Young woman in blue scrubs standing beside bed holding a cup of orange liquid to the mouth of an elderly woman This week, CUPE is celebrating the work of its thousands of members in health care support roles across the Manitoba.

The Manitoba Government officially proclaimed the week of October 21 to 25, 2019 as Health Care Support Workers’ Week. The government failed to proclaim the week in 2018, but because of CUPE’s request it has once again been recognized.

“Health care support workers are the pillars of our health care system,” stated Debbie Boissonneault, President of CUPE 204, representing facility and community support workers in the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) and Shared Health. “We work hard every day to keep our health care system working, but these days we’ve been feeling left behind.”

CUPE has been calling on the government to get to the bargaining table and negotiate a fair contract for health care support workers. But with the government’s unconstitutional wage freeze legislation, the recent forced health care union representation votes, and Pallister’s overhaul of the health care system, support workers are under more pressure than ever before.

“Health care support workers are often unrecognized in their day-to-day work,” said Darrin Cook, President of CUPE 4270, representing facility and community support workers in Southern Health–Santé Sud. “We should all take the time this week to thank the health care support workers in every community who care for our health.”

“From Nunavut to the US border, Manitoba’s health care support workers deserve recognition and respect,” said Christine Lussier, President of CUPE 8600, representing facility and community support workers in the Northern Regional Health Authority (NRHA). “It has been difficult times for staff, but health care support staff in the NRHA have been critical in keeping our community healthy.”

“Despite working short-staffed, health care support workers in Manitoba have been doing everything possible to care for the community,” said Margaret Schroeder, President of CUPE 5362, representing staff at CancerCare Manitoba. “We call on the government to recognize our work by providing enough resources for us to do it effectively.”

CUPE locals across Manitoba are holding or participating in events to express appreciation for health care support workers. CUPE is also calling on the government to immediately meet with representatives of CUPE to discuss the impact of the province’s health care overhaul on front line staff.

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, school divisions, municipal services, social services, childcare centres, public utilities, libraries and family emergency services.

Read the proclamation