Manitoba Association of Health Care Professionals

ACP program cut at RRC a blow to Paramedics, rural health care: MAHCP President

The Manitoba Association of Health Care Professionals has the following comments on the suspension of Red River College’s Advanced Care Paramedic Program:

“The suspension of the Advanced Care Paramedic (ACP) diploma program at Red River College, reported yesterday, represents yet another short-sighted cut by the Manitoba Government and yet another blow to rural health care in our province. Manitoba has been moving toward a more consistent and professional model of Emergency Response Services for years now, and we’ve made some progress, but this cut takes us in the opposite direction. It will make it even more difficult to recruit and retain paramedics with advanced skills to serve rural Manitobans in an emergency, and it’s another signal that the Manitoba Government is moving in the wrong direction on rural health care. Manitoba Paramedics and all Manitobans deserve better.

“The Manitoba Association of Health Care Professionals is calling on the Manitoba Government to immediately reinstate the Advanced Care Paramedic diploma program at Red River College, and to ensure that ACPs are recognized and able to work to their full scope of practice in rural Manitoba.”

– Bob Moroz, MAHCP President

Prescription safety eyewear added to MAHCP Discounts Program

MAHCP has teamed up with the Manitoba Association of Optometrists to offer the Prescription Safety Eyewear Program!

Through this program, MAHCP members can purchase prescription safety eyewear at a fraction of the normal pricing (usually 1/4 – 1/3 of the regular cost, depending on your vision prescription).

This program is currently at 55 locations across the province, including 27 in Winnipeg. Furthermore, starting week of June 22, the Manitoba Association of Optometrists is adding the three Winnipeg Oakley Optical locations, bringing the total to 58 in Manitoba, with 30 in Winnipeg.

To take advantage of this new program, MAHCP members must bring their membership card and current vision prescription to any participating location and can purchase at the deal rate.

Standard procedure is for you to pay at the optometrist’s office and they will issue a receipt so you can submit a claim through any insurance coverage you may have.

Please note: this deal applies to prescription safety eyewear only, not regular eyewear. Also, side shields are permanently fixed, removable side shields are not available through this program as they do not meet CSA standards.

For a current list of participating locations, click here.

The MAHCP Discounts Program has also been updated with new vendors in northern Manitoba. Please click here to check out these new additions.

MAHCP thanks all businesses and associations participating in our Discounts Program!

MAHCP President on Risk Recognition Program changes

Two weeks ago, the Manitoba Government announced their so-called “Risk Recognition Program,” which was actually a one-time top-up payment for lower-wage workers.

On June 16, they quietly announced expanded eligibility criteria, doubling the income ceiling to $12,500 earned between March 20 and May 29, 2020. The “minimum hours worked” requirement remains at 200 hours over that same period.

This means that some of you may now qualify for this one-time payment, although we expect that the majority of full-time Allied Health Professionals, and many part-timers, will still be excluded based on the income ceiling and minimum hours worked requirement.

Details of this provincial program, including a link to apply, can be found on the Manitoba Government website: https://manitoba.ca/covid19/infomanitobans/mrrp.html. If you have further questions about the program that aren’t answered on the website, you can contact the Manitoba Economic Assistance Office, toll free, at 1-888-805-7554. If you believe you should qualify but are excluded based on your classification, we want to know about it at info@mahcp.ca

I will state once again that one-time taxable bonuses, whatever they may be called, are never a substitute for real wage increases.

MAHCP will continue pushing to get back to the bargaining table so we can negotiate a fair deal for our members who have been without a contract for more than two and in some cases three years.

In solidarity,

Bob Moroz, MAHCP President

MAHCP announces Bill 28 Court Challenge win!

I’m very pleased to share some good news with all MAHCP members today.  MAHCP, along with other unions who banded together to form the Partnership to Defend Public Services (PDPS), has won our court challenge to Bill 28, the Manitoba Government’s unconstitutional wage freeze legislation.  Please see a news release from PDPS here, issued on behalf of all partner unions.

We have said all along that Bill 28 tramples on our right to free and fair collective bargaining, and the judge has agreed.

