Some of the ways in which our collective agreements support us: „We work hard to talk only about our record in negotiations and the types of collective agreements that people trust us to negotiate, and that has been a very big part of our campaign,“ said Lee McLeod. With this renewed mandate, we can now put all our efforts into a new agreement for nurses,“ said Darlene Jackson, President of the UNM. The province must now begin collective bargaining with unions over the next six months. I encourage all members to read the background below, which summarizes what has happened so far. Let me make it very clear that the MNU has done everything in its power to resume collective bargaining, but the Pallister government has simply refused to come to the table. The early stages of negotiations are often slow and we believe that this round of negotiations will be the same. As you know, because of the legislation imposed by the Pallister government, this cycle will be extremely complex. The Health Sector Bargaining Unit Review Act (Bill 29) requires the merging of collective care agreements within each health region. While most languages are consistent in the UNM agreements, there are some variations that we need to look at carefully at the negotiating table. The first meetings are expected to focus on this work. The Pallister government has hinted that it will not consider convening collective bargaining with a health union until after the process is complete. As noted above, Bill 29 Commissioner Robert Pruden indicated that the government refuses to negotiate with any health care union until the votes are completed (votes from August 8 to August 22). It is totally unfair and inappropriate that nurses have been involved in this process.
The fact is that no health union has been able to negotiate on the basis of this process, and the members of all unions involved in representation votes continue to work within the framework of expired collective agreements. Some benefits enjoyed by MNU members are not provided in the collective agreement, but are provided by pension and fiduciary benefits advice: a collective agreement is a written and binding contract between the Union and the employer, which sets the terms of employment. The Manitoba Nurses Union is seeking to continually improve working conditions, wages and benefits by negotiating new collective agreements, which has forced the MNU to work under the same collective agreement until a new contract is negotiated. The following letter was e-mailed to UNM members on August 1, 2019. While we are proud of the support we have received so far, we are not taking it for granted. There is a lot to be done, both during the campaign and after, and we are committed to ensuring that we are in the best possible position to get nurses to a strong collective agreement. It is a difficult situation for nurses. We have done everything we can to hold the government to account by defending nurses and our right to free and fair collective bargaining at every opportunity.
We will continue to do so and keep members informed of new developments. Visit manitobanurses.ca/bargainingcentre for more negotiations, and mantiobanurses.ca/vote for more of our campaign at VOTE MNU. Establishing a new contract remains a top priority for MNU. Here is an update on what is currently happening with respect to negotiating a new collective agreement. Would you like to talk? Please read our comments directive first. Darlene Jackson has been secretary of the Manitoba Nurses Union for two years and has more than two decades of experience as president of her workplace in The Pas.