WINNIPEG – On Friday, the Manitoba government announced the rollout of a wage enhancement fund that will increase the base salary of Manitoba’s Community Living residential program direct service workers. This announcement aims to fulfill the government’s commitment earlier this year to ensure that workers who care for Manitobans with intellectual disabilities aren’t living below the poverty line.
“We are pleased that the province has recognized that workers who care for Manitobans with intellectual disabilities are crucial to the success of so many people” said Kelly Moist, President of CUPE Manitoba, “ensuring fair wages for these workers is essential to both the lives of the workers, as well as the Manitobans in their care.”
In July of this year, employees at Community Living Selkirk represented by CUPE Local 3085 held numerous information pickets in Selkirk and Winnipeg to draw attention to the low wages within the sector. A strike that was set to commence on August 8th was postponed when the Manitoba government announced $6 million in funding to increase the base wages of the lowest-paid Community Living workers province-wide.
Today Family Services Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross announced that base wages will be $12.50 beginning January 1st and $13.00 on July 1st to help lift workers from just above minimum wage to a more reasonable starting wage, in recognition that these employees should be receiving fair compensation for their type of work.
This funding, by virtue of more reasonable wages, will also help to recruit and retain dedicated staff who are able to provide the consistency in care that Manitobans with intellectual disabilities need on a day-to-day basis. “The fact that so many workers in Manitoba are living below the poverty line on minimum to near-minimum wage is an issue that we are trying to address” said Moist, “any steps that help bring people closer to a living wage should be encouraged and applauded.”
CUPE Local 3085 represents approximately 100 employees at Community Living Selkirk, providing residential support services to Manitobans living with intellectual disabilities. CUPE represents over 600 community living workers province-wide.
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