Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) will resume full service Friday, after its union employees voted in favour of a deal that ends a long labour dispute with the public insurer.
The new deal ends a 10-week-long job action by members of the Manitoba General Employees Union (MGEU), which represents about 1,700 MPI workers.
The agreement includes 13% in total wage increases over four years, a news release from MGEU states. Plus, there would be a one-time lump sum signing bonus of $1,800 for full-time employees, prorated for part-time staff members.
Striking MPI employees will receive two weeks’ pay to account for more than three weeks of stalled negotiations while the NDP government was sworn in after the Oct. 3 provincial election.
The union ratified the deal 12 days after Manitoba’s new NDP government appointed several new MPI board members and issued the board a mandate to resolve the labour dispute.
The newly formed NDP provincial government replaced nine MPI board members two days after being sworn in.
Carmen Nehodin, former chairwoman of the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission, now heads MPI’s board of directors. New board directors include Marilyn McLaren, a former president and CEO of MPI.
Related: MPI employees’ job action: What it means for brokers
MGEU ratified the deal just two days after the union had rejected MPI’s latest contract proposal. MPI’s rejected offer was for wage increases of 12.2% over four years, including 3% increases in 2022 and 2023, 2.9% in 2024, and 2.8% in 2025.
The two sides were eligible to go to binding arbitration on Oct. 27, but the NDP’s attorney general, Matt Wiebe, sent a mandate letter to MPI’s board on Oct. 20, ordering it to negotiate with the union without going to binding arbitration.
“Your top priority is to resolve the labour dispute with an agreement that is both fair to employees and responsible to MPI ratepayers,” Wiebe wrote in his Oct. 20 mandate letter to the MPI board.
“As the Minister responsible for MPI, I am directing your board to do the following in regards to the labour dispute:
- Immediately rescind your final offer and any previous bargaining mandates, whether written or verbal
- Instead of seeking binding arbitration, work with the Manitoba Government and General Employees Union to set new bargaining dates
- Enter negotiations in good faith with a goal to end the strike as soon as possible.”
MPI’s workers were on strike since Aug. 28, when the previous Progressive Conservative government was still in office. The labour disruption affected a variety of services, including the public insurer’s driver testing and claims assessments.
“Our members are keen to get back to work helping Manitobans,” MGEU president Kyle Ross said Wednesday. “We ask the public to have patience with members as they work to ramp-up services.”
Feature image courtesy of iStock.com/shapecharge