Member Updates

SEIU-West Member Updates

Apply Today: SFL Workers of Colour Committee

SEIU-West is pleased to offer up the opportunity to be nominated to the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL) Workers of Colour Committee.

If you are interested in being a part of this committee, please fill out the online SEIU-West Expression of Interest Form on or before March 28, 2018.

The SFL Workers of Colour Committee provides representation and support to union members of colour to facilitate their participation in the labour movement.

The committee consists of union members from different sectors and areas of the province. The committee is relfective of every workplace that is represented by a union affiliated to the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL).

Committee Mandate: 

  • To recognize the ever-changing demographics of Saskatchewan: The SFL Workers of Colour works toward securing the SFL’s future in the labour movement by reflecting this demographcial change within our workforce.

Committee Goals:

  • To use our wealth of knowledge to support differences and respect different cultures
  • To encourage greater participation of Workers of Colour at the local level and all other decision making levels.
  • To work with other Equity seeking groups to broaden and develop our goals, we build coalitions in the community, and make the SFL and Labour the movement of choice.

The SFL Workers of Colour Committee is appointed following SFL conventions in even-numbered years.

To be appointed you must be nominated by your union.

Related Content:

SFL Workers of Colour Committee Brochure

SEIU-West Expression of Interest – SFL Workers of Colour Committee

Did you like this? Share it:
Comments Off on Apply Today: SFL Workers of Colour Committee

Member Call Out: SEIU-West Futures Committee

SEIU-West takes great pride in our reputation as strong leaders within the labour movement. Our concerted effort to lead the way is characterized by strategic planning informed by solid research as we map our path of progress.

To that end, we are looking for the dedicated input of two front line rank and file SEIU-West members to take part in our new SEIU-West Futures Committee.

These members will be part of a 10 person SEIU-West team that will work as an advisory to our local executive and with our sister Canadian Local Futures Committees to plot our direction for the next several years.

This committee will look at the megatrends (such as demographics, technology, global economy and climate change) we face as a labour movement so that we can identify, and analyze potential threats and opportunities. Our goal is to create a plan so that we can be proactive rather than reactive.

Though we still have to finalize our terms of reference, we anticipate that the members chosen would have to commit to approximately four meetings per year, reading and reflecting on information provided to committee members, and actively participating in the work of the committee.

A great deal of research and effort have already gone in to the development of this work on a national and international level and we are excited about our potential work and its value to our future success within our Local Union.
If you are interested in applying for one of the two front line member positions, please submit your Expression of Interest by February 19, 2018.

Email your Futures Committee related questions.

Thanks for your consideration and engagement!

Related Documents:

Backgrounder: SEIU Futures Committee

Did you like this? Share it:
Comments Off on Member Call Out: SEIU-West Futures Committee

President’s Message: JJE, LOU, and Teleconferences

Welcome back from your holiday break and Happy New Year to you and your families. There’s much to look forward to and also reflect on; I’m not a big resolution maker, however, I do look at how I can improve in work and personal areas. But I also reflect on the past year and what we have been able to do together; what had a positive impact and what didn’t hit the mark.

One of the things that I believe had a positive impact were a series of teleconferences we held with members affected by the changes to the Joint Job Evaluation Education (JJE) factor rating changes. We met with members from the Diagnostic Imaging family of classifications and Recreation Coordinators. In both instances, the concern in part was that the JJE reviewed the hours required for education due to a reduction in the number of classroom hours by the education institutions. This reduction, in turn, reduced the pay band for a number of classifications – not all of them, but some of them. Our Union rep, Tracy Goodheart, had met previously with groups in the admin and finance family of classifications with similar concerns.

I think we can all agree that every single person who works in health care brings incredible value and team work to our system. So when we see the reduction in pay of any of our members due to changes to JJE ratings, we take a good hard look at what was done, why it was done and how can we best manage the issues. I don’t believe anyone foresaw the educational institutions dramatically reducing classroom hours or making the changes they did to some entrance prerequisites, without consulting the people who would be affected. Such dramatic change to the education system should not change the value of the work performed and quite simply, we see this as a de-valuing of the jobs – as the required skills and knowledge remain the same. Adding to this is the fact that new processes, equipment and knowledge are introduced regularly in a world-class health system like ours and now members of certain classifications are required to fulfill on-going education requirements. The JJE plan needs to take the additional requirements into account to ensure that the integrity of the job evaluation plan is maintained.

