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State of Labour Relations - CUPE 500/City of Winnipeg

September 09, 2020 at 1:44 PM

Greetings: 

I am writing to update you on an important matter facing our Local. 

Today, I will be reaching out to the Mayor and Council to express CUPE’s concerns about the growing deterioration of labour relations with the City of Winnipeg. 

We strongly feel the department has been unresponsive and dismissive of our members’ concerns and are deeply concerned with the City’s inability to resolve issues through internal labour relations mechanisms, and pushing grievances directly to arbitration. 

We are concerned that city administration is proceeding without council direction on numerous instances of contracting out our work. This contracting out is being done in contravention of the agreement, often at a greater cost, and without discussion with CUPE prior to the decision. 

And we are concerned that city administration is unable or unwilling to deal with allegations of human rights issues, including complaints of racism, bullying and harassment. These complaints take months to get an initial investigation meeting, and are seemingly never resolved, leading to festering toxic workplace issues and continued victimization of employees who have raised these concerns.

Unfortunately, the above issues have created a dynamic where we feel we have no other choice but to seek the assistance of council to sort out who is making labour relations decisions at city hall. 

CUPE remains committed to maintaining a positive and productive working relationship with the City of Winnipeg. However, we need the Labour Relations department to sit with us in good faith and work with us to resolve grievances, rather than wasting taxpayer money on contracting out that is prohibited by the collective agreement, and is often pushed by administration without council approval.

We are looking for direction from council to city administration to reform their respectful workplace investigation process so that complaints are dealt with in days, not months or years. 

At this point we believe the city’s labour relations department has become completely ineffective. This is a disservice to both the city’s workforce and to the community. We are unclear where the root of these problems stem from, but it is clear, that our relationship with the city has deteriorated.

As we continue to monitor the situation at city hall, your CUPE 500 leadership is committed to ensuring that your rights are protected and that members concerns are being treated with respect. 

The Local will continue to update the membership as more information becomes available. 

In the meantime, if you have any issues or concerns, please contact your shop steward or member of your Unit executive. You can also reach out to us at 204-942-1001 or by email: union@cupe500.mb.ca. 

In solidarity, 

Gord Delbridge
President