Strike Update - Response to MGEU Press Conference
The Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union (MGEU) held a press conference today during which they called into question salary increases received by two of our agency’s most senior employees. They also questioned our inability to use surplus funds toward the salaries of our Youth Crisis Stabilization System employees who are currently on strike.
MGEU held their conference in front of our new therapeutic centre, under construction on Mayfair Avenue. Below, we provide an overview of this new facility that will result in cost savings for the agency and improved services for our clients. We also provide an explanation for the salary increases and parameters around using surplus funding.
The Board of Directors undertook an independent market survey of similar-sized, not-for-profit agencies in Winnipeg to determine an appropriate salary range for the CEO of MYS. The lag was significant and resources were few, so a multi-year implementation schedule was adopted. A similar market-salary review has been implemented by MYS management for all permanent positions in the agency.
In hiring our director of business operations, two impacts occurred at approximately the same time: the director of business operations subsumed responsibility for Human Resources when the former HR director retired; the director of business operations resigned and we found that a higher salary was necessary to attract a qualified individual. Our director of business operations salary is within the approved salary range for executive managers at MYS.
MYS has not been in a position to increase base salary rates for employees since 2013. However, we have provided one-time payments to non-unionized employees when we experienced surpluses. These increases did not increase base salaries and were contingent on satisfactory performance. Such one-time payments would be reported as the annual salaries of each individual for taxation and public disclosure purposes.
All employees who are covered by a collective agreement received years-of-service increases as applicable. These have occurred during the period of time that the bargaining unit has been without a contract. These increases are permanent and raised the base salary of these employees.
MYS is paid with public funds through a Service Purchase Agreement with the purchasing government. We own and are responsible for any deficits we incur; surpluses may be reinvested to enhance the programs for which the funds were intended. The use of surpluses beyond the intended service must be approved by the relevant funder.
New therapeutic centre
The new therapeutic and administrative centre is under construction on MYS property at 175 Mayfair Avenue. The facility replaces three existing, aging buildings and centralizes staff currently in six locations throughout Winnipeg.
For the first time, staff will work out of one location, allowing the agency to provide more efficient services to clients. This also results in a cost savings for the agency as we will no longer be paying for expensive upkeep on high-maintenance buildings and the payment for a single mortgage will be less than what we were paying for multiple rents and mortgages across the city. We are currently fundraising $2.5 million for the therapeutic centre portion of the building.