fbpx News and Events | Manitoba Federation of Labour

News and Events

News & Stories

August 18, 2022

MFL News

Working families disappointed that Stefanson government has decided to keep Manitoba’s minimum wage the second lowest in Canada

Statement by Manitoba Federation of Labour President Kevin Rebeck in response to the Stefanson government’s planned minimum wage increase:

No one should work full-time but still live in poverty. But that is the reality for thousands of workers in our province because the Stefanson government has kept our minimum wage far too low for workers to be able to make ends meet. 

Working families who rely on minimum wage work were looking for a much higher increase to Manitoba’s minimum wage today. Instead, the Stefanson government has decided that Manitoba should go from having the second-lowest minimum wage in the country right now to staying the second-lowest minimum wage in the country on October 1. The planned minimum wage of $13.50 this year will fall well short of what working families need to make ends meet.  

All working families are concerned about the crushing increases in the cost of living with the price jump at the gas pumps and the grocery stores hitting low-wage workers particularly hard. 

The Stefanson government had claimed it wanted to consult with employers and workers on what the minimum wage should be, and the MFL advocated for $16.15 based on the last available calculation of a living wage. It is unfortunate that the Stefanson government has decided to side with what employers lobbied for instead of what working families need.

We think Manitoba workers are worth more, and that is why Manitoba’s unions will continue to advocate that our minimum wage should be a living wage so that everyone who works full-time on minimum wage lives above the poverty line. 

 

Read More

June 14, 2022

MFL News Health & Safety

Manitoba Federation of Labour gives Stefanson government a D in report card on workplace safety and health

(WINNIPEG) The Manitoba Federation of Labour has given the Stefanson government a grade of D in its 2022 Workplace Health and Safety Report Card, citing numerous examples where the government has rolled back protections for workers on the job, MFL President Kevin Rebeck announced today.

"Workplace safety and health rules keep workers safe on the job, and they help us come home to loved ones once the workday is over,” said Rebeck. “Unfortunately, under both the Pallister and Stefanson governments, we have seen a clear shift away from prioritizing workplace health and safety, and this is leaving workers at greater risk.”

In assessing the government’s performance on workplace health and safety, the MFL report card evaluates the Stefanson government’s overall efforts on workplace health and safety measured against recommendations made by unions to keep workers safe and healthy on the job, as well as to ensure proper care and rehabilitation for workers who are hurt, so they can safely return to work.

 The Stefanson government has been graded in the following categories as follows:

  • On Workplace Health and Safety Laws: D
  • On Enforcement: D
  • On Prevention: C+
  • On Workers Compensation: C-

“Workplace injuries and illnesses don’t have to happen – they are preventable,” said Rebeck. “With the right laws, enforcement strategies and prevention efforts, we can ensure that all workers stay safe and healthy on the job. It is time for the Stefanson government to start working for working families and focus on building and sustaining strong workplace health and safety programs.

– 30 –

You can read the full 2022 MFL Workplace Health and Safety Report Card here

Read More

May 30, 2022

MFL News

Stefanson government introduces bill to raise the minimum wage

For months now, Manitoba's unions have been raising the embarrassing fact that Manitoba is set to have the lowest minimum wage in the country this year. 

After refusing to do anything about this, today the Stefanson government scrambled to introduce a bill that would allow the government to make a one-off increase to Manitoba's minimum wage in light of skyrocketing inflation. The bill doesn’t specify how much the increase will be, only that it will be more than the 40 cent increase government announced just a few weeks ago, to take effect October 1. 

The government has also now committed to some sort of consultation prior to setting the rate of the additional minimum wage increase this year, and the MFL will be making it clear that anything less than a living wage is unacceptable. No one should work full-time but still live in poverty. And all workers should be paid enough to meet their basic needs like rent, food, transportation, and clothing. 

You can read the MFL's full position on the Stefanson government's minimum wage bill here

-30-

Read More

May 6, 2022

MFL News

Kevin Rebeck re-elected as President of the Manitoba Federation of Labour

Delegates to the 2022 Manitoba Federation of Labour (MFL) have re-elected Kevin Rebeck as President for a fifth term. Delegates also re-elected Jeff Traeger, President of UFCW 832, as MFL Treasurer. 

“I am honoured to be chosen by members of the MFL to keep fighting on behalf of working families in our province,” said Rebeck. “The past few years have highlighted just how much we rely on workers in Manitoba, and just how important unions are for working families. Your MFL will continue to fight for things that will make a difference in the lives of workers, like stronger public services, good family-supporting jobs and a safer, fairer Manitoba.”

