Collective Bargaining

New - MGEU GEMA Negotiations - About Arbitration

September 3, 2023

The timing considerations surrounding this round of bargaining are unusual. But they do not change the essence of arbitration. A fair and binding process for everyone – to resolve and sometimes entirely avoid the income loss and broader disruption of strike action.

Recall the 2019 round of GEMA bargaining. Where the MGEU pursued direct arbitration after only a few days of bargaining (and successfully went to court for this purpose when differences arose over interpretation of the former legislation, The Civil Service Act). No strike action occurred. Employees sustained no income loss. And the Manitobans we serve faced no disruption.

A direct arbitration path is on the table now, although this time the advantages are even greater. The immediate, retroactive and ongoing significant gains of the Employer’s guaranteed 16.2% overall offer would be fully locked in, while the issue of general wage increases is arbitrated. Compounding general wage increases of 2% for every year would be protected through this process, with the MGEU having full opportunity to advance the position that more would be appropriate.

Again, our employees and their families would experience no income loss. And Manitobans would experience no disruption.

Resolving general wage increases through fair binding arbitration is not new. Sooner or later, most strikes end through binding arbitration. This approach has resolved, reduced or avoided strike action by other unions in other provincial public sector settings over each of the last 3 years, including earlier this year.

In GEMA bargaining, the income loss and disruption more recently seen elsewhere could be entirely avoided.

Further Details

Here is an outline of the Employer’s guaranteed 16.2% offer with a no-risk direct path to binding arbitration. For additional details, see the specific language proposed on page 2 of the full August 31 offer.