fbpx News and Events | Page 2 | Manitoba Federation of Labour

News and Events

News & Stories

November 3, 2021

MFL News General

PDPS will seek leave from Supreme Court of Canada to hear wage-freeze appeal

The Partnership to Defend Public Services (PDPS) will be seeking leave from the Supreme Court of Canada to hear an appeal of Government of Manitoba’s public sector wage-freeze legislation, announced Manitoba Federation of Labour President Kevin Rebeck on behalf of the PDPS.

“Over 120,000 public sector workers and their families are relying on Manitoba’s unions to have their backs when it comes to their right to collective bargaining,” said Rebeck. “When we launched our constitutional challenge to the Pallister government’s wage-freeze law, we knew it would not be a quick process. But we will always stick up for the rights of workers.”

In October, the Manitoba Court of Appeal overturned a ruling by the Court of Queen’s Bench that the Pallister government’s public sector wage-freeze law (Bill 28) was unconstitutional. Rebeck added that while it is up to the Supreme Court to decide whether to hear an appeal, the PDPS will be putting strong legal arguments forward on behalf of working families.

“We won round one and government won round two. Now we are asking the Supreme Court to consider round three,” said Rebeck. “Manitoba’s dedicated public sector workers have been there for us, before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. They deserve to have their rights respected by government.”

Rebeck added that the PDPS has until mid-December to submit their leave application to the Supreme Court. 

Read More

October 13, 2021

MFL News

Partnership to Defend Public Services disappointed by Court of Appeal ruling, but will continue to fight for the right to free and fair collective bargaining

The Partnership to Defend Public Services (PDPS) is disappointed by today’s Manitoba Court of Appeal decision, but remains committed to standing up for workers and their right to free and fair collective bargaining, announced Manitoba Federation of Labour President Kevin Rebeck today on behalf of the PDPS. 

“While this is not the outcome we were hoping for, we will continue to fight for the rights of workers to collective bargaining,” said Rebeck. “We will be reviewing the Court of Appeal’s ruling in detail and we expect to come to a decision about our next steps in the near future, including the prospect of an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.”

While the Court of Appeal decision overturns last year’s ruling by the Court of Queen’s Bench that the Pallister government’s public sector wage-freeze law (Bill 28) was unconstitutional, Rebeck added that Charter challenges are rarely quick or easy processes. 

Rebeck noted that the PDPS is pleased that the Court of Appeal upheld that the government did interfere in the collective bargaining process between the University of Manitoba Faculty Association and the University of Manitoba in 2016. 

“We respect the ruling made by the Court of Appeal, but we are proud of the strong arguments our team put forward at court,” said Rebeck. “Over 120,000 public sector workers and their families are relying on Manitoba’s unions to have their backs when it comes to their right to collective bargaining.”

Rebeck added that the provincial government has continually thanked Manitoba’s public sector workers for their service throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and highlighted that if the government truly valued these workers, then it would stop fighting them in court and stay out of their way while they negotiate fair deals with their employers.

- 30 -

You can find the decision here.

Read More

August 23, 2021

Pensions Story

Pallister government weakens pension security for Manitobans

Dear Sisters, Brothers and Friends,

As you will recall, this past spring the Pallister government passed legislative changes to the Pension Benefits Act that will weaken retirement security for Manitobans. The Pallister government has now passed a Regulation (link below) which brings some of these changes into force effective October 1, 2021. The most concerning changes deal with unlocking provisions.

· Under the new rules, individuals, regardless of their age, with funds in Manitoba locked-in accounts will be able to unlock funds in the event of certain financial hardships (such as low expected income, eviction for rental arrears, mortgage foreclosure and medical/dental expenses not covered by other insurance/government programs). While we certainly appreciate that individuals might face dire financial hardship, people are almost always better off leaving their money in pension plans. As we said to government at committee in the spring, any unlocking changes should be coupled with financial literacy tools to help individuals make informed decisions, as most Manitobans are not financial planning or pension plan experts. Making these changes without making such tools available is just unfair and irresponsible.

· In addition, individuals aged 65 and over will have the option to unlock all money in Manitoba locked-in accounts with a financial institution. This is a risky plan that opens up Manitobans to be preyed upon by mutual fund managers wanting to extract sizeable commissions by having people gamble their money in the market rather than the reliability of regular pension payments. 

· The new regulation also changes the division of pension assets in the event of a relationship breakdown, so that pension assets will not necessarily have to be split 50-50.

The Pallister government's other key pension promise to reduce solvency requirements for defined pension plans from 100 per cent to 85 per cent has not been included in this most recent regulatory change, although we are advised to expect this change to be made sometime this fall. We will update you when that occurs. 

