MPI reaches tentative deal with its striking employees

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Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) has reached a tentative settlement with its striking employees.

The new deal is endorsed by the leadership of the Manitoba General Employees Union (MGEU), which represents about 1,700 striking MPI workers. The public insurer’s unionized employees are to vote on the new deal Wednesday.

MPI’s latest offer 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.

If the union vote ratifies the deal, striking MPI employees would also 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 tentative agreement comes 11 days after Manitoba’s new NDP government appointed several new MPI board members and issued the board a mandate to resolve the 10-week-old 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 announced the tentative settlement one day after the union had rejected MPI’s latest contract proposal. MPI then offered 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.

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“Your top priority is to resolve the labour dispute with an agreement that is both fair to employees and responsible to MPI ratepayers,” Weibe 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 have been on strike since late August 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.

 

Feature image courtesy of iStock.com/shapecharge