The Partnership’s legal team will be reviewing the judge’s full decision and we will have more to say about this landmark court case and its potential implications in the coming days and weeks.  For now, we can celebrate a significant victory for Allied Health Professionals and all working people in Manitoba.

In solidarity,

Bob Moroz, MAHCP President

June 2020 Newsletter

The June 2020 edition of the MAHCP Newsletter is now available and features a message from the President, round-up of our successful Allied Health Week, and a frontline interview.

Manitoba Announces ‘Risk Recognition Program’ and MAHCP responds

Today, more than three weeks after the federal government announced a joint federal-provincial low-wage top-up program for essential workers and over a month after other jurisdictions such as Ontario announced “pandemic pay” for front-line workers, Premier Pallister finally announced details of Manitoba’s program.

The Provincial Government is calling it a “Risk Recognition Program,” but that name is misleading. Our members’ safety is never for sale, nor does this program recognize everyone who has put themselves at risk to serve Manitobans through this pandemic. The government’s program is actually a low-wage top-up program primarily aimed at workers in multiple industries and sectors who worked at least 200 hours in the ten weeks between March 20, 2020 and May 29, 2020 but who earned no more than $2500 per month. MAHCP has not been provided further details on the program but we anticipate that the vast majority of MAHCP members will not be eligible based on the government’s decision. The online application for the program will be posted on the Provincial Government’s COVID-19 website tomorrow.

The government news release is available here and eligibility criteria are now listed on the Provincial website, along with a list of eligible organizations and positions. The government’s criteria appear to exclude most MAHCP members based on income, employer and/or classification. We will update you as soon as we have clearer answers.

MAHCP’s position has been clear from the outset. There is no question that low-wage essential workers, many of whom do not have the benefit of union representation, deserve to be recognized. During recent consultations, we reminded the Province that Allied Health Professionals have also continued to show up to provide essential care and services during this pandemic and have put themselves at significant risk in doing so.

MAHCP will not lend our name or support to any government process that pits worker against worker. We are not part of any so-called “consensus.” At the end of the day, this is a provincial government program and the final decision on program eligibility was theirs. They have created an overly complicated and inconsistent program that is likely to include some front-line Allied Health Professionals who put their own safety and that of their families on the line during the height of the pandemic, but that will exclude others who did so.

The Manitoba Association of Health Care Professionals (MAHCP) joined other health care unions more than two months ago to put forward a proposal for the provincial government to recognize all health care workers for their extraordinary service during this pandemic. Premier Pallister and his government have ignored that request.

MAHCP will continue to advocate for all Allied Health Professionals to be recognized for the heightened risks you have faced during this pandemic. At the same time, we acknowledge that one-time bonuses are never a substitute for real increases negotiated at the bargaining table. They aren’t enough to make up for the fact that Allied Health Professionals have experienced years of neglect, mistreatment and frozen wages at the hands of this provincial government. They don’t make one bit of difference to our members’ personal safety while at work.

We won’t be distracted. MAHCP will continue the fight at the bargaining table. We will continue to push for the real and meaningful increases and protections our members deserve.

 

In solidarity,

Bob Moroz, MAHCP President

Allied Health Care Professionals Week starts May 10!

Manitoba’s second annual Allied Health Care Professionals Recognition Week starts this Sunday, May 10, and runs until the 16, and although we cannot change anything COVID-related, we still wanted to give members something fun that may take their minds off the current situation – even just for a moment.

Here is a quick recap on the activities we have planned:

First, we proudly present our ‘MAHCP Health Care Heroes’ initiative.

Do you know of an MAHCP member who you feel has gone above and beyond during the COVID pandemic to help the public or their fellow staff? If so, please nominate them for the ‘MAHCP Health Care Heroes’! To do this, please send an email to communications@mahcp.ca with the subject line ‘Health Care Heroes,’ the name and worksite of the person you’re nominating and a paragraph (100-words maximum) as to why you’re nominating them. Please send your nominations to us by Friday, May 15, at 4 p.m.

