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

October 13, 2021

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.

You can find the decision here.