Unifor condemns Magellan Aerospace’s withdrawal from provincial sick leave program

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Exterior of Magellan Aerospace plant in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

July 13, 2021

WINNIPEG – Magellan Aerospace has announced the company will withdraw from the Province of Manitoba’s voluntary Pandemic Sick Leave program in a retaliatory move that undermines the province’s COVID-19 strategy according to Unifor.

“I am disgusted at this decision and appalled that Magellan Aerospace would choose to punish workers when their lives are disrupted by the pandemic,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor’s National President. “This move shows how weak Manitoba’s voluntary paid sick leave program is and how necessary provincially-mandated paid sick days are.”

Magellan Aerospace management made the announcement to withdraw from program after the union asserted a member’s eligibility for the pandemic sick leave. The employee and her family were previously instructed by Manitoba Public Health to self-isolate due to a potential exposure to COVID-19. Despite confirmation from Manitoba Public Health of the member’s eligibility, and in response to Unifor filing a grievance on behalf of the affected member, management threatened to and ultimately announced a withdrawal from the program.

The Government of Manitoba introduced the voluntary Pandemic Sick Leave program as part of the province’s COVID-19 strategy in May. The program provides employers with up to $600 per employee for up to five full days of sick leave related to COVID-19 testing, self-isolation, and other measures. The union believes this withdrawal from the program is harmful to the province’s COVID-19 strategy that includes helping Manitobans get vaccinated or tested and self-isolate when instructed to do so without suffering a financial penalty.

“This is a completely unnecessary, punitive and retaliatory response to our members doing their best to follow public health guidelines,” said Harry Peterson, Plant Chairperson for Unifor Local 3005. “It is unfathomable to me that an employer would do something so reckless while we’re at such a critical point in the fight against COVID-19.”

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 more information, please contact Unifor National Communications Representative David Molenhuis: @email or (416) 575-7453.