More Manitoba health-care support staff vote overwhelmingly in favour of strike mandate: union

Community and health-care support workers in two more Manitoba health regions have voted in favour of a strike mandate, their union says.

The vote for a strike mandate was was 97 per cent yes from health-care support staff in the Prairie Mountain Health region and 98.9 per cent yes among community support workers in the Interlake-Eastern health region, Manitoba Government and General Employees’​ Union president Michelle Gawronsky said in a statement.

Wednesday’s update comes a week after support workers in Manitoba’s three other health regions and Shared Health voted in favour of strike mandates.

While there are plans to continue bargaining, Gawronsky’s statement said, the vote results mean the union’s bargaining committees are now authorized to call a strike if talks break down and they deem job action necessary.

The Prairie Mountain and Interlake-Eastern strike mandates affect more than 6,100 staff who work in rural hospitals and personal care homes and include health-care aides, home-care attendants and maintenance, clerical, housekeeping and dietary workers.

The workers’ wages have been frozen for years, the statement said.

The current contract for health-care support staff expired in March 2017, and the one for community support workers expired a year after that.

Gawronsky’s statement called for a similar deal to the one the province struck with the Manitoba Nurses Union in June.

Under that agreement, both parties agreed to go to binding arbitration if talks break down.

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