Manitoba midwives reject employer's latest offer, strike date 'could be set within weeks'

Midwives in Winnipeg are sending a message that they need more support than they're currently receiving — on Friday, they rejected their employer's most recent offer following a ratification vote.

Midwives fall under Essential Services Legislation so no expectant mothers at risk in event of strike

In February, between 30 and 40 people gathered outside Winnipeg's Birth Centre to hold an informational picket on Thursday morning, asking for better compensation for midwives in the province. (Meaghan Ketcheson/CBC)

Midwives in Winnipeg are sending a message that they need more support than they're currently receiving — on Friday, they rejected their employer's most recent offer following a ratification vote.

The gap between midwives in Manitoba, who are represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 2348, and those in other jurisdictions is increasing, according to Sheree Capar, CUPE National Representative.

"We are falling further behind other jurisdictions in terms of compensation," Capar said.

"The most recent offer doesn't do enough to catch up."

The employer, represented by the Provincial Labour Relations Secretariat at a meeting on Wednesday, offered a package that Capar said "would not adequately address the growing gap."

"There are countless Manitoba families on the wait list of midwifery services — the demand is there," Capar said.

"We need to both train and retain midwives, and ensuring a competitive compensation package is crucial to serving this demand from the public."

According to a news release issued by CUPE, midwives in Manitoba fall under Essential Services Legislation, which means no expectant mothers will be put at risk in the event of a strike and deliveries will still happen throughout it.

While a strike date has not been set, CUPE Local 2348 is planning to meet with employer representatives and a date could be set within weeks, the news release said.

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