Second, we have a couple contests for all members that will run next week, Monday to Friday, May 11 to 15. Everyone who participates will be entered into the final draws for these two contests. They are:

Our ‘Caption This’ contest:

Each day on our MAHCP Facebook page, we’ll be sharing a fun photo from the past year for you to caption. Please remember to keep the captions fun and light-hearted. You can write a caption below the picture’s post or send us your caption privately at mahcpcontest@mahcp.ca

Our ‘MAHCP Trivia’ contest:

Each day on our Facebook page, we’ll be sharing one MAHCP Trivia question for you to answer by sending us an email to mahcpcontest@mahcp.ca

Please note: you do not have to be a member of Facebook to see the ‘Caption This’ and ‘MAHCP Trivia’ contests. Our FB page is public, so you can get to it by Googling ‘MAHCP Facebook’ or by visiting our website www.mahcp.ca, where all of our posts are listed. Send your entries to mahcpcontest@mahcp.ca

Finally, we have the MAHCP Grand Prizes draw, which is a gift card draw for the entire membership. This means all members are automatically entered for this draw. There will be 10 prizes: two prizes of $500, four prizes of $250 and four prizes of $100. We were hoping to share a live video of the draw, however, with the physical distancing rules still in place, we will instead be announcing the winners the afternoon of Thursday, May 14, which is Allied Health Care Professionals Recognition Day, on Facebook and the MAHCP website.

We hope these activities during Allied Health Care Professionals Recognition Week help to provide some much-needed fun during these trying times. The spotlight is on you, our members! Feel free to send any questions to communications@mahcp.ca

Thank you,

Victoria Fabris

Chair of the MAHCP Communication Committee

MAHCP President on Federal Pandemic Pay Announcement

Weeks ago, MAHCP, along with other health care unions, put forward a proposal to the Manitoba Government to provide a “COVID Premium” for all health care employees in Manitoba for the duration of the pandemic.  Other provinces, including Quebec, Ontario, B.C. and Saskatchewan have all announced some form of “hero” or “pandemic” pay on top of general wages for front-line health care workers.  We have not yet received any response to our proposal.

Today, the federal government announced a new initiative to be cost-shared with provinces and territories that will provide a salary top-up for “low-income essential workers.”   Subsequent reporting on this announcement suggests that it may be limited to employees earning $2500/month or less.  Details on who will be covered by this new initiative are apparently being left to each province to decide.  We are concerned that the Manitoba government may decide to draw arbitrary lines and limit the number of employees eligible for this benefit.

Premier Pallister indicated during an unrelated press conference this morning that more details regarding this new initiative will be announced early next week.  In the meantime, MAHCP has reached out to seek clarity on the process and to reiterate our position, that all MAHCP members deserve a premium applied to general wages in recognition of the extraordinary circumstances and risks you are facing.

I know this is an issue many of our members feel passionately about.  We are already feeling under-supported and undervalued after years of government delays in bargaining and the unconstitutional threat of zero increases when we do get to the table.  Now we are in the midst of a pandemic, and it is long past time for the government to step up.

I will keep you informed as soon as we learn more.

In solidarity,

Bob Moroz, MAHCP President

MAHCP on New Public Health Order for PCHs

MAHCP has been in ongoing discussions with Employer representatives and other health care unions regarding the issue of limiting health care providers to operating in only one licensed personal care home (PCH) in order to limit the risk of spreading COVID-19 to vulnerable PCH residents.

The new government policy limiting employee movement between PCH sites was officially announced by Shared Health officials earlier this week and is due to take effect this Friday, May 1, 2020.

MAHCP has been awaiting details on which, if any, Allied Health staff may be affected by this new policy. Today we received a copy of the new public health order, click here for your review, that will govern the policy.

The order confirms that most Allied Health staff are exempted from the policy. In other words, most MAHCP members should not be limited to one PCH site. The exceptions for specific Allied Health professions are listed on page four of the attached order and are as follows:

  • Dietitians;
  • Laboratory Technicians [outdated term, but we assume this applies to MLTs and MLAs];
  • Paramedics;
  • Pharmacists;
  • Other health professionals who visit personal care homes to provide health care services, such as Physiotherapists and Occupation Therapists;
  • Social Workers;
  • Chaplains and Spiritual Care Providers.

