Put the brakes on Pallister plan for health care changes: CUPE

CUPE ManitobaPHCC Main, PHCC News

The Provincial Government has finally released the Wait Times Reduction Task Force final report dated November 2017, eight months after the government announced the closure of Emergency Departments and Urgent Care centres in hospitals across Winnipeg.

“The Report suggests that the government’s decision in April 2016 to shut ERs was rushed,” says Debbie Boissonneault, President of CUPE 204 representing health care workers across Winnipeg, including at Concordia Hospital, Grace Hospital, Seven Oaks General Hospital, and Health Sciences Centre.

CUPE members at Seven Oaks Hospital protest government’s plans to close the ER & ICU, April 20, 2017

“As front-line workers, we believe that any changes to the health care system must be done carefully, putting patient care first.”

The report notes that closing the Concordia and Seven Oaks Emergency Departments (EDs) should be delayed, in particular “if the ED at Seven Oaks General Hospital were to close at the same time as the full closure of Concordia Hospital ED, it would put a monumental burden on the remainder of Winnipeg’s EDs”.

“Our primary concern as health care workers is how patients are affected by these changes,” said Boissonneault.

“CUPE and the authors of the report share the concern that rushed, ill-conceived changes could result in harm.”

The report also highlights concerns that “rapid implementation of consolidation will place a major stress on current resources”.

The Regional Health Authorities have been mandated to find millions in “savings” while the government is implementing recommendations from the Peachy Report, the KPMG Report, and the Wait Times Reduction Task Force report.

The KPMG consulting report pushes rapid changes to the health care system while the Wait Times Reduction Task Force, with medical doctors at the helm, cautions to “hasten slowly”.

“We are already experiencing the additional stress on health care staff in facilities across the province due to all these changes happening at once and the mixed messages from government,” said Boissonneault.  “There are numerous different reports being implemented in-part or in-full at the same time, and there seems to be no coherent plan on how these changes will impact patient care.”

One positive aspect of the Wait Times Reduction Task Force is an emphasis on social determinants of health, which include poverty, living conditions, and other socio-economic factors that impact the well-being of communities.

“We are pleased to see that the report emphasizes government action on inequity in our society,” says Boissonneault.  “Whether this government is willing to address these deeper issues in health care is still left to be seen.”

Two-tier pension benefits the wrong direction for health care workers: CUPE

CUPE ManitobaBargaining Updates, PHCC Main, PHCC News

WINNIPEG – The Canadian Union of Public Employees is speaking out against changes to the Healthcare Employees’ Pension Plan (HEPP) announced on October 17, 2017.

“The changes to the plan announced today may force some health care workers to delay or change their retirement plans, and creates an unnecessary division between existing plan members and the future generation of health care workers,” says Shannon McAteer CUPE’s Health Care Coordinator.

“Two-tier pension plans are unfair to future members of the plan, and disproportionately affect newcomer or younger members of the workforce who are just starting their careers in health care in Manitoba.”

The Health Care Employee Benefit Plans (HEB Manitoba) which administers HEPP announced their decision to eliminate all supplementary and bridge benefits for new members after January 1, 2018, creating a two-tier plan with reduced benefits for new employees, among other changes to the plan.

“Health care staff work tirelessly every single day to support the health and well-being of the people of Manitoba,” said McAteer. “A strong workplace pension plan like HEPP is critical in recruiting and retaining health care workers in Manitoba, and with so much uncertainty in health care these days its unfortunate that health care workers now have one more thing to worry about”.

CUPE issued a letter to HEB Manitoba in response to these changes and is calling for a meeting with HEB Manitoba to open discussions on the governance structure of the plan and how these decisions are made to ensure better transparency for CUPE members who are members of the plan.

CUPE members are encouraged to contact HEPP for more information on the changes.

We also have an email petition for members to fill out to express their opposition to HEPP’s changes.

CUPE health care members protest cuts in Manitoba

CUPE ManitobaBargaining Updates, PHCC Main, PHCC News

Health care workers lined the streets in front of Health Sciences Centre / CancerCare Manitoba in Winnipeg today to protest government cuts to health care.

“The government’s approach to health care has been confusing, hurtful, and has completely disregarded the needs of both patients and front-line health care workers,” said newly elected CUPE Local 204 President Debbie Boissonneault.

