This past summer, I had an opportunity to be a camp counsellor at the annual Canadian Labour Congress Kids Kamp on the shores of Clear Lake. Every year, workers from throughout Manitoba send their children to the week-long camp to learn about the labour movement and its place in Canadian society. The camp has the unique feature of allowing the campers (workers) a negotiated contract with the counsellors (management) outlining bed times, snacks, recreation times, learning times, and a grievance procedure.
Aside from orienteering, nature hikes, and canoeing, the campers are given lessons on labour history, equity and human rights, workplace safety and health, and a topic du jour. This year, given many of them will soon be entering the workforce, minimum wage was selected for discussion and study.
To help the students better understand what it’s like to live on minimum wage, a few luxuries had to be introduced to the camp. The campers were treated to some technology and shown an episode of Morgan Spurlock’s television show, 30 Days. The premise of Spurlock’s series was to immerse a person in a world (within the U.S.) completely different from their own. For example, a Christian stays with a Muslim family or a straight man lives in a gay community, all for 30 days. Spurlock’s flagship episode put himself and his fiancée, Alexandra, in the world of minimum wage earners for 30 days.
30 days on minimum wage. Could you live on the US minimum wage of $5.15/hr? Spurlock and his fiancée discovered how difficult it was and fast. Scrimping by on a steady diet of beans and rice, the two held down jobs in the service sector and the temporary manual labour field. They lived in a run-down area of Columbus where ants were their roommates and crack dealers their neighbours. As owning a car was out of the question, public transportation and walking were the only modes of transport, while cabs ate heavily into the monthly budget. Compounding the problem was the reality of no medical insurance. The bills incurred would take months to pay off. All in all, the experience was no cake walk. The two concluded that it was untenable for anyone to live on minimum wage at its current level. His fiancée pleaded with viewers at the end that “America could do better” for its workers.
The episode was an eye-opener for the campers. Being between 10-15 years of age, many of them realized that they will soon be joining the workforce, and as younger workers, they too would be filling minimum wage jobs. Granted, there are stark differences between working and living conditions in the U.S. and Canada. Unlike the U.S., Canada has universal health care, which would have alleviated the medical bills incurred by the two minimum wage guinea pigs. But there are other medical expenses that would still hit Canadian minimum wage earners pockets hard such as prescription drugs, eye care and dental care. Nevertheless, these students got it. They realized that even on Manitoba`s minimum
wage of $9.50/hr (rising to $10/hr Oct. 1), workers were still falling behind and living well below the poverty line.
If 10 to 15 years old get it, why don’t 40 to 50 year old politicians get it? Why is it some politicians who make $50/hr can dictate whether someone deserves $10/hr. Manitoba workers deserve not only a decent minimum wage, but also a living wage. Let’s do better for Manitoba workers and see that bar raised to 60% of the average wage. That would bring us to $11.80/hr. Let’s keep moving forward on minimum wage, because we can indeed do better.
– Dave Sauer, President, Winnipeg Labour Council
The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act requires under section 3:
The purpose of this Part is to establish, in an era in which technology increasingly facilitates the circulation and exchange of information, rules to govern the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information in a manner that recognizes the right of privacy of individuals with respect to their personal information and the need of organizations to collect, use or disclose personal information for purposes that a reasonable person would consider appropriate in the circumstances.
The Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union (MGEU) is committed to protecting the privacy of individuals in the collection, use and distribution of personal information. This Policy outlines how and why we collect personal information and the way in which it is used.
What is Personal Information
“Personal Information” is information about an identifiable individual but does not include the name, title or business address or telephone number of an employee of an organization. Therefore, information about an employee’s home address and telephone number and so forth is considered “personal information.”
MGEU is responsible for protecting your personal information in its custody, including personal information that has been transferred to, or received from a third party in the course of commercial activities for processing or other purposes for which you have consented.;
II. PURPOSE OF COLLECTION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION
MGEU collects, uses and discloses personal information to promote the value of public services to Manitobans, and to facilitate your participation in that promotion, should you choose.
The MGEU collects, uses and discloses your personal information to:
collect and publish your experiences and perspectives on public services;
allow you to share your support for public services with your followers on social networks and with your MLA; and comply with the law.
Personal information may be collected, used or disclosed for any of these “Identified Purposes” set out above. If your personal information is not needed for one of the Identified Purposes, we will not disclose it without obtaining additional consent from you.
The information gathered from you may be received from:
information you provide through forms on this website;
your interaction with our social media presences on other websites;
your use of this website’s social sharing and other communication tools.
No Consent Required
MGEU requires your knowledge and consent before we may collect, use or disclose your personal information, except in special circumstances. No consent is required for MGEU to:
If the personal information is publicly available (for example, in a phone book).
If knowledge and consent will compromise the availability and accuracy of the personal information and it is necessary to investigate a breach of an agreement or contravention of a law (for example, in a fraud investigation, an investigation by the police, or in situations otherwise permitted by the law).
In the same circumstances as in collection, and;
In an emergency situation respecting that person
To your lawyer;
To comply with a law, subpoena, warrant or rules of court;
To the authorities;
In an emergency involving that person;
100 years after its gathered, 20 years after death;
Publicly available personal information.
There may be certain cases where your consent will be explicit, for example by submitting your story through our website’s form, and checking the box giving us permission to publish your story.
If any of the personal information that we collect is sensitive, such as health information, we will obtain additional written or oral consent from you before collecting, using or disclosing the information.
IV. LIMITATIONS ON USE, DISCLOSURE AND RETENTION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION
MGEU does not disclose sensitive information for a new purpose beyond that to which you have consented. You may withdraw your consent at any time upon reasonable notice, subject to legal or contractual restrictions.
Should you wish to withdraw your consent, please contact our Privacy Officer.
Depending upon the nature of your personal information, MGEU may retain it for an indefinite period of time. Once MGEU determines that the information is no longer required, it will be destroyed or personal identifiers will be removed.
V. SECURITY OF INFORMATION
MGEU ensures that all files are stored in cabinets or offices that are not accessible to members or local officers who are at the office. In addition, pass cards are required to gain access to the internal office past the reception area.
Access to Electronic Personal Information
In order to protect your electronic personal information, a login and password is required to access this information. Electronic personal information is protected through the use of firewalls to prevent third party access.
Destruction of Personal Information
MGEU shall take care when storing or destroying your personal information in order to prevent unauthorized access, or disclosure.
VI. ACCESS TO INFORMATION
A member may access their personal information by contacting the Privacy Officer in writing. The Privacy Officer will provide access to the worker’s personal information within 30 days. There may be a nominal cost for access, plus a reasonable photocopying or postal charge imposed.
Access will not be provided or may be restricted if access would reveal information that:
Discloses a third party, unless it can be severed or it is an emergency
Is the subject of litigation;
Violates Solicitor – Client Privilege;
May harm another person’s life or security; or
Could harm the union’s competitive position.
If information is inaccurate or incomplete, you have the right to have MGEU amend the information. If MGEU refuses to amend the information as requested, you may attach a notation to their file.
VII. THIRD PARTY ACCESS
MGEU does not sell personal information to third parties.
VIII. COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE
If you have a complaint related to this Policy or any of our procedures, please contact our Privacy Officer. If your complaint is justified, we will take the steps necessary to resolve the issue, including amending our Policy and practices, if necessary.
If we are unable to resolve your concern, you may contact the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, or if applicable, the provincial Privacy Commissioner.
You may contact the Privacy Commission at:
Address:112 Kent Street