Nisichawayasihk personal care home care workers in Man., ratify new agreement

10 per cent raise in first year of deal

Members of Nisichawayasihk personal care home ratified a new collective agreement after nearly three weeks walking the picket line in Nelson House, Man.

The workers — who provide round-the-clock elder care — had been on strike since Nov. 28 over the fact they earn less than other workers in Manitoba who have the same training and do the same job, according to the union.

“While the employer was not able to offer all we need to fully address the disparity, this new deal is a big step towards reaching equity,” said Michelle Gawronsky, Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU) president.

The new collective agreement includes a 10 per cent wage increase in the first year of the agreement, retroactive to the expiry of the previous contract nearly nine months ago, and a three percent wage increase in the second year, said the union.

“The new agreement will go about halfway to addressing the inequity in pay between Nelson House health care support workers and workers in places like Thompson,” Gawronsky said. “This is a significant move forward and the employer has also committed to working with us to secure the necessary funds to achieve wage parity in the near future.”

The union pointed to the federal government as key to fully rectifying the problem. “When it comes down to it, this is about the need for stable, predictable funding for our First Nations communities,” said Gawronsky. “In order for our members to be paid fairly and equitably, our federal government needs to step up and adequately fund First Nations personal care homes like Nisichawayasihk.”

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