The Pallister government mandated that all Regional Health Authorities in Manitoba find millions in “savings”, which has resulted in the closure of Emergency Rooms, community health programs, policies that lead to staffing shortages, and direct cuts to support staff positions and hours.

The shift rescheduling process at Health Sciences Centre (HSC) has been pointing to significant job cuts and the reduction of full-time health care support staff to part-time work, which will lead to fewer hours of care for Manitoba patients.

CUPE health care members responded by taking their message to the streets with an info picket at HSC/CancerCare Manitoba on September 21.

“Front-line staff at HSC and CancerCare Manitoba are incredibly concerned not just for their jobs, but for the diminished quality of care that will result from cuts to positions and hours”, said Boissonneault.  “We know the public stands with health care workers, we need the government to stand with us too and stop the reckless cuts”.

CUPE Local 204 Election Results

CUPE ManitobaBargaining Updates, PHCC Main, PHCC News

The CUPE Local 204 Election Results are in.

Congratulations to:

President: Debbie Boissonneault

1 Year Trustee: Vivian Silpao

3 Year Trustee: Mylene Homes

We would like to thank to everyone who put their names forward for the CUPE Local 204 elections, and we’re proud to have such strong activists engaged in our union!

The next step will be Unit Elections, see here for more details.

Pallister creating false choice with health care premium proposal

CUPE ManitobaBargaining Updates, PHCC Main, PHCC News

Today the Pallister government suggested that they may introduce a health care premium to Manitoba, imposing a new fee that would be allocated to the health care system.

“Pallister is creating a false choice when it comes to health care,” said Debbie Boissonneault, President of the CUPE Provincial Health Care Council.

“Rather than the false choice between a new fee or cuts, the government needs to do a better job at making sure higher income earners and corporations are paying their fair share into the tax base that supports our health care system.”

The Pallister government has been reeling under growing public criticism of its cuts to health care across the province. Manitobans expect a government to prioritize investments in health care, especially with an aging population.

“Pallister’s health care cuts are reckless, and Manitobans are making it clear that these cuts must stop,” said Boissonneault. “Pallister’s plan for health care premiums is simply an attempt to divert attention away from his cuts, and Manitoban’s won’t fall for that trick.”

The Canadian Union of Public Employees is Canada’s largest union representing more than 643,000 members.  In Manitoba, CUPE represents approximately 26,000 members working in health care facilities, personal care homes, school divisions, municipal services, social services, child care centres, public utilities, libraries and family emergency services.


CUPE ManitobaBargaining Updates, PHCC Main, PHCC News

Dear Brothers & Sisters,

All nominations are in for CUPE Local 204.  We will have elections for the positions listed below.  Please make sure you have booked a time and location for the elections on September 20, 2017.



Debbie Boissonneault (click for poster) – Update – Elected –

John Boyd (click for poster)


1-year Trustee

– Shawn Delaney

– Vivian Silpao – Update – Elected –

3-year Trustee

– Mylene Holmes – Update – Elected –

– Tracey Verbong


HSCLead Steward – Sept 21st at 4:30 pm (Room GH304)

– Liam McCann

– Belinda Raposo

Golden West Centennial LodgeLead Steward – Sept. 25th from  2 pm – 6 pm (on site)

– Danelle Hancher

– Cindy Paul

St. Joseph’s Residence Lead Steward – TBD

– Jacky Lutzer

– Rosie Noble

Seven Oaks General Hosp.Unit VP – TBD

– John Boyd

– Karen Brown

LHC Lions PCHUnit VP – Sept. 25th from 1 pm – 4 pm (Lions on Sherbrook – Multipurpose Room)