In our SAHO/SEIU-West Bargaining update no. 9, we shared with our members that we had focused on this problem for a series of bargaining dates. In the end, we were able to negotiate a Letter of Understanding (LOU) that set in place a thorough review of the JJE plan. As part of that LOU, there is a moratorium on implementing the reduction in pay band changes because of education factor changes and at the same time, we reached agreement that where pay bands went up, the changes would be implemented. Further to that, we have included a process where, after the JJE plan review and the application of the new job factors by the maintenance committee, where pay bands do not return to their former levels, implementation would be stopped for three months so that we can negotiate the need for a market adjustment or supplement to address recruitment and retention issues.

Ultimately, we are competing for skilled health care professionals from across western Canada, but also across the country. We’ve asked for any supporting information that shows that our members, or potential members, are looking to leave Saskatchewan which will impact recruitment and retention strategies. We need to always be diligent that the JJE processes do not exacerbate already existing interprovincial pay inequities. If you have any of this information, please share it with me at and I will ensure that our JJE review committee members get a copy.

The job evaluation plan is a solid one, but it hasn’t had an in-depth review for over 15 years. This LOU for a JJE plan review will allow us to dig into where we need to make improvements and address any deficiencies in the plan.
In some of the conference calls, there were questions about SUN and HSAS not being a part of the JJE plan – that is correct. Our JJE plan is only for the health care provider unions of SEIU-West, CUPE, and SGEU.

In our conference calls, there was a lot of enthusiasm for assisting in this job evaluation plan review…and I can tell you that we appreciate the interest and offers. We are limited in the number of people we can have on the review committee and this review is not just for those affected classifications, but for the whole plan. So we have named Bob Laurie, Director of Contract Bargaining and Enforcement and Russ Doell, Deputy Director of Contract Bargaining and Enforcement, to this committee. And we have taken the names of those volunteers who’ve indicated that they would act as a resource for specific classifications. These people would be a resource to provide information only for a specific meeting or period of time if called upon by the committee.

There are no guarantees that we will see increases to pay bands – I don’t want to mislead any of you; pay bands may go up; they may stay where they are; or they may be reduced. But we want to ensure a fair review process that members can understand and engage in.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge the members of those classifications who requested and joined our conference calls. Having a meeting like this before a busy time like a holiday break is never ideal, but there was a lot of interest and questions and information provided to everyone on the call. Further to that, a number of our members wrote to their elected MLA’s who sit in the Legislature, outlining the recruitment and retention issues this raises and also identifying how this would impact patient-centered care – this was brilliant as it assisted all parties in moving to an agreement on this LOU so quickly. So I salute each one of you who took the time to ask questions and engage on this issue.

We haven’t shared the actual LOU as it is jointly signed by our coalition partners, CUPE and SGEU, along with SAHO. We would need to seek their agreement to sharing and will do so in the coming days.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our Member Resource Center (MRC) at 1-888-999-7348 ext. 2298.

Did you like this? Share it:
Comments Off on President’s Message: JJE, LOU, and Teleconferences

Front Line Newsletter – December 2017


Inside the Winter Issue 2017 – Front Line Newsletter

CLICK: Inside the Winter Issue 2017 – Front Line Newsletter

A sample of articles:

Cape’s Corner

Activist Camp

A Proud Tradition

Provincial Leadership races in 2018 – Research Now, Vote Later

Sask. Health Care Innovation Summit


Did you like this? Share it:
Comments Off on Front Line Newsletter – December 2017

MEDIA RELEASE: Unions launch People Who Care website – just in time for the holiday season

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – December 12, 2017

SGEU, SEIU-West and CUPE are launching a new website today, profiling Community Service workers and the important care they provide to Saskatchewan people.

Modeled after the popular Humans of New York website, the People Who Care site features photographs of, and first-person narratives by, workers who provide vital services to some of the most vulnerable people in the province.

“I love helping people,” says Marc, a Special Care Aide featured on the site. “I loved it so much that I quit the oil rig to come back, and I put myself through school to be able to do this.”

Through first-person storytelling and photography, the site highlights the important care that workers in Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) provide. And with the holidays just around the corner, it’s an especially appropriate time to highlight the care that CBO workers provide to people who may not have anyone else to turn to this time of year.

Darla, a cook in a 40-bed facility for people with intellectual disabilities, says she always cooks a turkey dinner for the residents at Christmas. “We have a cafeteria-style kitchen, and while I’m working, the residents come by and talk to us, and we get to know each other,” she says.