If you expect you will need to work in more than one PCH and you are not included in this list, please ask your manager for clarification. If you believe you are being limited to one PCH site in error, please request clarification from your manager.

If any questions remain, please feel free to contact your Labour Relations Officer for assistance.

Your MAHCP Team

CPA announces initiative in support of our health care heroes

Dear MAHCP members,

We’ve seen an outpouring of gratitude from Manitobans since this crisis began. Everyone is realizing how important Allied Health Professionals and all health care workers are, and they are showing their thanks in many ways.

Yesterday, the Chartered Professional Accountants of Manitoba (CPA Manitoba) announced the launch of a new initiative called Accounting for Bravery.

This program “brings together CPAs from across the province to support frontline healthcare professionals by offering to prepare their tax returns free of charge.”

We encourage MAHCP members to take advantage of this generous offer and to sign up soon, as it’s first-come, first-served.

More details are available on the CPA Manitoba website: https://cpamb.ca/public/accounting-for-bravery

Please note that MAHCP is not able to address questions or concerns regarding this CPA Manitoba initiative, but we do think it’s a great idea and hope as many of our members as possible are able to benefit.

MAHCP President’s Update, April 24, 2020

It’s been awhile since my last update, and MAHCP has been very busy working on your behalf to make sure you’re supported and protected through this challenging time. With so much happening all at once, I wanted to provide just a few updates here, but you should always feel free to contact us for more information or if you have a specific concern.

I’ll start off with some good news. We’ve seen an outpouring of gratitude from Manitobans since this crisis began. Everyone is realizing how important Allied Health Professionals and all health care workers are, and they are showing their thanks in many ways. Yesterday, the Chartered Professional Accountants of Manitoba (CPA Manitoba) announced the launch of a new initiative called Accounting for Bravery. This program “brings together CPAs from across the province to support frontline healthcare professionals by offering to prepare their tax returns free of charge.”

We encourage MAHCP members to take advantage of this generous offer and to sign up soon, as it’s first-come, first-served. More details are available on the CPA Manitoba website: https://cpamb.ca/public/accounting-for-bravery. Please note that MAHCP is not able to address questions or concerns regarding this CPA Manitoba initiative, but we do think it’s a great idea and hope as many of our members as possible are able to benefit.

Last week, the Pallister government reversed course and finally agreed to provide paid administrative leave to front-line health care workers who are asymptomatic but are forced to self-isolate due to possible COVID-19 exposure at work, retroactive to March 1, 2020. We’ve been waiting for details on how this announcement will be implemented, and how broadly it will apply. Yesterday, we were informed by the Employer that this newly announced paid leave will be granted only in the narrowest of instances. In other words, if you’re sick (i.e., symptomatic) or become sick while on leave, you have to use sick time or other earned leave. If you had to wait a few days for OESH to call you back and provide clearance to return to work, you have to use your own earned leave. Here’s an excerpt from the Employer memo: “This paid leave is not applicable to periods of required self-isolation due to personal travel, community exposure or for being sent home during site entry point screening.” Even if you test positive for COVID-19, the burden of proof will be on you to show that you acquired it due to exposure at work in order to receive WCB coverage. Otherwise you may be forced to use your own sick time or other earned leave.

The Employer’s narrow interpretation of the announcement is disappointing, to say the least. In our view, the government and Employer continue to nickel and dime our members during a crisis that is not of your making. Their approach is cold-hearted and unacceptable. As you know, MAHCP’s position remains that paid leave should be provided for any COVID-related absence, and that presumptive WCB coverage be assured for any Allied Health Professional who tests positive. We will continue pushing them to do the right thing, to provide you the security and protections you deserve.

Speaking of protection, the other top-of-mind issue for MAHCP members and all front-line workers continues to be the availability of PPE and the protocols governing its use. I and other health care union leaders have been beating this drum constantly in the media and behind closed doors with the Employer. Our members need to be protected to the highest possible standard while at work serving Manitobans. Not only is the Employer obligated by our collective agreements to keep you safe, but it’s just common sense that if front-line health care employees get sick in large numbers, the entire system is threatened.

