“A deal is a deal, and we will do everything in our power to hold you to this deal.” This is the promise future CUPE national president Paul Moist made to Winnipeg City Council in 1996, when they announced they planned to open up the CUPE 500 collective agreement to roll back city worker wages.
The negotiations that led to that collective agreement were not easy. CUPE 500 members agreed to a five year deal, with no wage increases in the first four years and a modest 1% increase in year five, in exchange for job security and a say in contracting out. But before the ink on that contract had even dried, Winnipeg mayor Susan Thompson tried to break the deal by passing a budget that asked the province to roll back wages by 4%. Watch the CUPE video “A Deal is a Deal” to find out how CUPE 500 members fought back, mobilized support and forced the city to back down.