“It takes hundreds of people doing everything from filling sandbags and thawing frozen culverts to coordinating provincial departments and working with local officials to shore up dikes." — Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU President
Winnipeg (10 March 2017) — It’s springtime in Manitoba — a time that is often synonymous with flooding in this part of the country — and there have already been a number of areas in the province fighting rising waters in what has become an early flood season.
Overland flooding by rivers and smaller tributaries, largely due to ice jams, in a number of Manitoba communities have kept Manitoba Infrastructure crews and Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) workers busy.
MGEU/NUPGE members of Manitoba's public service hard at work protecting communities from flooding
The Red River Floodway and Portage Diversion were opened last week, helping to lower downstream levels on the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, but both remain high. A flood watch remains in effect for the Red Deer River and Plum Creek as well as on the lower Assiniboine River between Portage la Prairie and Headingley, as flows could gradually increase by the weekend.
Amongst all of the flood updates and reports issued daily during a flood, rarely mentioned are the hundreds of provincial employees working hard on the frontlines and behind the scenes to help protect Manitobans.
“I think because flooding is so common in our province at this time of year, we sometimes lose sight of just how many people and how much effort goes into fighting a flood,” says Michelle Gawronsky, President of the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE). “It takes hundreds of people doing everything from filling sandbags and thawing frozen culverts to coordinating provincial departments and working with local officials to shore up dikes. I don’t think you can overstate just how important these provincial workers are to our flood response.”
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