged to update their contact information with the union and read the latest bargaining brief.