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Pallister’s employment law changes attack workers and reward greedy employers

A photo of Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister.
October 15, 2020 - 12:00 AM

October 15, 2020

WINNIPEG—Premier Brian Pallister is using Bill 16 to stack the deck further in favour of his wealthy donors and attack the rights of working people says Unifor.

“Pallister’s anti-union legislation is a gift to greedy employers,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Pallister is a premier for the rich and powerful in Manitoba and workers will not stand for it.”

The bill to amend the Labour Relations Act has been engineered to lengthen strikes and lockouts by removing the alternative dispute resolution mechanism that has helped labour disputes longer than 60 days be resolved by arbitrators. This mechanism has helped Manitoba avoid the lengthy lockouts seen in other jurisdictions, such as the seven-month lockout at the Co-op Refinery in neighbouring Saskatchewan this year.

“This is Pallister’s second wave attack on workplace rights,” said Gavin McGarrigle. “It’s Pallister at his most petty. Manitoba faces real challenges in the COVID-19 era, but instead the premier would rather use legislation to bully his imagined enemies. Weakening basic rights at work will not fix Manitoba’s complex problems—it will exacerbate them.”

The bill also piles additional reporting responsibilities onto unions and makes it easier to decertify any union workplace. The changes go well-beyond what was recommended by the Labour-Management Review Committee, a joint body that the premier has ignored since coming to power in 2016.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

For media inquiries or to arrange interviews via Facetime, Zoom, or Skype please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at or 778-903-6549 (cell).