WINNIPEG – The Manitoba Nurses Union wishes to thank all Manitobans who have shown tremendous support for our nurses over the past few weeks; we have received hundreds of messages via social media, email and phone calls to our office.
We’d also thank all MNU members who took part in our Strike Vote, which was conducted virtually in accordance with COVID-19 restrictions. The turnout was higher than any in MNU’s history.
The result of our Strike Vote is an average across the regions of 98% in favour, with 11,954 votes cast.
“We are so proud of our members, they really have sent a strong message with this strike mandate,” said MNU President Darlene Jackson. “We were painted into a corner by this government, and we were left with no choice but to act.”
Despite meeting more than 30 times since October of 2020, the Employers’ side has displayed an unwillingness to provide solutions and accept proposals on what has become the most substantial issue facing nurses today and for the future: the recruitment and retention of nurses. The COVID-19 pandemic has made worse what was already bad.
Nurses have gone more than four years without a contract, and since then, cost of living in Manitoba (CPI) has risen 7.9%. Nurses in the province also receive the lowest evening and weekend premiums from Quebec west.
In the fall sitting of the legislature, the governing Progressive Conservatives plan to pass Bill 16, which would fundamentally change The Labour Relations Act in significant ways, most importantly when it comes to the use of arbitration to settle collective bargaining disputes that have led to work stoppages. Nurses cannot wait any longer.
To be clear, MNU remains committed to continuing with collective bargaining in an effort to reach a revised collective agreement. However, given the approach by the employers to date, MNU believes it is unlikely that an agreement will be reached at the table.
“We will now be discussing next steps with our Provincial Collective Bargaining Committee,” added Jackson. “Our commitment, as always, is to our patients and Manitobans can be assured that we will not be disrupting patient care.”
MNU represents more than 12,000 nurses of all designations from across Manitoba.
Brandi Johnson, Senior Manager of Communications and External Relations