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WINNIPEG – A majority of Manitoba’s 10,000 health care support workers have rejected the wage offer made by the Government in contract negotiations. Sixty percent of the members who voted said the wage offer was not enough.

Members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) working in hospitals, clinics and long-term care facilities voted yesterday to reject a tentative wage offer reached July 26th with the assistance of a mediator, Wally Fox-Decent.

The tentative wage offer proposed wage increases and adjustments that totalled 13.75% over the next four years. The Government also agreed to set up a ‘standardization fund’ with an additional $7.2 million to help equalize salaries in the health care system across the province.

“The members have voted as individuals and they have said the wage offer was not near enough, was nothing like what the nurses received. I think they would have accepted an offer for less than the 20% we wanted, but for a three year contract, not four,” according to Marlene Tartsch, Chair of the Provincial Health Care Council, which represents health care support workers across the province.

“The results of the vote means that those locals which rejected the offer, thirteen of them, are now preparing to go on strike. We’ll meet soon and decide when to call a strike date,” said Tartsch.

The locals which rejected the wage offer tend to be in Winnipeg, while rural members of the union voted to accept the offer. “ I think our rural members felt the combination of the standardization fund and wage increases was acceptable,” added Tartsch.

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, the CUPE members work in the Health Sciences Centre, Grace, Seven Oaks and Concordia Hospitals, CancerCare Manitoba, Riverview Health Centre, the Community Health Clinics and personal care homes.

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For information, contact:

Marlene Tartsch, (204) 942-0343, ext. 287 / cell. (204) 794-6817

Lorraine Sigurdson, (204) 942-0343, ext. 214
cell. (204) 981-6499
Nancy Garrioch, (204) 729-5790 (for Brandon)