Joined by dozens of members of Manitoba’s labour movement at the Legislature on March 18, Premier Wab Kinew and Minister of Labour and Immigration, Malaya Marcelino, announced a plan to introduce two pieces of historic labour legislation:

1. A ban on replacement workers during a work stoppage, and

2. Single-step union certification (set at 50 per cent +1).

The announced ban on replacement workers is intended to shorten the length of strikes / lockouts, while ensuring workers cannot be replaced simply by exercising their legal right to strike. 

2024-03-MIR-graphics12.jpg (925 KB)Meanwhile, the forthcoming changes to union certification will help protect workers from being threatened or intimidated by their employer when trying to unionize a workplace. Single-step certification was in place in Manitoba before the Pallister government introduced changes to make it more difficult to join a union.

Unfortunately, opposition PCs, intent on slowing down both bills, have been doing everything within their means to delay this legislation from being introduced in time for guaranteed passage by the summer break on June 3. It’s still possible for the bills to be introduced this session, or they could both be held over to the fall.

Despite these stall tactics, the Premier and the Labour Minister committed to workers at the legislature earlier this week that this legislation to re-balance the province’s labour laws will pass, even if it takes little longer than planned.

MGEU President, Kyle Ross, said he’s encouraged to see a government righting this historic wrong and taking action, particularly when it comes to the ban on replacement workers.

“It’s been a long time coming. Manitoba's unions have been fighting for legislation to ban replacement workers for fifty years,” said Ross. “Our public liquor workers experienced first-hand this past summer how it can set back negotiations and prolong a strike or a lockout. It’s not productive and employers are turning to replacement workers more and more, instead of focusing on negotiating a fair settlement with their own employees. So, this is an important victory.”