03/02/2016 19:58 EST | Updated 03/03/2017 00:12 EST

Winnipeg midwives say money, staffing levels at heart of contract dispute

WINNIPEG — Some women in Manitoba say they are worried a labour dispute involving Winnipeg's midwives could result in a strike.

Thirty midwives working within the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority voted 91 per cent in favour of a strike mandate in January.

On Wednesday, both sides met in a conciliation meeting but there were fears that if a deal was not reached, a strike could be imminent.

Midwives within CUPE 2348 have been working without a contract for almost two years.

Their collective agreement expired in March 2014.

Alicia Thwaites, who used a midwife in the delivery of her two children, says a strike would be devastating for everyone involved.

“They don’t want to go on strike, they don’t want to put their clients out,” said supporter Laurissa Smerchanski-Sims.

“They are fighting for wage equality and equity within their profession, they are fighting to get more midwives and funding for the education program.”

The union has said hundreds of more midwives are needed to meet current demand.

“We need to be able to make sure that the midwives that are trained in Manitoba actually get their training,” Smerchanski-Sims said.

“And that they don’t leave Manitoba and those that have left Manitoba have an opportunity to come back.”



The Canadian Press