Member Updates

SEIU-West Member Updates

2018 Saskatchewan Pride Season

Gone are the days of celebrating Pride just during the month of June… Saskatchewan has a whole season!

Starting on May 12, you can celebrate pride all over the province!

The Saskatchewan Pride Network, Moose Jaw Pride, and the Community Initiatives Fund have come together to celebrate “True Colours” all summer long.


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Front Line Newsletter – Spring 2018

spring newsletter 2018

Inside the Winter/Spring Issue 2018 – Front Line Newsletter

CLICK: Inside the Winter/Spring Issue 2018 – Front Line Newsletter

A sample of articles:

Dear Rosie: Who is Rosie?

Cape’s Corner

Member Story: Build Skills!

Member of Distinction


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SHEPP Newsletter Spring 2018

Attention SEIU-West members who are covered by the Saskatchewan Healthcare Employees’ Pension Plan (SHEPP).

You can now access the 2018 spring newsletter online.

Looking for past issues? You can access issues back to April of 2009 by visiting Active Member news on the SHEPP website.


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Moose Jaw & District Labour Council Annual General Meeting

SEIU-West will be sponsoring up to two members to attend the Moose Jaw & District Labour Council’s (MJDLC) Annual General Meeting (AGM) which is being held on April 10, 2018 at 5:30 pm.

Interested members are invited to complete our Expression of Interest form and submit it to Neil Colmin by April 3, 2018.

Registration fees, lost wages, honorarium, accommodations, meals and mileage will be covered by SEIU-West.

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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

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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

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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.

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Front Line Newsletter – December 2017

winter newsletter 2017

Inside the Fall/Winter Issue 2017 – Front Line Newsletter

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


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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.

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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

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