The People Who Care site also provides the public with an opportunity to learn more about CBO workers – including why they do this challenging yet rewarding work, and how they make a difference in people’s lives. Many of the workers featured on the site express their love for helping people.

“I love that I get to give kids tools to make their lives a little better,” says Laura, a Children’s Program Coordinator. “I believe that – even though kids have experienced violence, that hasn’t written the rest of their story.”
SGEU President Bob Bymoen says he’s proud of the work that SGEU members in Community Services, and all CBO workers, do to ensure that no one is left behind.

“Many people are not aware of the critical hands-on services that CBO workers provide to people in need,” says Bymoen. “We want to showcase the many ways that CBO workers help people in our communities, and make our province a better place to live.”

SEIU-West President, Barbara Cape agrees.

“CBO workers are on the frontlines, caring for people with mental health and addictions issues, people living with disabilities, those in crisis, at-risk youth and so many others,” she says. “Some of the most vulnerable people in Saskatchewan rely on CBO workers for support – and now the public can visit the People Who Care site to learn more about them and the important services they provide.”

“These workers for the most part don’t do this work for the pay,” says CUPE President Tom Graham. “CBO workers do this work because they feel passionate about caring for their clients. They deserve recognition, and this website will do an amazing job of bringing attention to the workers who will be spending their holidays with their secondary families, their clients.”

SGEU, CUPE and SEIU-West represent CBO workers in nearly 80 agencies across the province, and have been working together for more than a decade to support and promote workers in this sector.

Visit the People Who Care site at:

– 30 –

For more information, contact:

Evie Ruddy
Communications Officer, SGEU 306-775-7877

Christine Miller
Communications Coordinator, SEIU-West
306-652-1011 x8733

Eagleclaw Thom
Temp. Communications Rep., CUPE

Click here for a printable PDF version of MEDIA RELEASE: Unions Launch People Who Care website.

Did you like this? Share it:
Comments Off on MEDIA RELEASE: Unions launch People Who Care website – just in time for the holiday season

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE: Virtual Town Hall Follow Up Part Six

Well, this is our last update on the questions/answers we received from our virtual town hall meetings in September. I have to say that there were a lot of really thought-provoking questions that have guided some of the deliberations of the bargaining committee(these are continued from the Oct. 13Oct. 17Oct. 24Oct. 30, and Nov. 21 posts).

23. If there’s a wage reduction of 3.5% what would they do with the money? – Shelagh, Saskatoon.

The government of Saskatchewan is looking to reduce their budget deficit and are looking in every place they can think of to make reductions. The problem with that strategy, is that they do not take into account the incredible recruitment and retention issues that we have in health care (or education or anywhere else in the public service). The health care system is very labour intensive, and so we need the skilled, qualified, professionals in house to do this work. The money would be used to reduce the provincial deficit and not remedy health care issues like workload or short staffing; this is the short answer to your question.

24. Can Family Illness leave get changed to 3 personal days that can be used for any purpose? –Nelson, Swift Current.

That hasn’t been an identified priority in our discussions with members, the bargaining surveys or the bargaining conference that SEIU-West conducted. While there are members who would like that, it would not be a top priority identified by the bargaining committee to take ‘illness’ out of the requirement for Family Illness Leave. The Union has had success in defending our current interpretation and application of the benefit to the benefit of our members.

25. Why doesn’t the health district hire back people who have retired? – Doreen, Saskatoon.

Well, in some cases they do – depending on the need and the recruitment issues the employer(s) are experiencing. But this is also a cost-saving measure on the part of the employer: if they wait the 120 days until after retirement, then the individual member will no longer be able to maintain seniority, sick leave credits, vacation rate, and certain benefits, for example extended health benefits, and has to start earning them all over again like a new employee.

26. The MLA’s should walk a 12 hour shift in the shoes of front line workers, maybe then negotiations will go more smoothly. – Connie, retired member.

That’s a brilliant idea! And we’ve been putting out invitations to Walk a Day in Our Shoes to the Minister of Health, assorted MLA’s, and even the CEO of Saskatoon Health Region was invited to do this. Incredibly, they don’t appear to have the time! We video these so that we can share them broadly with the public so that they get a bird’s eye view of the work our members do, as well as the person doing the shadowing.

We’ve done this once before in the Community Based Organization (CBO) sector and filmed it and put it on our website. But the health regions aren’t wild about us filming the experience in their facilities…even though SEIU-West would pay for it!

