Public Services Sustainability Act
Court Challenge Victory (June 12, 2020)
AESES is extremely pleased to share with all of our members that the judge for the trial contesting the constitutionality of the Pallister Government’s Public Services Sustainability Act (PSSA) ruled in favour of the unions.
In a scathing decision, Justice McKelvey stated “I have concluded that the PSSA operates as a draconian measure that has inhibited and dramatically reduced the unions’ bargaining power and violates s. 2(d) associational rights.”
What does this mean for AESES bargaining? The judge’s decision in this case results in the Act being struck down, so it is not in effect and cannot be proclaimed into law. Unfortunately, there’s no way to anticipate the Government’s reaction to this ruling; however, they essentially have three options at this point in time:
- They can appeal the decision.
- They can introduce a new bill with revised legislation that they think will pass judicial scrutiny.
- They can do nothing and accept the ruling.
As for bargaining, we will need to have discussions with our bargaining teams on how to best proceed given this news and we will be scheduling meetings to discuss the impact of the ruling. The Universities will have likely received their mandates from the province, so this is not to say that we’ll see significant monetary gains at the bargaining table. This is further complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the very real possibility of a loss of revenues (particularly from a potential reduction of international students) for post-secondary institutions. Regardless, this decision at least opens the door to having those monetary discussions, where the door was previously slammed shut.
AESES would like to congratulate all of the members of the Myers LLP legal team who worked diligently in preparing and presenting this case. This has been a long road for the unions that coalesced into the Partnership to Defend Public Services, taking over three years to the culmination of this decision…one that sets an important legal precedent for union workers and, especially, those in Manitoba.
The full court decision can be downloaded as a PDF here
Manitoba’s public-sector workers get their day in court against unconstitutional wage freeze law (MFL press release, November 17, 2019)
Partnership to defend public services will continue to fight the Pallister government’s attacks on public sector workers (MFL press release, July 20, 2018)
Government’s Directive No Excuse: Labour Rights Prevail (Winnipeg Free Press/Errol Black Chair, February 9, 2018)
Public sector unions file notice of motion for injunction against unconstitutional labour law (MFL press release, October 20, 2017)
Labour coalition sues province over wage-control law (Winnipeg Free Press, July 4, 2017)
Manitoba public-sector unions launch court challenge over wage freezes (CBC News, July 4, 2017)
Labour groups file injunction against Tories (Winnipeg Sun, July 4, 2017)
July 4, 2017
The Partnership to Defend Public Services has filed a statement of claim today in the Court of Queen’s Bench challenging the constitutionality of the Public Services Sustainability Act (PSSA). As the AESES President, I was proud to stand among the union leaders at today’s media announcement. Be sure to watch your local news this evening to see how it all unfolded.
We have also created a dedicated page on the AESES website to consolidate information relating to the legal challenge of the PSSA. Feel free to visit the page for ongoing updates and information, including the press release that was issued in advance of today’s media announcement.
Laurie R. Morris, President
June 15, 2017
AESES is pleased to inform our members that the Confederation of Canadian Unions (CCU) recently wrote to Premier Brian Pallister to call upon the Manitoba government to respect the fundamental rights of workers and end its wrongheaded austerity agenda. This is in response to the passing of Bill 28: The Public Services Sustainability Act in the Manitoba Legislature.
To view the letter from the CCU, please visit their website at the following link: http://www.ccu-csc.ca/ccu-call
As previously reported to our members, AESES has joined the Partnership to Defend Public Services which is coordinating to defend the rights of Manitoba public-sector employees. We will be sure to forward any formal communications that come from this group to our membership as they become available.
We would like to thank the CCU for their solidarity and support in this important fight.
June 8, 2017
On Friday, June 2nd, a number of media outlets reported that Bill 28: The Public Services Sustainability Act had passed third reading in the Manitoba Legislature. This act imposes severe restrictions for public-sector workplaces insofar as wages and other monetary factors are concerned.
Although our AESES collective agreements are not set to expire until 2019, this new law will direct that our general salary increases for the following four years (2019 to 2023) are already set at 0%, 0%, 0.75% and 1.0% respectively.
The Pallister Government has made their intentions clear. Regardless of when the act is proclaimed, the impact of the government’s new law is already being felt at the bargaining table. Instead of negotiating at the bargaining table, the Pallister Government has chosen heavy-handed legislation to get their way.
Manitoba’s public-sector unions have come together to create a Partnership to Defend Public Services and will launch a legal challenge. AESES has joined this partnership and is actively supporting the legal challenge in order to defend the bargaining rights of our membership.
All communications going forward will be organized through the Partnership to Defend Public Services. As they become available, we will ensure they are forwarded on to our membership.
Bill 28 – The Public Services Sustainability Act
Read through the PSSA Act for a better understanding of what’s at stake for unions and workers in Manitoba.