On Monday, I spoke at the Labour Day event held in Winnipeg that began at Memorial Park and included a march to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

In that speech, I stated this: We hire our elected officials – and we have every right to hold them accountable.

Over the summer, our staff, members and supporters have delivered lawn signs with the message The State of Healthcare is OutRAGEous: Vote like your life depends on it to communities across the province.

And in the weeks leading up to the election, our social media channels will share facts and anecdotes related to the state of our health care system.

Many of you may wonder why we are so passionately encouraging our members to vote in the upcoming provincial election. Here is what I have to say:

As a non-partisan union, we won’t be telling you who to vote for.

However, I feel it is my duty as President to let you know that the October 3 provincial election will dictate the mandates of those people who we will be sitting across from us at the negotiating table for next year and beyond.

This upcoming election is of huge importance, that’s why we urge you to vote and we also urge you to encourage your family, friends and colleagues to vote, too.

Regarding the next round of bargaining, last week MNU members in Central Table received an email informing them about a survey we are conducting to help the Provincial Collective Bargaining Committee (PCBC) establish priorities and formulate proposals for the upcoming contract negotiations.

To those who receive the survey email today, please be sure to participate, as this is your chance to have a say! The deadline to respond is Thursday, September 14, 2023.

As a quick reminder, Central Table is defined as the group of Employers represented by the Provincial Health Labour Relations Services (also known as PHLRS) during bargaining with our union. This group of Employers includes the following regions: Interlake-Eastern Health Region, Southern Health Region, Winnipeg-Churchill Health Region, Shared Health Region, Prairie Mountain Health Region and Northern Health Region. MNU members who work at Hospitals, Personal Care Homes, and other health facilities/programs under these Employers are included in Central Table bargaining.

MNU members who are not part of Central Table have separate collective agreements, and your Labour Relations Officer will be in contact when these sites head to the bargaining table. For a full list of the sites/programs who are and are not represented at the Central Table, please see this list

If you have any questions about this survey, please send them to comms@manitobanurses.ca

To end this message on a high note, I’d like to make a pair of announcements when it comes to staffing at MNU. In August, Christine St. George joined us for a six-month term Labour Relations Officer position. Christine’s experience as a home care nurse and as the President of Worksite 97 will be a great asset as she assumes a new role as an LRO. She also has extensive knowledge of the return-to-work process.

And this month, Christopher Sanderson will be joining MNU as our new Researcher. Chris, who holds a Masters in Political Science, comes from a strong research background having worked previously as the Economic Research Analyst with the Official Opposition, and currently for the Province of Manitoba as a Senior Policy and Program Analyst. His research frequently focused on many issues of relevance to nurses and health care in general. He has vast experience with FIPPA, and other research avenues, to obtain information in the public interest.