Delegates also approved changes to the MFL Constitution that adopt gender inclusive language and ensure greater gender diversity and balance on its Executive Council, which is responsible for governing the MFL between conventions. Rebeck added that representation matters, and that all organizations, including labour bodies, need to take steps to be reflective of our society.

Other resolutions passed by the MFL Convention call for the provincial government to ensure that gig workers are treated the same as any other type of worker under the law, to raise Manitoba’s minimum wage to a living wage level, and to require that all workers have at least 10 paid sick days at work per year. 

“Manitobans are working hard, but finding it harder to get ahead,” said Rebeck. “At a time when the cost of everything is going up, workers need government to have their backs and to take steps to boost wages and provide greater economic security. It’s time for the Stefanson government to start working for working families.”

The next MFL Convention will be held on May 9 – 11, 2024.

– 30 –

Read More

May 3, 2022

MFL News

Because of Heather Stefanson and Brian Pallister, Manitoba’s minimum wage will become the lowest in Canada this year

Statement by Manitoba Federation of Labour President Kevin Rebeck in response to the announcement by the Government of Saskatchewan that Saskatchewan’s minimum wage will rise to $13/hr in October: 

The Government of Saskatchewan plans to increase its province’s minimum wage to $13, which means that Manitoba will drop to having the lowest minimum wage in the country later this year. 

That’s an embarrassment. And if Premier Heather Stefanson was concerned about the struggles facing low-wage workers in our province, she would be embarrassed too. 

Conservative governments in New Brunswick and Saskatchewan have plans to substantially increase their provinces’ minimum wage this year. Instead of following their lead, Premier Stefanson is following in Brian Pallister’s footsteps and keeping thousands of minimum wage earners in poverty.

Working families are concerned about rising costs at the grocery store and the gas pumps, and these increased costs hit low-wage workers particularly hard.  

We think Manitoba workers are worth more than dead last in the country. It’s time for the Stefanson government to start working for working families and take immediate steps to make Manitoba’s minimum wage a living wage.

– 30 –

Read More

April 12, 2022

MFL News

Manitoba Federation of Labour responds to provincial budget

Statement by MFL President Kevin Rebeck in response to the Stefanson government’s 2022/23 Budget:

After years of cuts and underfunding by Brian Pallister and the continued impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the public services that working families count on are facing severe staffing shortages. 

Areas like health care need far more support than this budget provides to fix what this government has broken. And we are deeply concerned that this government continues to pursue a path of privatization when it comes to health care, rather than investing in building up the public system and investing in the workers who provide its services. 

It is unfortunate that this government continues Pallister’s approach when it comes to reducing revenue available for government to use to fund the public services we all count on. Continuing to borrow money to fund tax cuts that disproportionately benefit wealthy property owners just doesn’t make sense. 

At the same time, Manitoba’s economy is heading in the wrong direction. The latest Statistics Canada jobs numbers show that while national employment increased last month, our province lost over 4,000 jobs. And Manitoba has the worst year-over-year wage growth in the country. 

Manitobans are facing higher prices at the pumps and the grocery store, and working families are struggling to keep up with the cost of living. This budget is missing a plan to boost wages and create good, family-supporting jobs across our economy.  

After years of cuts and chaos from Brian Pallister, this budget misses the opportunity to reset the relationship between government and workers in our province. It’s time for this government to start working for working families. 

 – 30 –

Read More

April 1, 2022

MFL News

Manitoba has the second-lowest minimum wage in Canada

Statement by MFL President Kevin Rebeck in response to Manitoba officially dropping to the second-lowest minimum wage in the country:

Today, the Government of New Brunswick raised that province’s minimum wage by $1, the first of two $1 raises this year. This officially makes Manitoba’s minimum wage ($11.95) the second-lowest in all of Canada, a mere 14 cents above Saskatchewan’s minimum wage ($11.81). The Government of New Brunswick said having such a low minimum wage was “downright embarrassing.”  We agree.

No one should work full-time and still live in poverty, but that is exactly what is happening to thousands of workers in Manitoba right now because our minimum wage is too low. Now, we see a Progressive Conservative government in New Brunswick stepping up and saying that low-wage workers need a raise. 

Working families are concerned about the rising cost of living, and the increases in the price at the pumps and at the grocery store are hitting low-wage workers particularly hard. 

We think Manitoba workers are worth more than second last in the country, and we encourage the Stefanson government to stop following Brian Pallister’s lead and instead follow the approach of New Brunswick’s Progressive Conservative government. We need a government that works for working families, and that must include immediate plans to significantly raise our minimum wage to be a living wage. 