We’ve tried to do this in long term care, the labs, and acute care…but no luck.

We’ve offered to have me shadow a Medical Laboratory Technologist, but they aren’t taking us up on the offer. I was able to go on a tour – not a job shadow – for our tradesmen in Saskatoon and that was an incredible eye opener.
If decision-makers only knew the miles that health care workers put on in a day; if they only knew about the challenges in every interaction and pressures of short staffing…then maybe there would be an investment in the health care system’s staff who keep it running every day.

But we won’t stop, just because we’ve been turned down a few times…this is important and needs to be showcased for the public!

27. When the new health region takes place…will I have the ability to bid on jobs province wide? – Shanelle, Biggar.

That is the plan. What the health care provider unions are trying to finalize is how your seniority will be treated in non-SEIU-West jurisdictions.

We want to ensure that you keep your SEIU-West hours based seniority; and if you bid outside of our jurisdiction, there is a formula that we have used to change your hours based seniority into a date of hire seniority. We haven’t locked this down yet in our bargaining process or with the Transition Team for the new Health region; it’s a work in progress.

28. What does SAHO or the government say about more privatization of services? – Meredith, Saskatoon.

Lately they haven’t been saying too much.

In the past, the former Minister of Health, Dustin Duncan, indicated that the government believed health care was only about hands-on services. But then he never expanded on that idea and now he is no longer the Minister of Health.

There are no business cases moving forward right now to look at contracted out options because all focus is on getting the new Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) up and running on December 4.

There is a strong case to be made against further privatization of services: private services cost the health system, and government more money; there has been incredible concerns about the quality and consistency of the private service; private services do not reduce waitlists; and there is a question about whether or not private services fall within The Canada Public Health Act.

But I don’t think this strategy has hit the dust bin…it will rear its head again.

29. Is there some way they can tell us what the cost of labour is without including managerial staff? – Jacquelin, Saskatoon.

I believe those numbers are reflected in the annual reports, but only in really broad terms. If you are looking for a breakdown, SHR’s website has a budget breakdown that shows a graph with some really broad information about where their funding comes from; how it is spent; and the groups of staff that are attracting salary. There are likely the same annual reports available for each health region on their websites. But there are no specific breakdowns available publicly for what you are looking for as far as we know.

30. What are we doing about LPN’s being laid off and replaced with RN’s? – Jenna, Saskatoon.

Where LPN’s have been laid off and replaced with RN’s, we are following the layoff language and options under the collective agreement and making sure that our members have access to all their rights. (We also have situations where RNs have been laid off and replaced with LPNs.)

The challenge that we are faced with is that SALPN and SRNA have differing opinions on what skills and abilities that each classification are able to perform. They are the regulatory bodies for LPNs and RNs and have not necessarily come to agreement – nor have they been regularly consulted on what skills and advanced competencies LPNs are able to perform.

31. I would like a detailed breakdown of Employer’s currently outstanding bargaining proposals. –John, Saskatoon.

Please take a look at bargaining update no. 3 where we list the Employer’s bargaining proposals. These were presented on our first day of bargaining in May and there has been movement since then.
We don’t share our proposals publicly because such actions would inhibit negotiations, could be considered an Unfair Labour Practice (ULP) and bargaining in the public realm. All those things delay meaningful bargaining and make the process last a very long time.

32. Is the union proposing language to prohibit breaking full-time (FT) positions into part-time (PT) positions? How does this save money? – Holly, Saskatoon.

We already have language that talks about this: Letter of Intent #1 at page 202 of the current Collective Agreement talks about the employment of as many FT and PT positions as possible.

But where that letter of intent isn’t enough, we want our members to keep the Union informed by reaching out to the Member Resource Center and our Shop Stewards with their information. In addition to this, we have proposed language that would strengthen the workload reporting language to our OHS committees.

33. There are casuals who won’t pick up more shifts in a month. Would that help the understaffing situation? – Melissa, Watson.

There are any number of reasons that a casual won’t pick up more shifts: they might already have another job; they are pre-booked at another job; they might have a limit on the number of hours they can work; the workload might be so heavy they are afraid of getting hurt. The Collective Agreement has language to address what to do where a casual employee is consistently unavailable for call-in work.

We believe properly staffing the facilities in the first place to reduce the dependence on casual employees would improve the situation.