You can view all of the details included in this regulatory change to the Pension Benefits Act in detail at: https://web2.gov.mb.ca/laws/regs/annual/2021/063.pdf

Read More

May 11, 2021

MFL News

President Kevin Rebeck's statement on Manitoba's paid vaccination leave

Statement by MFL President Kevin Rebeck on today’s changes to Employment Standards to provide for Paid Vaccination Leave:

Today the Pallister government introduced changes to the Employment Standards Code to ensure that all workers have access to up to three hours of paid leave to get their COVID-19 vaccines. This will ensure that workers won’t lose pay for doing the right thing and getting vaccinated.

The MFL advocated for this paid leave along with the other members of the labour caucus of the Labour Management Review Committee. We were glad to build agreement and consensus support from the employers who also sit on that committee. 

 Today's announcement shows the importance of legislating paid leave to remove barriers to protecting public health, instead of setting up voluntary programs like the Pallister government has done for paid sick days. We encourage the government to take immediate action to protect public health by legislating paid sick days for all workers now.

You can find more information here.


Read More

May 7, 2021

MFL News Health & Safety

Pallister government fails to ensure paid sick days for all workers in Manitoba

Statement by Manitoba Federation of Labour President Kevin Rebeck in response to the Manitoba Pandemic Sick Leave Program:

No one should be forced to choose between putting food on the table and staying home when they are sick to protect public health. The financial support program for employers announced today will not ensure all workers in Manitoba have access to paid sick days.

The program is voluntarily, not legislated like Ontario’s paid sick days program, so it will only apply to workplaces that decide to provide paid sick days. A provincial program meant to fill the gaps of the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit shouldn’t create more gaps by design. All workers should have access to paid sick days, regardless of their employer’s decisions.

We fear that, like many other employer support programs announced by this government, the intent here is to pay out as little as possible. With new and more contagious variants of COVID-19 spreading throughout Canada, there is an urgent need for government to put paid sick days in place for all workers to remove barriers to protecting public health. 

We are also concerned that the government is not providing three hours of paid vaccination leave like other western provinces, even though employers and labour have recommended it through the Labour Management Review Committee. No one should lose income for doing the right thing to protect public health. 

Read More

April 20, 2021

MFL News Health & Safety WCB

Internal Workers Compensation Board report confirms over 1,200 cases of workplace transmission of COVID-19

An internal report by the Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba (WCB) reveals that there were over 1,200 confirmed cases of COVID-19 transmissions at Manitoba workplaces over the past year, Manitoba Federation of Labour (MFL) President Kevin Rebeck announced today. The report, obtained through a freedom of information request, shows the desperate need for permanent paid sick days in Manitoba, added Rebeck. 

“Far too many workers face the impossible choice between putting food on the table and protecting public health by staying home when they are sick because they don’t have paid sick days on the job,” said Rebeck. “With new and more contagious variants of COVID-19 spreading throughout Canada, there is an urgent need for government to put paid sick days in place for all workers.”

The internal report shows that between March 1, 2020 and February 28, 2021, the WCB accepted 1,227 COVID-19 claims. This means that there have been at least 1,227 cases of COVID-19 transmission at workplaces in Manitoba. Rebeck noted that these numbers would not include any eligible workers who were unaware that they could submit a WCB claim and would not include occupations that are not covered by the WCB, such as teachers. 

“Paid sick days would help to protect public health by allowing sick workers to stay home without leaving them out of pocket,” said Rebeck. “The need to protect public health and paycheques, during this pandemic and beyond, is simply too great for government to ignore.”

Rebeck noted that the federal government’s Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit has been a small step forward to help workers impacted by COVID-19, but it falls far short of what is needed. The benefit is temporary by design and interrupts workers’ income, requiring them to apply and then wait for the benefit to arrive. The benefit only replaces a fraction of lost pay for many workers. Rebeck urged the provincial government to move quickly on ensuring permanent paid sick days for all workers in Manitoba.

The MFL is calling for the establishment of 10 permanent paid sick days for all Manitoba workers, as well as an additional 10 days to be made available to workers in times of public health emergencies. Only 42 per cent of working Canadians who are older than 18 years report having access to paid sick days at work, according to the 2020 Annual Report of the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada. 


Read More

April 7, 2021

MFL News

MFL Responds to 2021 Provincial Budget

After an exhausting and difficult year, working families are looking for strategic investments to rebuild our economy, strengthen the public services we count on, protect workplace safety and health, and pick up the pace on vaccinations. 

Like many Manitobans, I was disappointed to hear that the Health Minister is satisfied with the pace of vaccinations. This government is nowhere near the 20,000 vaccinations a day it claimed it could administer. We need to see more urgency from the Pallister government - public health and our economy depend on it.  

Government should be leading the recovery through forward-looking plans to protect our economic future, with the goal of maintaining employment and getting thousands of Manitobans back to work in fairly paid, family supporting jobs. And with so many women forced out of the workforce by this pandemic, child care needs are a top priority for working families. But this government has no plan to create desperately needed affordable child care spaces.  

