David Jacks | CUPE Communications

The Progressive Conservative government under Premier Brian Pallister has spent their first year in power using every tool in their right-wing toolbox to dismantle Manitoba’s public services.

The government passed Bill 28, which unilaterally freezes public sector wages, and Bill 19 which carves out important pieces of Manitoba’s public hydro. The government has cut 900 hydro jobs, 200 health care managers, and has recently announced four new P3 schools along with the introduction of Social Impact Bonds.

The government is completely restructuring health care. They have already closed emergency rooms and cut funding which has resulted in serious staff shortages.

But CUPE members have been fighting back. CUPE and other unions, through the Manitoba Federation of Labour, have filed a court injunction against Bill 28 because the government has refused to negotiate. In Brandon, CUPE 737 held a public town hall against P3 schools, and CUPE health care members across the province have been fighting back, holding rallies and info-pickets from Flin Flon to Winnipeg. CUPE 998 has been pushing back against cuts to hydro, and CUPE members province-wide have been speaking out against privatization.

The battle against Pallister’s austerity is just getting started in Manitoba, but partnerships with community organizations are already taking form. Coalition work with Indigenous groups, anti-poverty advocates, and environmental groups is critical to the success of our efforts to protect public services. The Communities Not Cuts coalition has been on the front line in fighting Pallister’s austerity agenda, and CUPE is proud to be an active member of this growing movement.