I remember when overtime (OT) in my facility was a rarity; I could count on one hand how many times OT was used in a year! But now, OT is relied on as a way to avoid recruiting new staff

Understaffing has become chronic in part because our health regions aren’t funded properly. We need legislation and leadership on safe staffing levels in order to not only get us back to providing the quality of care we know we can, but also to address the illness and injury levels in our health care system. Short staffing is a contributing factor to those issues.

34. Is there any back-pay expected to come to us as of March 31st? – Barb, Rosthern.

That really depends on what sort of monetary settlement that our members agree to. If there are 0%…then there would be no back-pay. If there is any sort of an increase, then we would absolutely bargain for retroactivity.

35. There were rumours that there was going to be a retirement buy-out. Is this true and if it is, how much would it be? – Linda, Shaunavon.

I haven’t heard those rumors nor have any of the employers approached SEIU-West about this. At this point, I would say that it isn’t true.

36. Is there any talk in negotiations to address notice of cancellation for overtime? – Tammy, Biggar.

This has become a constant issue in health care: members are called into work, the member identifies that its overtime, they agree to work and then the overtime is cancelled. We are currently dealing with a number of grievances on this issue and we are looking to advance a test case to arbitration.

37. Scheduling errors: call out procedures are too complicated; there are too many rules – can this be simplified? – Suzanne, Harris.

I once had the opportunity to spend a couple hours watching a scheduler go about the process of trying to fill shifts…it’s mind-boggling the number of hoops that managers set out for the process of calling in staff, let alone if it’s an overtime shift! My hat is off to all the schedulers out there.

In some health regions, there is an electronic call out process that goes to everyone’s mobile device. In other health regions, there is the traditional call process. But in all health regions, the rules set out have to follow the collective agreement. The opportunity is for first part-time then casual to accept offers of work.

We do recognize that call-in is challenging and we have committed to have a discussion with the employers and SAHO about how we can address those concerns and still give our members the right and opportunity to expand their hours.

38. Why is there a hiring freeze but they continue to hire management? –Pattie, Watrous.

I like this question, but I simply cannot tell you what is going on in the employers’ minds when they do this. I really wish I could!

The Employer says the hiring freeze is so that they can save some money on their budgets. We have been told that where there is a hard to recruit position, they will address the hiring of a staff member on a case-by-case basis. Employers are not obligated to consult with the Union when they decide to hire managers, but if you want to share the details with us, we can ask some questions and try to get you an answer.

Well, folks, that brings us to the end of our virtual town hall Q & A updates.

Your SEIU-West bargaining committee is going back to the table from November 23- 27.

As I have said before (and will say again!) your support, engagement and ideas help keep the bargaining committee going. We continue to ask you to contact your MLAs; to tell them how a 3.5 % reduction would affect you and your family how it would impact your ability to live and work in Saskatchewan. Tell your MLAs that this is a recruitment and retention issue and they need to stand up and support health care workers. And, when you send that message, copy the Minister of Health, Jim Reiter…I’m pretty sure he needs to hear from all of you!

This outreach is working, we are seeing movement at our bargaining table and we need to get everyone involved in talking with your MLA’s…this isn’t just about bargaining, this is about keeping Saskatchewan’s health system, along with the dedicated health care providers, alive and thriving!

Should you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact the Member Resource Center (MRC) at 1-888-999-7348 Ext 2298.

In Solidarity, on behalf of the SEIU-West bargaining committee,

Barbara Cape
President, SEIU-West

President’s messages:
Oct 13: Virtual Town Hall Follow Up Part One
Oct 17: Virtual Town Hall Follow Up Part Two
Oct. 24: Virtual Town Hall Follow Up Part Three
Oct. 30: Virtual Town Hall Follow Up Part Four
Nov. 21: Virtual Town Hall Follow Up Part Five

Health Care Provider Week:

Op-Ed: Health Care Provider Week
Celebrating Health Care Provider Week

SAHO Bargaining Page
Extendicare Bargaining
Transformational Change Page

Did you like this? Share it:
Comments Off on PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE: Virtual Town Hall Follow Up Part Six

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE: Virtual Town Hall Follow Up Part Five

There’s been a bit of a gap in the updates on the questions following up from our virtual town hall meetings held in late September. Since then, there have bargaining sessions with SAHO held and a laser like focus on achieving a fair and equitable collective agreement. Not to mention the increased activity around the ‘go live’ date for the new provincial health authority set for December 4, 2017.

So we return to the questions that were presented during our town hall meetings (these are continued from the Oct. 13Oct. 17Oct. 24 and Oct. 30 posts) We want to be certain that we are closing the loop on our communications and ensuring that when you ask a question of your union – you get an answer.

