WINNIPEG — Staff at Macdonald Youth Services have hit the picket line, going on strike for the first time in nearly 20 years.
The MGEU members are crisis stabilization workers part of Local 221.
“These professionals, who deal with Manitoba’s most vulnerable young people, are doing this with profound reluctance,” said MGEU president Michelle Gawronsky.
“Their work stoppage will impact an entire system that is already in a state of crisis. We know emergency rooms and Child and Family Services after-hours units and shelters will see an influx of those in need, and the police will see an increase in their call volumes.”
Local 221 has been without a contract for more than two years. Members sent a letter to the provincial government on July 12, but haven’t heard back.
The union says the previous NDP government committed to funding a wage increase for four years.
“We are not talking about huge amounts of money, but we are talking about the safety of vulnerable children,” added Gawronsky. “I’m calling on the government to do the right thing.”
A minimal level of service will be maintained during the strike to assist youth in crisis.
Members are picketing Monday to Friday at 491 Portage Avenue from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 226 St. Mary’s Road from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.