Initially, the Employer promised “universal PPE” for all patient contact, but the effective date for implementation kept getting pushed back, in part due to limited supply. This week, they rolled out a new PPE protocol that establishes green, orange and red zones intended to optimize “supply management and stewardship” of scarce PPE resources. Sounds a lot like rationing to me. We are still reviewing this new protocol and I welcome your feedback on how it is being implemented on the front line. For more on my initial reaction, you can read what I had to say to CBC News, that “risk isn’t confined to zones.”

Finally, I want to acknowledge the bigger picture and the misguided approach the Pallister government is taking toward this crisis. It’s an approach focused on austerity and preserving the bottom line, one we’re all too familiar with in health care in recent years. We have seen firsthand the cuts, closures and consolidations that have defined this approach, and we know exactly how misguided it is.

Now, in the face of a global pandemic and economic downturn, the Premier seems to be doubling down on his austerity agenda, threatening cuts to other sectors in order to preserve balance sheets. MAHCP stands in solidarity with workers in the civil service, crown agencies, colleges and universities represented by MGEU and other unions who are deeply threatened by these proposed cuts.

Experts from across the political spectrum are trying to tell the Premier that now is not the time for austerity and belt-tightening that will only deepen the economic downturn and take more money away from the services we all depend on. Pallister is saying these cuts are necessary to pay for increased health care and other costs to combat the pandemic, but experts keep reminding him that provincial budgets are not a zero-sum game. We in health care reject his logic that pits worker against worker, public against private, health care against civil service. We call on the Premier and his government to do and spend what is necessary to make sure there’s a Manitoba economy to come back to after this is all over.

I want to end on a hopeful note because there are many bright spots in this fight:

  • The government reversed course and met, partially, our demands on paid leave, showing that together, we can force them to listen;
  • Individuals and groups from across the political spectrum are pushing back hard on Pallister’s continued and misguided austerity agenda; and
  • More and more Manitobans are stepping up to show their support for health care workers on the front line of this pandemic, both moral support like the postal workers parading at HSC and Grace, and tangible support like CPA Manitoba providing help on our personal tax returns.
  • Our very own MAHCP staff have put together a short thank-you video that I hope you’ll enjoy. We appreciate each and every member and the work you do!

Manitobans are with us in this fight, and we will continue pushing for the support, protections and respect that you need and deserve, now more than ever. Meanwhile, please stay safe while enjoying the warmer weather where and when you can.

In solidarity,

Bob Moroz, MAHCP President

MAHCP President’s Update April 15, 2020

This week we’ve already seen a number of new developments affecting Allied Health Professionals and I want to provide you with more information regarding what we know and what we don’t yet know.

Yesterday I shared that the Provincial Government has finally agreed to provide paid administrative leave for members instructed to stay home from work due to potential workplace exposure to COVID-19. This is a partial but significant victory, and it represents a reversal from the Premier’s public stance last week. Our members helped make that happen by speaking out.

We’ve already received a number of great questions regarding the paid leave announcement. Unfortunately, we still don’t have any details from the Employer about how broadly this new policy will apply or how you can access it if you’ve been affected. We are pressing the Employer for those details and will keep you informed as soon as we learn more. In the meantime, we know it will be retroactive to March 1, 2020, so please continue to document and follow any necessary reporting procedures.

Premier Pallister also announced that his government will be seeking labour cost savings by introducing reduced work weeks in the public service. It has been reported that public servants may be required to work as little as two days per week if they have a full-time position, and then access Employment Insurance benefits for missed shifts. This announcement raises a number of questions and we, together with other public-sector unions, are in the process of seeking answers.

Here’s a quick run-down of what we know so far:

  • MAHCP attended a conference call between government officials and public sector unions on Tuesday, April 14, 2020. Premier Pallister was not on the call despite media reports that he was. In this meeting it was repeated that health care workers are not going to be subject to this reduced work week plan, rather they are looking at other ‘non-essential’ public-sector workers to pitch in. Despite being pressed for a definition of what is considered a health care worker and what ‘essential’ means, there was no clarity provided.
  • MAHCP represents a large number of members who work in community settings for organizations who are funded by grants and other sources that we remain concerned about in terms of funding cuts and staffing reductions. We continue to seek clarity on the government’s plan. If the Provincial Government tries to deem those services ‘non-essential,’ they will have a fight on their hands.
  • There is no indication that the Federal Government at this point would even approve an Employment Insurance claim related to reduced work weeks. That uncertainty calls the viability of this proposed policy into question.
  • Our colleagues from other Unions are rightfully concerned that we are finding ourselves in a position where public service employees are essentially being pitted against one another.
  • There was no acknowledgement on the call about the impact on individual members who are being affected in myriad different ways. The focus was completely on financial implications and potential cost savings.