– Tricia Merritt

– Phymie Zamora


1st VP – Cynthia Penny

2nd VP – Daniel Richards

Treasurer – Pam Eagle

Recording Secretary – Sherlynn Delaney

2 year Trustee – Ken Reimer

Diversity Seat – Kristi Beaune

Diversity Seat – Indigenous – Tricia Merritt


     1550 (HSC) Mike Pajemolin ELECTION
     1599 (Grace Hospital) Lisa Chetwynd Mau Bae
     1629 (Bethania PCH) Sharon Peters Maria Marquez
     1859 (Luther Home) Roan Lampa Kim Alcantara
     1973 (Concordia Hospital) Ken Holmstrom Bonnie Rolla
     2343 (Mount Carmel Clinic) Karen Roth Kristi Beaune
     2348 (Klinic) Wendy Neplyk Melanie Saindon
     2348 (Nine Circles CHC) VACANT VACANT
     2348 (NorWest Co-op CHC) Mike Sadlowski Sukhjit Gill
     2348 (SERC) Ian Neufeld La Rue Melanie Saindon
     2348 (Women’s Health Clinic) VACANT VACANT
     2348 (WRHA – Midwives) VACANT VACANT
     2509 (Seven Oaks Gen. Hosp) ELECTION Andrew Martin
     2836 (RCC – PT & OT staff) Sara Kunkel Viola KIassen
     2836-01 (RCC – staff not PT/OT) Marjorie Guertin Nancy Fraser
     2874 (Pembina Place Men. PCH) Ana Mena Marnie Singer
     3242 (Golden West Cent. Lodge) Shirley-Ann Feculak ELECTION
     3644 (Middlechurch Home of Wpg.) Heather Dolenuck Roseanna Podworniak
     3729-01 (Lions PCH) ELECTION VACANT
     4572 (St. Joseph’s Residence) Sandra Makwich ELECTION
     4641 (WRHA – N&FS – RDF) Ana Batista Elvie Reyes


WRHA Restructuring Will Result in Significant Cuts to Front-Line Care, CUPE

CUPE ManitobaBargaining Updates, PHCC Main, PHCC News

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) received details on the extent of the government’s plans to restructure and reorganise front-line care at Health Sciences Centre (HSC) and Grace Hospital.

“The changes proposed today will negatively impact patient care, there is no doubt about that,” said Shannon McAteer, CUPE Health Care Coordinator. “The government’s overhaul of health care in Manitoba is nothing short of reckless and it must stop.”

The changes at HSC includes the reduction of many health care aide positions from full-time to part-time, resulting in the loss of over 100 full-time jobs. At least 111 positions will be cut altogether at HSC alone, leaving entire hospital wards with major reductions in staff.

These numbers are still only preliminary as CUPE continues to comb through the stacks of rotation changes provided by the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA).

“Reducing full-time health care aides to part-time is completely incomprehensible to us,” said McAteer. “Health care aide positions must be full-time so care to patients is consistent, any health care provider can tell you that, not to mention the impact on recruitment and retention of qualified health care aides.”

CUPE received a vague “Employment Security” notice in August, and met with the employer once to try to discuss the proposed changes. The employer insisted it could not provide any details until the new shift rotations changes were finalized.

“Throughout this entire process the government and the WRHA have been incredibly secretive on their health care plans for our province,” said McAteer. “Manitoba’s health care workers and Manitoba’s patients deserve to be part of this process but we are all being left out.”

The WRHA’s release today outlined the process in health care collective agreements that allow for changes to take place, including the ‘bumping’ process. “The issue today is not whether or not the WRHA is following the collective agreement, the issue is whether or not these cuts should even be made in the first place,” said McAteer. “Health care support workers need more support, not less, and these cuts are going to hurt Manitoba’s health care system.”

During the 2016 provincial election Premier Pallister promised that he would protect front line workers. “That election promise has been broken,” said McAteer.

CUPE represents support workers at the majority of acute care facilities in Winnipeg, including HSC, Grace Hospital, Seven Oaks General Hospital, Concordia Hospital as well as long-term care facilities and community clinics.

Health Care Support Workers’ Week Proclaimed for October 9 – 13, 2017

CUPE ManitobaPHCC Main, PHCC News

Each year the Government of Manitoba proclaims Health Care Support Workers’ Week to celebrate the contributions of front-line health care workers to our province.

This year the proclamation comes with a grain of salt: the government’s proclamation occurs at the same time as massive restructuring in health care that will negatively affect front-line health care support staff.

While we ourselves honour this important day to celebrate everything CUPE health care support members contribute to Manitoban families, we hope the Minister of Health understands the true spirit of this proclamation, and stops the cuts immediately.

Letter from the Minister of Health

Read the full proclamation here