Manitoba’s largest union is calling the provincial budget out of touch on every major issue facing the province.
A budget that many were hoping would finally invest in front-line services instead delivered on tired Conservative ideology of tax cuts.
“We were hoping to see real investments into the services that have been helping Manitobans through this pandemic. Investments into schools, healthcare, social services, and municipalities” says Lee McLeod, CUPE Regional Director. “Instead, we got more tax cuts. This is not the budget that Manitoba families needed.”
On health care, CUPE is calling the budget short-sighted, and unable to deal with keeping seniors in personal care homes (PCHs) safe with proper staffing levels.
“What we see in healthcare is stop-gap measures only,” says McLeod. “This does not address inadequate funding of PCHs.”
On education, CUPE is concerned that the ongoing cuts to education are beginning to impact student experience in schools, and eroding the health and safety of students and staff.
“We see increased costs in schools as we try to keep students safe in their classrooms through this pandemic,” says McLeod. “This budget does not give our workers the resources they need to do their jobs, protect students and support learning.”
Specifically, CUPE is calling out the property tax rebate as taking needed resources out of schools when they are needed most.
On municipalities, CUPE pointed out that the budget has failed to invest in the municipal services that Manitobans count on.
“This level of transfer to municipalities is going to mean that meaningful progress on building active transit, improving water quality and taking significant action on climate change is going to be delayed once again,” says McLeod. “Municipalities need support, not cuts and freezes yet again.”
On childcare, CUPE is crying foul on a budget that does nothing meaningful to increase spaces.
“We hear from our members, we hear from parents, that there are not enough childcare spaces,” says McLeod. “This government simply is not making good quality public childcare a priority.”
On post-secondary education, CUPE is calling out a significant cut to funding to the University of Manitoba.
“This is a government that has never supported students,” says McLeod. “This, on the heels of the legislation allowing post secondary institutions to raise tuition is going to lead to pricing out low-income students and higher overall student debt, and that’s not fair.”
The Canadian Union of Public Employees is Canada’s largest union representing more than 700,000 members. In Manitoba, CUPE represents approximately 37,000 members working in health care facilities, personal care homes, home care, school divisions, municipal services, social services, child care centres, public utilities, libraries and family emergency services.