Dynacare, workers heading to mediation, avoid strike

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Workers at the private laboratory where most medical tests needed to diagnose and treat Manitobans are heading to mediation to avoid strike action.

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Workers at the private laboratory where most medical tests needed to diagnose and treat Manitobans are heading to mediation to avoid strike action.

Dynacare staff in Winnipeg and Brandon as well as the company are heading to mediation, according to the Manitoba Association of Health Care Professionals (MAHCP). As of Wednesday, the bargaining committee agreed to the move, and talks will begin in the next few weeks, according to association president Bob Moroz.

No one wants to see a strike happen, he said.

This is one of the options available to both parties to hopefully come up with an agreement.

“We are trying to get the employees in Brandon and Winnipeg a fair collective agreement,” Moroz said. “That is really where it’s sitting at this point.”

Moroz couldn’t give an exact date at the time, but mediation is expected to begin in early October.

No strike action will be taken between now and during the mediation process, he added, but could happen if the union believes mediation isn’t going to be in favour of the employees.

More than 300 Dynacare employees in both cities voted 99 per cent in favour of a strike mandate on Sept. 15. They haven’t had a contract since April 1. The union had been negotiating with Dynacare since February.

The workers were required to give Dynacare 14 days notice, Moroz previously told media.

Dynacare’s labs are owned and run by a private, for-profit company. Public health-care employers are required to have essential service agreements in place to protect workers, he said.

The Essential Services Act requires employers involved in the delivery of health-care services be regulated under the Health Services Insurance Act to enter into agreements that will enable the employer to continue to provide those services during a work stoppage. Dynacare owns all laboratories outside hospitals in Winnipeg that carry out services such as blood collection and urinalysis.

A spokesperson for Doctors Manitoba said they had no further comment, but pointed to previous statements expressing concern about how a strike would affect medical care in the province.

“Physicians and their patients rely on lab tests every day to diagnose and treat medical conditions,” the statement read.

“It is a vital and essential service to our health-care system, and to the people of Manitoba. We hope to see Dynacare and MACHP, with the support of the province as needed, resolve this issue swiftly to ensure timely and uninterrupted lab testing for Manitoba patients.”

A provincial spokesperson said they had no further comment at this time.

Dynacare didn’t respond to a request for comment by press time Wednesday.

» kmckinley@brandonsun.com

» Twitter: @karenleighmcki1

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