MAHCP continues to fight for each of you every day. We continue to fight for appropriate PPE to be available for every member. We continue to fight for considerations related to members who have child care issues.

We have seen positive results on some fronts and I’d like to summarize a few of them:

  • Early on, patient screening was spotty. Members of the public were able to enter facilities without restriction and were being provided ‘elective’ diagnostic testing. Our members concerns with us and we ensured that screening restrictions and policies around diagnostics were being followed. Evenutally all ‘elective’ tests were cancelled or postponed.
  • We successfully negotiated an updated memorandum of agreement around redeployment. We forced the Employer to remove terms such as “may” or “where reasonable” to ensure some compensation for members should they be redeployed during this pandemic.
  • MAHCP has continuously advocated for appropriate PPE for our members. Two weeks ago, Employers finally released a “universal” protocol dictating PPE for every patient interaction. This was a limited success, but it was a step forward by establishing clear guidelines and acknowledging the need to protect front-line providers. MAHCP continues to demand that every member be protected to the highest available standard. We know that our members remain at risk because of PPE shortages or rationing and we continue that fight.
  • Yesterday’s announcement about paid leave for Employer-mandated self-isolation due to workplace exposure was a significant step forward for MAHCP and our members, as I’ve described above. It shows that when we raise our voices together, we can make them listen.

There remains an enormous amount of work to do and we are working every single day to ensure that you are able to be the heroes that I know you are. I firmly believe that Manitobans are understanding exactly how valuable you are and I want to take this moment to thank every single member for your dedication and your willingness to share stories with me and your labour relations officers.

I understand the feelings that some of you are sharing. We have been without a collective agreement for two, and in some cases, three years. We have fought wage freezes. We have fought and endured cuts, closures and consolidations. And now we are in the midst of a pandemic. With all of that, you continue to do each of your professions proud.

Thank you for standing with us and fighting alongside us. We will continue moving forward together through this crisis and beyond.

In solidarity,

Bob Moroz, MAHCP President

 

You Have Been Heard on Paid Leave, Now Let’s Keep Pushing!

Thanks to all of you who have added your voice to our fight and written to MAHCP and/or your elected officials in recent weeks, Premier Pallister finally announced the following today:

“The Manitoba government will now compensate health-care workers who are required to self-isolate for 14 days due to possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace… The Manitoba government will provide health-care staff paid administrative leave for the full 14-day period of asymptomatic self-isolation. Should a worker become symptomatic during self-isolation, the individual will be compensated by sick leave benefits, pursuant to their collective agreement.”

The full government press release is available here: https://news.gov.mb.ca/news/index.html?item=47520&posted=2020-04-14

We are still waiting for all the details, but it’s clear they are starting to listen to the concerns MAHCP and our members have been raising for weeks. It wasn’t fair to make you finance your own self-isolation with sick time or vacation when you are willing and able to work. They’re finally stepping up and doing the right thing by providing paid leave for those who are otherwise healthy but have to self-isolate. We have confirmed this new policy will apply retroactively back to March 1, 2020.

This is the beginning of our fight, not the end. MAHCP continues to push the government to provide presumptive workers compensation coverage for any health care worker who contracts COVID-19. You’re at risk because of what you do – putting your own safety on the line to care for Manitobans. If you test positive for COVID-19, they should assume you got it at work and cover you accordingly. We know how WCB normally operates, and that’s not good enough. The burden of proof shouldn’t be on you for COVID-19 exposure during this unprecedented crisis.

We have not forgotten about the Employer’s responsibility to provide appropriate PPE. We haven’t forgotten about members who have child-care issues. We haven’t forgotten about you.

