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WINNIPEG: Contract negotiations between Manitoba health care support workers and the province will resume on Wednesday, June 12.

Many issues have been resolved, but not the key items of wages and benefits. We hope that we can conclude bargaining this week. Our goal is to achieve a fair settlement, like other provincial health care workers who have negotiated new contracts with the province, said Marlene Tartsch, chair of CUPEs Provincial Health Care Council, which represents 10,000 health care support workers in more than 80 facilities across the province.

Our members deserve a fair deal. They have taken lesser settlements in previous contracts and have fallen substantially behind public sector workers in Manitoba. It is time to address the unfairness. We have proposed 8.5%, 8.5% and 8% wage increase in a three-year contract to regain our economic base. But long-standing problems require the government to commit about $10 million to correct glaring wage inequities, she said.

Workers doing the same job, for the same employer, in different facilities throughout the province get paid different amounts. Its simply unfair. Other health care professionals dont get different rates of pay, and neither do MLAs, said Lorraine Sigurdson, CUPEs Health Care Coordinator.

Sigurdson said that the Union is seeking improvements in the premium paid to work weekends and nights. Again, consistency with other employees is the issue. All employees who work inconvenient shifts should be treated equally, no matter where they live or what job they do. It recognizes the important contribution of all workers in the health care system, she said.

The Union also intends to improve and extend the coverage and benefits in the vacation and pension plans.

The contract expired April 30, 2002.

CUPE, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, represents health care support workers in more than 80 facilities across Manitoba, including the Regional Health Authorities covering Central Manitoba, Interlake, Parkland, Southwestman, Marquette and Brandon. In Winnipeg, facilities include the Health Sciences Centre, Grace and Seven Oaks Hospitals, Riverview Health Centre, Community Health Clinics and personal care homes.


For more information, please contact:
Lorraine Sigurdson, Health Care Coordinator:
942-0343 ext. 214 or by cell: 981-6499
Marlene Tartsch, Chair Provincial Health Care Council:
942-0343, ext. 287 or by cell: 794-6817