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Social services and child care workers taking part in CUPE Manitoba’s Respect campaign have a new video that helps raise the profile of their work.

The video, Care about the Caregivers, premiered at the CUPE Manitoba division convention and features three members speaking about every day work situations and the people they care for. Some of the workers, the employers and the clients from a few of the agencies highlighted in the video were on hand for the premiere.

Social service and child care workers provide supports and frontline services that maintain Manitoba’s social safety net. They are the people who are in daily and direct contact with children, people living with disabilities, the homeless, those with addictions, new Canadians, families in crisis, women experiencing abuse and others facing traumatic situations. Yet, they are among the lowest paid unionized workers in the province and they have little, if anything, in the way of pensions and benefits. They are due so much more,” said CUPE National President Paul Moist.

The video is being sent to provincial politicians and others in the community and a meeting with the provincial Minister of Family Services and Housing is planned.

The main message of the campaign is that these workers do valuable work deserving of respect,” said Sheree Capar, campaign coordinator. “The social services these members deliver are critically important to the quality of life of the people they care for and work with – the personnel in these service agencies are important to all Manitobans.”

The goal of the Respect campaign is to increase public awareness and to lobby government for proper funding for social service and child care agencies in Manitoba so that the workers providing these important public services can receive the wages, pensions and benefits they are due.

A recent survey showed that many workers are putting in longer hours than usual due to short-staffing problems – 78 per cent have worked overtime and 80 per cent have skipped lunch or breaks. Manitoba has about 1,500 CUPE members who work in a variety of social service and child care agencies across the province.