I want to thank you again for joining MAHCP in this fight. Please stay tuned for further updates and ways you can get involved, and do continue to keep us informed on what you’re experiencing on the front line. We’re in this for you, but we can’t do it without you.

In solidarity,

Bob Moroz, MAHCP President

MAHCP President’s Update April 9, 2020

 

As we carry on into the new normal, I want to keep you updated on MAHCP’s activities. All MAHCP members are facing increasingly difficult circumstances as this pandemic evolves in Manitoba, and I want you to know your union has your back.

We continue to hear about shortages of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and inconsistencies in safety protocols and social distancing at sites across the province. MAHCP’s position remains clear: you should be protected to the highest possible standard when on the job. We know the Employer is still working toward their goal of “universal” PPE for all patient contact, and we’ll continue pushing and holding them accountable.

As you know, MAHCP has demanded COVID-related paid leave for affected employees, and we have also demanded automatic workers compensation (WCB) coverage for any health care professional who tests positive. Other health care unions are joining us in those demands. You’re in harm’s way on the job and they should make sure you’re covered if you miss work due to this crisis.

So far, the Provincial Government has refused to step up and meet these basic, fair and reasonable demands. Instead, you’re expected to use your own sick time, vacation or other banked time if you need to self-isolate. They’re nickel and diming you when you’re needed most, this after more than two years of frozen wages, cuts and closures that have left us short-staffed, stretched and under-supported. Their behaviour is shameful, but we’ll continue fighting arm in arm with other health care unions for the support and basic protections you deserve.

I want to take a moment to thank all of you who have written to MAHCP to share your stories. Many of you have shared heart-wrenching stories about how this pandemic is affecting your lives, your child care, your work situations. I simply haven’t been able to respond to every email, but please know that I read them all and I appreciate hearing from you. Every story helps fuel our resolve to fight on your behalf, and in many cases it allows us to raise specific and urgent issues with your Employer.

I also want to thank those of you who have written to your elected officials – every voice helps push Government to do the right thing. If you have the time, please visit our website and take action: https://mahcp.ca/take-action-and-make-your-voice-heard/. And feel free to send a copy to info@mahcp.ca.

Please continue to keep us informed. Together we will get through this current crisis and emerge stronger than before.

In solidarity,

Bob Moroz, MAHCP President

Joint MAHCP-MNU Statement and President’s Update

Dear MAHCP members,

It’s been another trying week as the COVID-19 pandemic hits home here in Manitoba.

I want to share with you the joint statement issued today by MAHCP and the Manitoba Nurses Union.

We felt this statement was necessary in response to a truly insulting letter we received yesterday from Health Minister Cameron Friesen. Please click here to read it.

I suspect the Premier shares Minister Friesen’s sentiments. When asked today at a press conference why health care workers on mandated self-isolation are being asked to use their own sick time and vacation time, the Premier called your benefits “generous” and said “this isn’t the time for unions to try to advocate for additional non-existing benefits.”

We disagree.

There is no more important time than now to be fighting for the protections and supports you deserve, and we will continue to do so.

Please stay safe and let us know how we can help.

In solidarity,

Bob Moroz, MAHCP President

 

Take Action and Make Your Voice Heard!

 

MAHCP members,

The COVID-19 pandemic is ramping up as expected in Manitoba. All MAHCP members are under incredible stress right now, and we know the situation will get worse before it gets better. I want to thank you for your commitment to keeping yourselves, your patients and your colleagues safe in this difficult time.

We are now seeing confirmed cases of community transmission in Manitoba, and we’re beginning to see front-line health care staff, including a small number of MAHCP members, testing positive for COVID-19. This isn’t cause for panic. We know health care professionals are at greater risk, and that’s why we’ve been fighting hard on your behalf for the Employer and the Manitoba Government to step up and make sure you’re protected and supported. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to be listening.

MAHCP has called on the Manitoba Government to provide paid leave for members who have to miss work because they have to self-isolate or have unavoidable child care issues. For those who contract COVID-19, we’ve called on Government to provide presumptive WCB coverage – you’re at risk because of the work you do, so they should assume you contracted the virus at work unless proven otherwise.