– 30 –

 

You can find more information about minimum wages by province at: https://www.retailcouncil.org/resources/quick-facts/minimum-wage-by-province/

Read More

January 18, 2022

MFL News

MFL Responds to the Appointment of Labour Minister Reg Helwer

Statement by Manitoba Federation of Labour President Kevin Rebeck in response to Premier Stefanson’s appointment of a Minister of Labour:

Premier Stefanson's appointment of a Minister of Labour is long past due, as the absence of a labour minister had made us an outlier in Canada for nearly six years. We are glad to finally have someone to work with on important issues that matter to working people in our province. However, today's appointment is the bare minimum. What this government does to support working people over the next few months will matter most. 

The pandemic has highlighted just how much we rely on workers. And it is clear that workers need more support from this government.

There is a desperate need for government to fix chronic staffing shortages in health care and other areas of the public sector, as well as to create permanent paid sick days so that Manitobans are not forced to choose between going to work sick to pay the bills or staying home to protect public health. Low-wage workers also need a meaningful increase to the province's embarrassing minimum wage, which is scheduled to drop to the second-lowest in the country this spring. 

 We look forward to working with Minister Helwer to support working families who continue to face the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, rising prices for groceries and other necessities, and strains on the public services we all rely on. 

 

Read More

November 24, 2021

MFL News

Partnership to Defend Public Services responds to wage-freeze law repeal

Statement by Kevin Rebeck, president of the Manitoba Federation of Labour, on behalf of the Partnership to Defend Public Services:
 

The Partnership to Defend Public Services welcomes the repeal of the Public Services Sustainability Act (Bill 28) as an important and long overdue step. Manitoba’s unions have been calling for this to happen for over four years. This harmful law has, and continues to negatively impact 120,000 working families, people who work hard every day to deliver the public services that we all count on. 

In fact, thousands of public sector workers remain without a contract today because of the damage this law caused to the collective bargaining process in the public sector.

As we announced several weeks ago, Manitoba’s unions are seeking leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada in order to get a definitive ruling on the constitutionality of this wage-freeze legislation. Today’s announcement does not change that. As Manitoba’s Court of Queen’s Bench and Court of Appeal issued drastically different rulings, we believe it is essential to have the law made clear for everyone by the Supreme Court. We trust that the government agrees as its news release highlights the importance of resolving the constitutionality of this legislation.

 If the Stefanson government is serious about wanting to reset the relationship with workers and unions, we call on them to stop interfering in public sector bargaining and to make a clear and genuine commitment that the government will also not oppose our application to have the Supreme Court consider the constitutionality of wage-freeze legislation.

 We know that collective bargaining works when it is fair. It is a tried and tested process that allows workers and employers to reach fair deals that make sense for both sides. We hope that today's announcement is the first step in this government recognizing the value of free and fair collective bargaining for workers in Manitoba. 

Read More

November 23, 2021

MFL News

President Rebeck's response to 2021 Throne Speech

 We have been calling on Premier Stefanson to reset the provincial government’s relationship with unions and workers, and while this throne speech certainly takes a different tone than Brian Pallister, what will matter are this government’s actions in the coming months.

While we are glad to see some of the commitments on health care, we know that much more will need to be done to rebuild the system after years of cuts and chaos under Brian Pallister. Thousands of health care workers are still without a contract because of the mess that the Pallister government made in public sector bargaining and we know that Manitoba is facing chronic staffing shortages in health care.

We also encourage this government to stop interfering in contract negotiations between the University of Manitoba Faculty Association and the University of Manitoba, so that both sides can reach a fair deal that ensures high quality education for U of M students.

Manitoba needs a real economic recovery plan focused on good jobs that allow families to pay the bills. COVID-19 continues to impact our communities and our economy, including low-income workers. These workers are falling behind as our minimum wage continues to sit near the bottom of the country, but this government has no plan to lift minimum wage workers out of poverty by making the minimum wage a living wage.

This government also continues to refuse to ensure that all workers have access to paid sick days on the job, meaning many Manitobans are forced to choose between going to work sick to put food on the table and staying home to protect public health. That’s not a sensible approach to protecting public health.

Finally, we are concerned about this government’s continued attempts to force the City of Winnipeg into accepting a risky public-private partnership to upgrade the North End sewage treatment plant. This plan will put local jobs and services at risk, and the city has recommended against it.

Read More

Pages

Upcoming Events

2023 MFL Health & Safety Conference

Thursday, February 02, 2023 until Friday, February 03, 2023

Canad Inns Polo Park

More Details

Members Login

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
8 + 1 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.