Manitoba health care workers vote largely in favour of CUPE

Canada is one step closer to a national pharmacare program that could help lower the cost of prescription drugs. Getty Images

Ballots have been cast and counted in Manitoba’s health care union representation vote, and CUPE has come out on top.

More than 20,000 health care workers voted to consolidate their unions across 18 areas.

All nurses in Manitoba are now represented by the Manitoba Nurses Union.

“With this renewed mandate we can now put our full effort toward bargaining a new agreement for nurses,” MNU president Darlene Jackson said.

The MNU said that by winning the votes, they will add about 500 new members in the coming weeks at a variety of Winnipeg clinics and Deer Lodge Centre.

Story continues below advertisement

CUPE gained almost 9,000 employees, winning the community and facility support votes in the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, Shared Health, and the southern and northern regional health authorities.

CUPE regional director Lee McLeod said the union’s track record spoke for itself.

“We’re working hard to just talk about our record in bargaining and the kinds of collective agreements that people trust us to negotiate and that was a very big part of our campaign,” Lee McLeod said.

The Manitoba Government and General Employees Union lost more than 8,600 members to CUPE and other unions.

MGEU president Michelle Gawronsky said the vote was unnecessary.

“It’s unfortunate that we have a premier and government that decided to pit union against union, rather than get a bargaining table.”

In 2017, the Manitoba PC government forced nurses, paramedics and hospital workers to vote in a bid to reduce the number of provincial bargaining units in the province, citing easier and quicker negotiations with the province in the future as the reason behind the move.

Story continues below advertisement

Overall the MGEU won five races in the vote, and according to Gawronsky, her union still has more than 32,000 health care members.

The province must now begin collective bargaining with the unions in the next six months.

The Manitoba Nurses Union said nurses in the province have been without a contract for more than two years.

Sponsored content