16. Where are they sitting at with contracting out work. The employers is sending out Lab work to DynaCare? – Carla, Saskatoon.

This is a great example of our members getting the information to us because unfortunately, the employer doesn’t always check with the union or the collective agreement before they embark on a path like this! (I know, what are they thinking??!!) Like every area in healthcare, we are short-staffed in labs. The DynaCare solution was a stop-gap until the Employer could get some staff recruited. There are 4 new people lined up to start within the next 2 months. Dynacare service is going to end in January. When members were asked their opinion on the best way to address this, they reluctantly agreed to this temporary measure as opposed to being mandated for overtime.

Further to this, when the Government of Saskatchewan decided to shut down STC, there was no consultation or engagement with the health regions who relied on STC to provide transport for lab specimens for testing and diagnosis. This has created another layer of a privatized service. A private for profit company called LifeLabs charge the health regions for transporting lab specimens for testing. The short answer to this problem is that in order to address costs and create an efficient responsive lab service, we need to make sure we have the correct equipment, staff and supports in place. Lab services are incredibly important: they provide testing for cancer, disease, immunology and the list goes on. If our lab services are compromised, it impacts timely care provided to everyone.

17. Why doesn’t the bargaining committee challenge the employer on how many management there are as there are so many less front line workers? Where did the employer find the money for more management jobs? – Michelle, Moose Jaw.

The bargaining committee hasn’t challenged this because there is no way to guarantee less management will translate into more front line staff. The bargaining committee is focused on our primary goal – getting our members a good collective agreement. With that said, it doesn’t mean that SEIU-West hasn’t raised this concern numerous times and in a number of different forums. We have talked about this issue with the Ministry of Health, the health regions, and 3sHealth. Using the exact same perspective that our members see every day; there appears to be multiple layers of management but getting our positions or vacant shifts filled doesn’t seem to be a priority.

I was once told by a senior health region executive that ‘actually’ the Saskatchewan Health regions run with less management that other health regions…I’m not buying that. Right now, we are seeing the departure of some OOS managers because of the impending changes with the provincial health authority. I don’t want to see front line health care workers leave because of the knowledge, skill and professionalism that you bring to the job every day.

18. Member’s is off sick with Huntington’s on DIP and will never work again but is an SEIU-West member. God bless you – Phyllis.

Well, I don’t know what to say except thanks and bless you too! I wish you as much positive energy and peace as you manage your illness…it can’t be easy.

19. Why is there a discrepancy on the mileage payout between the CCAs and the LPNs or RNs? – Francis, Moose Jaw.

There shouldn’t be a difference in the mileage rate for LPNs and CCAs. They are captured under the same collective agreement language in our SEIU-West contract.

RNs negotiated a different rate than we did. We’ve tried to raise this rate for our home care members and all other members who are required to travel for their work. Over the years we’ve seen modest increases, but they have simply not matched what SUN negotiated for their members. We have repeatedly advised the employers and SAHO (in negotiations) that the mileage rates are intended to offset personal cost for the use of one’s vehicle – and these costs are the same for all health sector employees. Our advice has fallen on deaf ears.

20. With SAHO continuing to insist on cuts to pay, is this considered actively bargaining or an unfair labour practice? – Kevin, Saskatoon.

Let me as blunt as possible – it’s not just SAHO that is insisting on these cuts, it is the Government of Saskatchewan who have stuck their nose into bargaining in a way they have not done in my past experience. I’ve said this before and will say it again: that this is government’s mandate – but that it is not the mandate that the bargaining committee was given from our membership.

What SAHO is doing could be considered “hard bargaining” which is not an unfair labour practice (ULP). While our recent Supreme Court decision won unions the right to collective bargaining, the court has clarified unions don’t have a right to any certainty in the outcome of bargaining.

SAHO has moved in that they reduced their initial proposal from a menu of cuts amounting to 4.09% down to a menu of cuts amounting to 3.6% (ironic slow clap here)…but we are seeing movement. If we file an ULP complaint with the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board, progress is halted and it isn’t clear that we’ll see a positive result. It could also trigger the government to introduce legislation to set out what the outcome of collective bargaining will be, much like what the government in both Manitoba and Nova Scotia have done.

While we can always mount a legal challenge to government legislation to force changes, the best agreements are the ones that we negotiate ourselves.

