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A majority of Manitoba’s 10,000 health care support workers have rejected a wage offer made by the Doer government. About sixty per cent of the members (in 13 of 36 bargaining units), voted August 14 against the deal that included a wage increase of 13.75 per cent over four years. The government also agreed to a $7.2 million ‘standardization fund’ to help equalize salaries in the health care system across the province.

Representatives of the 13 bargaining units that rejected the employer’s offer have set up a new bargaining committee to continue negotiations. They will meet with the government-appointed mediator August 26, but at the same time preparations for a strike continue.

“Bargaining is still underway and we’re going to do everything we can to avert a strike, but the members are prepared to strike if necessary,” said Lorraine Sigurdson, the Manitoba health care coordinator.

Twelve of the bargaining units involved in negotiations are in Winnipeg, while one is located in Gimli.