Pallister government proclaims Bill 29, causing uncertainty for frontline workers

Last night, the Pallister Government proclaimed Bill 29, The Health Sector Bargaining Unit Review Act. Another step by the current government that will cause uncertainty for the frontline.

“The unions in health care already bargain at a central table that allows us to keep wages and other expenses similar and inline while addressing the individual needs of each hospital,” said Jeff Traeger, President of UFCW Local 832. “This is a reckless action right now that will only bring more havoc into health care while the frontline is still recovering from the last wave of changes.”

The frontline of health care is still recovering from staffing changes that took place in December which caused a massive upset of the daily lives of many of the frontline workers at St. Boniface hospital. Many of the frontline positions were cut from full-time down to part-time, and the frontline is still understaffed due to many health care aides with high seniority moving to other departments so they could retain day shifts, and not upset their lives any further.

These changes were meant to cut down on overtime, and our heavy workload forms show that they have done the opposite. The Pallister government has created massive gaps in service, while actually increasing overtime.

There are many questions still, and we will keep our members informed as we get more information.

Bill 29 is The Health Sector Bargaining Unit Review Act.

The basic purpose of the Bill is to reduce the number of bargaining units in each Regional Health Authority to seven and to have a single contract and a single union for each of the seven bargaining units.  The Bill will also require province-wide organizations like Diagnostic Services Manitoba and CancerCare Manitoba to also have a single contract and a single union.

The seven agreements would be for:

  • nurses
  • physicians,
  • medical residents
  • physician’s assistants
  • professional/technical/paramedic
  • facility support
  • community support

When this Bill is passed, a commissioner would be appointed to determine the composition of the bargaining units, and give written notice to employers and unions.  UFCW Local 832 along with the other unions will get to make a presentation to the commissioner about the bargaining unit make-up.

Then all members will vote to determine which one union will represent each bargaining unit.
The successful union’s largest collective agreement would be the contract for all workers in the bargaining unit.