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SELKIRK – Employees of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) – Interlake Region, represented by CUPE Local 2348 are preparing to strike as early as Thursday, May 8th at 8:30 am.

CMHA – Interlake Region staff assist in locating safe and affordable housing for community members who live with mental illness and help them with rehabilitation, training, and life skills.

Currently, CMHA – Interlake staff make between 15% and 36% lower wages than similar work being done by CMHA – Winnipeg Region employees. “What we are asking for is fairness” said Local 2348 strike committee member Tristan Dreilich, “it doesn’t make sense to us that we are not offered similar compensation to our counterparts in Winnipeg, who do similar work”.

In addition to asking for wage parity with CMHA – Winnipeg Region staff, employees of CMHA – Interlake Region are asking for the same or similar employer-paid benefits. “It is not that difficult to understand that similar work deserves similar benefits” said Sheree Capar, CUPE National Representative, “living and working in the Interlake shouldn’t mean that you are offered less than you would in Winnipeg”.

CUPE 2348 members at CMHA – Interlake Region held a strike vote on April 7th, with 100% in favour of striking. Meetings with a Conciliation Officer were held on April 28th, and May 6th where the employer and bargaining committee reached an impasse. “Our team has worked very hard to reach a fair deal” said Dreilich, “we are disappointed that the Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority (IERHA) won’t help us reach parity with our Winnipeg colleagues”.

The CMHA – Interlake Region service area includes as far south as Lockport and Stony Mountain and extends north of Ashern as well as in Beauséjour, Pinawa, and Lac du Bonnet. The CMHA – Interlake Region is funded primarily through the Interlake-Eastern RHA.

CUPE Local 2348 represents health and social service workers across Manitoba.