PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE – CUPE National President, Paul Moist, will walk the picket line with the professional and support staff of the Child and Family Services (Central Manitoba) today.
Bargaining between the members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 2483, and the Employer broke down last week after a year of negotiations. The 24 members of the union went on strike last Friday.
Moist is the former President of CUPE Local 500 in Winnipeg and CUPE Manitoba. He also has a personal connection with the CFS workers – he was their National Representative in the 1980’s.
He will arrive in Portage around 1:30 pm and will walk on the picket line until 4 pm. He will be available for interviews at that time.
According to Lee McLeod, President of Local 2483, “The Board is not being responsible. They could have avoided the strike and they could end it – we want to negotiate.”
“The Chair of the Board is now saying things publicly that are misleading and don’t indicate a genuine desire to find a solution,” he added. McLeod was referring to statements made in the Winkler Times about bargaining and the possibility of getting an arbitrated settlement that he indicated were only “half truths.”
“We made reasonable offers that the Board would not accept. Then they made an offer that left huge gaps – it was like being asked to go on a blind date.”
The workers provide front line child protection and support, and emergency services to roughly 10 percent of the population of Manitoba. While on strike, the workers have made arrangements to provide emergency services. They are concerned about increased risks for children and families in Central Manitoba if the work stoppage is allowed to continue.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees is Canada’s largest union representing more than a half-million women and men. In Manitoba, CUPE represents 24,000 members working in health care facilities, school divisions, municipal services, social services, child care centres, public utilities, libraries and family emergency services. CUPE represents frontline workers in a number of social service agencies that deal with family crises.
For information, contact: Lee McLeod, President of the Local 2483 at (204) 823-0302; Dennis Lewycky, Communications Representative at (204) 333-5065