This budget also continues the Pallister government's obsession with imposed wage freezes, rather than letting workers negotiate fair contracts. That does nothing to support working families and grow our economy. 

Brian Pallister and his Finance Minister Scott Fielding continue to stubbornly focus on the money but not the needs of working families.

-Kevin Rebeck, President of the Manitoba Federation of Labour 

Read More

February 25, 2021

MFL News General

Joint Statement by Canada’s Provincial and Territorial Federations of Labour

We can’t afford to wait. It’s time for paid sick days for every worker in Canada.

In advance of the federal, provincial and territorial labour ministers’ meeting, provincial and territorial federations of labour are united in demanding that provincial and territorial governments guarantee seamless access to universal, permanent and adequate employer-paid sick days for all workers.

More than half of all Canadian workers have no access to paid sick leave. When they’re sick, they face an impossible choice between making ends meet and staying home to protect public health and get better. It’s a decision nobody should have to make. 

Workplace outbreaks and transmissions during the COVID-19 pandemic have made it clear that paid sick leave is critical to protecting public health. Yet the gaps in coverage are huge, especially among low-wage workers. There’s an urgent need for immediate government action — especially with new, highly-contagious variants now spreading through our population.

It’s a public health imperative that sick workers stay home from work, and not just during the pandemic. Illnesses like influenza cause thousands of hospitalizations and deaths in Canada every year. By curbing the spread of infectious diseases, employer-paid sick days would protect public health while increasing workplace productivity, offering more stable income for workers and reducing health costs for governments.

The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit is a small step forward, but it falls far short of what is needed. It’s temporary by design and restricted to COVID-related illness. It interrupts workers’ income, making them apply and then wait for the benefit to arrive. And the benefit itself only replaces a fraction of lost pay for many workers. While this new benefit helps, it isn’t universal and permanent paid sick leave.

Initially, some level of government support may be needed to offset costs for small and medium-sized businesses that have been severely affected by the pandemic. But the ultimate goal, in every province and territory, must be to ensure that every worker knows that when they are sick, they will not pay a financial penalty for doing the right thing and staying home to protect public health.

Public support for employer-paid sick days is strong throughout Canada. The need has never been more apparent or more urgent. We call on Canada’s labour ministers to prioritize the implementation of universal, permanent and adequate employer-paidpaid sick leave for all workers now.

This joint statement is being distributed on behalf the Alberta Federation of Labour, British Columbia Federation of Labour, Manitoba Federation of Labour, New Brunswick Federation of Labour, Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour, Nova Scotia Federation of Labour, Ontario Federation of Labour, Prince Edward Island Federation of Labour, Saskatchewan Federation of Labour and Yukon Federation of Labour.


Read More

January 26, 2021

General Health & Safety

Manitoba Federation of Labour statement regarding the Pallister government’s changes to apprenticeship ratios

Statement by Manitoba Federation of Labour President Kevin Rebeck regarding the Pallister government's changes to apprenticeship ratios: 

The Pallister government has decided to make workplaces less safe for thousands of apprentices in our province. 

This government's recent regulatory change to the minimum journeyperson to apprenticeship ratio from 1:1 to 2:1 effectively means that apprentices will receive far less on the job supervision as they learn under experienced tradespersons. This could lead to more injuries and accidents at workplaces throughout our province. 

Manitobans that work in the trades are essential to our economy, and they often work with potentially dangerous equipment and in situations where risks are heightened. 

The longstanding 1:1 ratio meant safer workplaces for Manitobans as they learned their trade from those with experience. It also ensured a higher quality of education.

This watering down of workplace safety rules moves our province in the wrong direction.

Read More

November 9, 2020

MFL News Health & Safety

The MFL mourns the death of a health care worker from COVID-19

The Manitoba Labour movement mourns the death of a CUPE health care worker from Victoria General Hospital who lost their life from COVID-19. We are saddened by this loss and hope the family, coworkers and friends of our fallen worker can provide each other comfort and support.

Every worker who goes into work deserves to go home safe and healthy at the end of every shift. Now, more than ever, we are relying on essential service workers to be there for us. We hear daily from workers who fear they aren’t being supplied with the appropriate personal protective equipment, how there are not enough staff to provide the care they need and want to, and how our health system is struggling to keep up with increased demands.

Manitobans deserve better. Workers deserve the right personal protective equipment to be safe at work, and that means having the best protective equipment available. We believe workers need to be informed and have an equal say in establishing the right PPE, and that they should not be provided with any less due to costs or other criteria. 

Today is a day filled with sorrow, let us ensure we do not continue to suffer losses tomorrow.

In Solidarity,

Kevin Rebeck

President of the Manitoba Federation of Labour

Read More


Upcoming Events

No upcoming events

Members Login

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
5 + 2 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.