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Nurses at Manitoba’s largest hospital vote against new contract

The Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg is pictured on June 27, 2022.  (Michelle Gerwing/CTV News Winnipeg) The Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg is pictured on June 27, 2022. (Michelle Gerwing/CTV News Winnipeg)

Nurses who work at Manitoba’s largest hospital have voted against ratifying a new tentative agreement.

The Manitoba Nurses Union announced Friday members in five out of six health regions voted in favour of the tentative agreement, which includes a 2.5 per cent general wage increase starting in April, a 2.75 per cent increase for 2025 and three per cent increases over the following two years.

The union recommended members ratify the deal.

The outlier was Shared Health, where nearly 57 per cent of members voted to reject the offer.

“We’ve already reached out to the employer, and asked the employer to come back to the bargaining table to look at how we can solve this,” said Manitoba Nurses Union President Darlene Jackson, noting a meeting has not been set.

Nurses in Manitoba have been without a contract since April.

If the bargaining committee and Shared Health cannot reach an agreement, Jackson says they will move on to a strike vote and potential job action.

According to Shared Health, it employs about 4,100 nurses at Health Sciences Centre, Selkirk Mental Health Centre, and other provincial facilities and services.

A spokesperson tells CTV News Winnipeg they are actively working with the union to determine next steps.

“It is important to note that health care is an essential service and any job action could only take place after the successful negotiation of an Essential Services Agreement to ensure health care services remain available in the event of a work stoppage,” the spokesperson said in an email.

Meantime, Jackson says while only its Shared Health members voted to reject the offer, votes in many other health regions were very close.

“Clearly, nurses in this province are sending a message to this government that health care is not doing well,” she said.

“We’re still seeing lots and lots of overtime, both mandated and voluntary. We are seeing probably more agency nurse use than we’ve ever seen in this province, and we’re still working with shortages. Nurses are still working with workloads that are unsustainable.”

The union shared the vote breakdown by health authority in an email to CTV News Winnipeg: Top Stories

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