We’re asking MAHCP members to add your voice to these demands by emailing the Premier and Minister of Health at premier@leg.gov.mb.ca and minhsal@leg.gov.mb.ca with this email content, or you can write your own email and share your concerns and calls for action.

If you want to go one step further, you can write or call your MLA:

Step 1) Identify your MLA by typing in your home address at this website.

Step 2) Look up your MLA alphabetically by last name here for their email address and/or phone number.

The more members they hear from, the more they will have to listen to us. Meanwhile, we will continue pushing for these and other measures, including adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), to make sure you’re properly protected and supported.

As always, please stay safe and let us know if you have any questions or concerns by contacting your Labour Relations Officer or info@mahcp.ca.

 

In solidarity,

 

Bob Moroz, MAHCP President

WCB and COVID-19 update from MAHCP President

The possibility of exposure to COVID-19 at work is a serious matter. Your safety while on the job has been a top priority for MAHCP since the first hint of this crisis.

We remain focused on making sure Employers provide appropriate Personal Protective Equipment and follow other public health protocols to provide the highest level of safety for our members.

In the event you are exposed, or if you believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19 at work, you should inform your supervisor immediately in writing and document the suspected exposure. If you then test positive for COVID-19, you should file a WCB claim immediately. If exposure happens at work, it is MAHCP’s firm position that COVID-19 should be covered by WCB, just like any other safety issue. It is the Employer’s responsibility to keep you safe on the job. Once a claim is made, WCB will investigate the details in order to determine coverage, which is why proper reporting and documentation is so important.

The Manitoba Federation of Labour has called for presumptive workers compensation coverage for ALL Manitoba workers who are exposed to COVID-19 on the job. Presumptive coverage means that you would be “presumed” to have contracted the virus at work and would be covered by WCB unless proven otherwise.

MAHCP supports MFL’s position on presumptive coverage and I will be writing to WCB to make our position clear. You can also add your voice by writing to the Premier on this issue through the MFL’s action website.

Please feel free to contact your Labour Relations Officer if you have any questions, and please stay safe, on the job and at home.

 

In solidarity,

Bob Moroz

MAHCP President

MOA on Lab Redeployment to Cadham

As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, Laboratory professionals are on the front line of keeping Manitobans safe from this growing threat.

We are now seeing the media and public take a greater interest in the life-saving work you do every day.  I will continue to do my part to make sure people understand the critical role you serve in health care, and not just during a pandemic.  We recognize that these are extraordinary times, and some Laboratory professionals are already being called upon to serve where you’re needed most during this crisis.

I am writing to MAHCP Laboratory members across the province to advise that MAHCP has signed an additional MOA – Redeployment of Staff Between the SHEO and CPL Relating to COVID-19.  This MOA is specific to redeployment of Laboratory staff in order to effectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic as the situation evolves in Manitoba and the need for testing grows.  Please be advised that the attached MOA is now in effect.

This new MOA is nearly identical in language and intent to the MOA signed previously between all health-care unions and Regions regarding redeployment of staff between Employer organizations.  However, that previous MOA did not cover redeployment to Cadham Provincial Laboratory as it is operated directly by the Government of Manitoba, so an additional MOA was required.

I would like to remind everyone that MOAs are commonplace in preparation for events such as natural disasters and pandemics.  The MOA ensures that your rights are protected and that any member who is temporarily transferred to Cadham will receive additional compensation to cover costs related to travel, meals and hotel accommodations as needed.  It is important to note that the MOA ensures the terms of your current collective bargaining agreement will continue to apply if you are redeployed, and you will continue to be represented by MAHCP.

If you have any questions regarding the terms of this MOA or transferring to Cadham, please contact your Labour Relations Officer or email info@mahcp.ca.

On behalf of MAHCP, thank you again for the work you do every day to keep Manitobans safe and healthy, especially during this difficult time.  I know all Allied Health Professionals have concerns of your own right now, and yet you continue to do whatever you can to serve.  All MAHCP members are heroes in my book, and you deserve the gratitude of every single Manitoban.  Thank you.

In solidarity,

Bob Moroz

MAHCP President