CUPE Submits Request to Manitoba Labour Board to Initiate RHA Representation Votes

CUPE ManitobaBargaining Updates

July 19, 2012

This past week, CUPE filed requests to the Manitoba Labour Board to ask that they take the necessary steps to instigate representation votes in the Southern, Western and Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authorities.

Since the RHA amalgamations were announced, CUPE’s position has been that our priority is to remain at the bargaining table. So, on May 23, 2012, the CUPE Bargaining Committee presented the employer with a brief that made the case against a wage freeze for health care support workers.

At this meeting, the employer set up bargaining dates for July and August, however the employer said these dates would be cancelled if one of the unions decided to trigger the votes.

The following week, the MGEU Executive Board voted unanimously to trigger the representation votes.

It was CUPE’s position that our first priority should be bargaining a fair contract for our members, and that representation votes, if at all necessary, should occur after bargaining. However, almost 6 weeks after declaring their intention to trigger the votes, the MGEU had not yet done so, nor had they indicated when they intended to do so, therefore stalling bargaining indefinitely.

CUPE’s position is that this is an unacceptable situation for our members, and that we must take steps to get back to the bargaining table as soon as possible.

Therefore, on July 10th, CUPE listened to the membership by holding a virtual town hall forum where members from across Manitoba could  get the most up-to-date information and ask questions about the current situation. We then asked the membership whether they believed that CUPE should trigger the votes so that we could get back to the bargaining table as soon as possible. With nearly unanimous support from the membership, CUPE immediately responded by submitting applications to the Labour Board to trigger the votes in the Southern (July 11), Western (July 12) and Interlake-Eastern (July 16) RHA’s.

The timing of the forthcoming votes is at the discretion of the Labour Board, however we expect to get a clearer sense of the timing of these votes soon.

In the meantime, CUPE members in these regions have been working diligently to ensure that health care workers in these regions have the information they need to choose CUPE as their union of choice.

Five New Health Authorities Announced

CUPE ManitobaPHCC News


May 30, 2012

Province Continues to DeliverBetter Value for Health-care Funding:  Oswald 

The province is moving forward with its commitment to reduce the number of regional health authorities (RHAs) as the existing 11 regions were today officially merged into five new RHAs, Health Minister Theresa Oswald announced today.

“Today, Manitoba officially has less than half the number of regional health authorities than we did yesterday and we will redirect those administrative savings into supporting the front-line health care families depend upon,” said Oswald.  “Streamlining administration by reducing the number of RHAs is one part of Manitoba’s Plan to Protect Universal Health Care, to ensure we have the health services families need as our population continues to increase and live longer.”

The boards of all 11 RHAs supported the merger plan, which has allowed it to move forward more quickly than originally anticipated, Oswald noted.  A regulation under the Regional Health Authorities Act took effect today formally merging the 11 existing RHAs into five:

* Assiniboine, Brandon and Parkland RHAs have been merged into a new western RHA;

* Burntwood and NOR-MAN RHAs have been merged into a new northern RHA;

* Central and South Eastman RHAs have been merged into a new southern RHA;

* Interlake and North Eastman RHAs have been merged into a new Interlake-eastern RHA; and

* Winnipeg and Churchill RHAs have been merged and Churchill Health created as an operating division of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA), recognizing the unique role Churchill plays in delivering health care to the far north.

Oswald said temporary interim boards comprised of senior Manitoba Health officials have been appointed to oversee the establishment of the new merged RHAs including beginning to merge the corporate structures and appointing the new CEOs.  The existing WRHA board will serve as the interim board for the new combined Winnipeg-Churchill health region.

Permanent RHA boards and CEOs are expected to be in place by the end of June and will continue to focus on reducing the number of senior corporate positions, further streamlining of RHA administrative functions and finalizing names for the new RHAs.

The minister added that other steps that would improve the functioning of RHAs are proposed in legislation currently being considered by the legislature including improved fiscal responsibility, tighter controls on executive compensation and strengthening RHAs’ responsiveness to local communities and patients.  If the legislation is passed this spring, public consultations are expected this fall on new RHA requirements to give local communities and families a stronger voice and partnership in local health issues, Oswald said.