21. With the new health authority what will be the effect on seniority due to other unions and merging? – Deanna, Kyle.

At this point, all three unions, SEIU-West, CUPE and SGEU, are taking the position that our seniority processes remain the same. So that would mean SEIU-West members still earn seniority based on hours worked, as opposed to date of hire.

The transition team for the new health authority wants to see a standard way of addressing seniority for all health providers. So there are discussions still to be had in this regard.

As well, the three unions have proposed a formal bargaining association that would manage bargaining and provincial issues. When we look at provincial issues, we consider postings/bidding; transfers; and grievances that would have a provincial impact to be included in that category. We believe that this health care provider association is a way to avoid having representation votes between the three unions; that it will assist in providing labour relations stability for the move to one health authority and also ease some of the anxiety for our members going through this health region restructuring.

22. With the proposed cutbacks, some job titles and positions are fairly similar to market level. Others such as the trades are a huge gap. How can that gap be addressed? – Kelly, Saskatoon.

This is an area of particular interest to me as I’ve spent a fair amount of time getting to know the trades and their issues, what the market pressures are, and spent time touring their work sites and getting to know more about the actual work being done.

In our last round of bargaining, we got creative in addressing the trades specific market issues and developed a LOU on retention bonuses that would address the market pressures being experienced in certain locations and classifications.

Unfortunately, the retention bonuses were withdrawn by the employer as they felt that the market pressures were no longer present. We are losing skilled professionals from the health system in a way that doesn’t recognize their knowledge and value and that is a damn shame!

We’ve reached out to members in the affected classifications to ask for market information so that we can reintroduce the retention bonus and get back to par. Other avenues for this to be addressed is via the provincial market supplement program or through negotiated market adjustments But we need the data to be successful in this argument; we need your knowledge and expertise so that we can provide the evidence that will guide better decision making.

Your SEIU-West bargaining committee is going back to the table with SAHO and the employers November 23rd to 27th. We are bargaining through the weekend because we believe that there is an opportunity to increase the pressure on the elected politicians and elevate the debate on what this new Saskatchewan Health Authority will look like as a ‘future state’.

We are continuing to ask members, their families, and friends to call your MLA, tell them what a cut of 3.5% would do to your ability to live and work and raise a family in Saskatchewan. Tell them about the value you bring to the workplace every single day and be proud of this work!

I spoke to one tradesman who told me about a doorstep conversation he had with his MLA – when he talked about the recruitment and retention challenges he experienced, his MLA told him to go get another job! What??!! That is not the answer…maybe that MLA should get another job when he’s voted out of office!

In Solidarity,
Barbara Cape
President, SEIU-West

Related Content:

President’s messages:
Oct 13: Virtual Town Hall Follow Up Part One
Oct 17: Virtual Town Hall Follow Up Part Two
Oct. 24: Virtual Town Hall Follow Up Part Three
Oct. 30: Virtual Town Hall Follow Up Part Four

Health Care Provider Week:

Op-Ed: Health Care Provider Week
Celebrating Health Care Provider Week

SAHO Bargaining Page
Extendicare Bargaining
Transformational Change Page

Did you like this? Share it:
Comments Off on PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE: Virtual Town Hall Follow Up Part Five

Medical Radiation Technology Week!

Did you like this? Share it:
Comments Off on Medical Radiation Technology Week!

SEIU-West/SAHO Bargaining Update No. 8

NOTE: the next round of bargaining sessions is set for November 23 to 27, 2017.

Click here to download a printable PDF of SEIU-West/SAHO Bargaining Update No. 8

Saskatoon – November 6, 2017

Greetings Sisters and Brothers,

Your SEIU-West bargaining committee and our coalition partners, CUPE, SGEU, met with SAHO for five days in Saskatoon this week.

The priority conversations this week were the problems connected with the recent roll-out of the Joint Job Evaluation Maintenance Committee (JJEMC) provincial reviews as these relate to education program changes for three families of classifications. We identified there is a critical need for the parties to look at fundamental changes to the provincial JJE plan relative to the education skill factor. We have proposed that the Committee of the Parties (COPS) undertake a review of the education skill factor and any related factors. While the review is ongoing, the parties should agree to maintain all current salaries. We have reached agreement where a classification pay band is determined by the JJEMC to be reduced and incumbents maintain their current pay band, those incumbents not at the top step will continue to progress through the increment steps of the current pay band.

Your SEIU-West bargaining committee has continued to push the message you have sent us:

NO Cuts, NO Rollbacks, Pay Us What We’re Worth! Treat Us With Respect!

