"Manitoba's public sector unions came to the table with practical ideas to help reduce the deficit, but it's clear that the Pallister government was never serious about consulting with anyone." — Kevin Rebeck, MFL President
Winnipeg (10 July 2017) — On June 4, the Partnership to Defend Public Services representing more than 110,000 Manitoba workers, filed for an injunction against the so-called Public Services Sustainability Act, recently passed by the Pallister government. The Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE) is a participant in this coalition.
Constutional challenge to bill that undermines free collective bargaining
The Partnership filed a statement of claim in the Court of Queen's Bench challenging the constitutionality of the Public Services Sustainability Act. The action includes a request for an injunction that would prevent the government from proclaiming the Act.
"The Pallister government has passed a new law that fundamentally undermines collective bargaining rights. It's unfair and it's unconstitutional," said Kevin Rebeck, President of the Manitoba Federation of Labour (MFL), on behalf of the Partnership. "We are launching a full constitutional challenge and we are seeking an injunction, to prevent this new law from being proclaimed until after a court ruling."
Manitoba government ignored feedback from unions; held no consultations
Rebeck said that for months public sector unions made every effort to engage in a constructive way with the government but the process was unproductive.
He also noted that the government
- refused to answer any questions, including those about their basic objectives or financial assumptions
- provided no feedback on proposals from public sector unions
- made no amendments to Bill 28, despite concerns raised by labour at committee hearings.
"Manitoba's public-sector unions came to the table with practical ideas to help reduce the deficit, but it's clear that the Pallister government was never serious about consulting with anyone," said Rebeck. "This comes right on the heels of major layoffs and cuts to health care and other services people count on. Brian Pallister can use his majority in the legislature to get his way, but we'll be there to pushback every step of the way in court."
The Partnership to Defend Public Services represents more than 110,000 workers who are members of: AESES, CUPE, General Teamsters Local 979, IBEW 2034, IBEW 2085, IBEW 435, Operating Engineers of Manitoba Local 987, LALA, MAHCP, MGEU, MNU, MTS, PIPSC, UA Local 254, PSAC, UFCW 832, UMFA, UNIFOR, USW 7106, USW 7975, USW 8223, USW 9074, UWFA, WAPSO IFPTE Local 162, and the MFL.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 370,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. ~ NUPGE