TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN
Delegates listen as CUPE Manitoba president Kelly Moist speaks during the CUPE Manitoba annual convention at the Keystone Centre on Tuesday.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees will rally in Brandon later this month as part of the National Day of Action for a new health accord.
Kelly Moist, CUPE Manitoba president, addresses delegates at the CUPE Manitoba convention on Tuesday.
(TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)
The health-care funding agreement between the federal and provincial governments ends on March 31, and protests are planned across the country.
"Across Canada there’s various things happening, in various Conservative ridings, and Mr. Maguire’s office is the target in Brandon," said CUPE national president Paul Moist.
Moist said the plan is to rally at Brandon-Souris Conservative MP Larry Maguire’s constituency office on March 31.
"There will be some health-care workers there and it’s part of our ongoing campaign to say that the … take it or leave it offer by Mr. Flaherty in December 2011 is not how federal/provincial relations are supposed to work," Moist said.
Moist is in Brandon this week to attend the CUPE Manitoba annual convention.
Close to 200 people attended the four-day convention, which wraps up today at the Keystone Centre. The union represents 25,000 workers in Manitoba, including in health care, education and social services, and with municipalities.
Manitoba CUPE president Kelly Moist says the health accord has been a major topic of discussion.
"We’re extremely upset and concerned about the cuts, and going to do whatever we can to fight that," she said. "We want to see the federal government reverse their decision."
The union says changes to the Canada Health Transfer will mean billions less in federal funding for health care over the next decade.
Brandon Mayor Shari Decter Hirst made an appearance at the convention, following the recent collective agreement for Local 69 and the City of Brandon.
"We were very happy to have her and very happy to be in a labour town where labour is supported because that is not the case always in Winnipeg," Kelly said. "We’re really just happy that they were able to come to a fair agreement without any kind of threat of job action."
CUPE Local 69, which represents all city workers except for managers, emergency personnel and bus drivers, settled a three-year contract with the city earlier this month.
Those employees will receive a 2.5 per cent bump this year, and two per cent in 2015 and 2016.
Other topics at the convention included cuts in postal service and pensions.
"There are some CUPE members who don’t’ have a pension plan," Moist said. "More importantly, there’s 65 per cent of the workforce, mostly non-union that don’t have a pension plan. We’re continuing with our expanding (Canada Pension Plan) campaign."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition March 19, 2014