We have given to SAHO and the Employers a set of principles that underline the priorities for our members and the full range of professional skills brought by the health care team. We wait to hear from SAHO and the Government of Saskatchewan on our principles; we want them to know that we are serious about getting a collective agreement but we are not willing to compromise our members’ rights, safety and fairness in the workplace. We are serious about protecting our public health care system and the quality of service we provide to our patients, clients and residents each day.

We continue to seek your help to get the attention of our Government about changing their regressive mandate. As we have asked before – and we will keep asking – call your MLA, send an email, ask for a meeting. Tell them how they seriously need to change their mandate. Tell them we cannot provide patient first health care services if the Government and SAHO continue to put us last! If you would like assistance writing a letter to the editor or to your MLA, please email us at

Please watch for updates on You can also visit our Facebook page and Twitter account.

In Solidarity,

Your SEIU-West Provincial Bargaining Committee

CHR: Janice Platzke (SEIU-West Treasurer) • FHHR: Brenda Berry; Donna Gallant • HHR: Colleen Denniss • SHR: Judy Denniss; Rick Brown; Simone Corriveau; Kim Wyatt; Charlene Sarafin; • Staff: Bob Laurie (Dir. of Bargaining and Contract Enforcement); Russell Doell (Deputy Dir. of Bargaining and Contract Enforcement); Cam McConnell (Negotiations Officer) • President: Barbara Cape

Did you like this? Share it:
Comments Off on SEIU-West/SAHO Bargaining Update No. 8

President’s Message: JJE and Diagnostic Imaging Technologists

The JJEMC identified over a year ago that a whole host of classifications (including the MRT, MRI techs & Diagnostic Medical Sonographers) were going to be affected potentially through JJE due to education changes implemented at (Canadian) education institutions.

  1. The Unions requested provincial job reviews so as to delay the anticipated review and implementation process and to allow the parties to negotiate fundamental changes to the education factor within the JJE program to address concerns including retention and recruitment challenges. Another major reason for requesting a provincial review is that changes to other factors could potentially offset the changes to course hours and program entry requirements.
  2. The Unions – since the conclusion of the provincial job reviews (looking at those job fact sheets submitted from across the province) – have asked SAHO and the employers repeatedly to delay the implementation of the lower pay bands to new employees until the parties have a chance to review the JJE plan. SEIU-West have done so again as of November 1, 2017 (at the bargaining table).
  3. Not certain if our members recall but history has repeated itself with this factor rating problem (as it relates to the technologist classifications). The last time we attempted to deal with it, the results were a LOU (on page 168 of the CBA) re: review of Technologist/Technician classifications. This time we would like to fix the problem permanently through the negotiation of a revised factor analysis to the JJE program as it would allow for an examination of the appropriateness of the plan with respect to the classifications that have been effected. What needs to be understood is that funding cuts to learning institutions may lend to reduced program hour changes (our current experience) in an effort to reduce overall education institution budgets…thus begins the cycle.
  4.  The Unions have tabled a number of proposals at collective bargaining including the most recent which is to strike a sub-committee to deal with the negotiation of the fundamental change to the education factor as it is weighs into the JJE program and what the components are of the education factor.

We are pleased that we have members speaking out at this time as we need your help to highlight the projected outward migration to Alberta or Ontario as a result of these decisions continuing to move forward.

Further, we need to emphasize that any planned recruitment for the Children’s Hospital will be significantly affected as a result of these decisions continuing to move forward.

Once again, we need you to contact your MLA and the Health Minister’s office to let them know that they will NOT be able to fill any vacancies moving forward and there will be more of them as technologists will certainly opt for higher pay in Alberta at the new Edmonton hospital.

This is what we know:

  •  The MRT classification as well as the Diagnostic Medical Sonographer classification have been on the SHR Hard to Recruit list for over seven years. This is going to make an already unmanageable problem worse.

Finally, we would like to meet with our members employed in the Technologist classifications (including MRTs, MRITs & DMS) to have a more fulsome discussion. We have put a request forward to get copies of materials held by the JJEMC assistant so as to get added info prior to our meeting; she is on vacation until November 7, 2017.

As well, we are meeting with SAHO for negotiations all this week so we will need to look at dates next week or later.

In Solidarity,
Barbara Cape
President, SEIU-West

Did you like this? Share it:
Comments Off on President’s Message: JJE and Diagnostic Imaging Technologists