Member Updates

SEIU-West Member Updates

President’s Message: Transformational Change – The Mystery surrounding the new Provincial Health Authority

I have spent the better part of the summer in bargaining or on the road, meeting with a number of members in the health care sector. A common question that keeps reverberating through these meetings from all of our members is: what is the plan with the new provincial health authority?

It’s a given that everyone in Saskatchewan will be impacted by ‘the plan’ as we all access health care services at one point or another in our lives. But further to that, this grand experiment also has the potential for setting the standard within other sectors, like education.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) will be established ‘some time’ this fall. Currently, there is not a lot of detail being shared by the Transition Team as they are working on recommendations for the new SHA board. Their work includes consultation with health care unions, the Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA), First Nations and Metis leaders, and front line staff. The consultations don’t seem to be in-depth or extensive.

‘The plan’ includes centralized services in lab, supply chain, IT, and other service areas. But what that centralized service looks like in our health care facilities and to patients, clients, and residents is unclear at this time. We do not know whether there will be staff reductions via layoff or attrition. We have asked this repeatedly and continue to await the answers. We know that there is a drive to create integrated service areas throughout the province, but again, the details are less than clear as this work is all ‘in progress’ and if we do see any info, it is only recommendations at this point.

Members are concerned about their jobs, the effect on their communities, their patients, clients, and residents, rural facility closures and the status of their union. Members are looking for clear answers about how this new health authority will change their current working lives. There is no clear answer about this. The Transition Team is focused only on getting the SHA to ‘Day One’ of operations; but we are all looking for answers for ‘Day 21’ or ‘Day 201’ (and beyond).

What I do know is that SEIU-West is working with CUPE and SGEU health service providers to develop a formal process, like a bargaining association, so that we can maintain our individual unions while still creating opportunities and security for our members to move throughout the province for work. We recognize that we have skills and knowledge that we can share and build on for our members and that is a credible strength. The coalition of health service provider unions, SEIU-West, CUPE, SGEU, have a long history together – both through good times and bad – that we intend to continue to improve and strengthen. We believe that this is in the best interests of our memberships.

This new SHA is a monumental change in the way health care is structured and, likely, delivered in this province. I cannot stress enough the importance of recognizing, valuing and capitalizing on the front line expertise that all of our members bring to the work of health care.

As we know more, we will continue to provide updates to all of our members.

In Solidarity,

Barb Cape, SEIU-West President

 

Click for a printable PDF of this President’s message.

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Front Line Newsletter – June 2017

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Inside the Spring/Summer Issue 2017 – Front Line Newsletter

CLICK: Inside the Spring/Summer Issue 2017 – Front Line Newsletter

A sample of articles:

From Listening Cafes to Action!

Cape’s Corner

Welcome Our Newest Members!

Bill 604

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URGENT ACTION: Call your MLA – Stop legislated wage rollbacks!

As we all know, our government has “suggested” publicly a wage rollback of 3.5% and a wage freeze for the next four years for all public sector workers.

They have previously said they would leave it to contract negotiations as the way to implement their suggestions.

However, credible sources now indicate that the government is going to renege on this commitment as well.

We have learned that the Sask Party government is planning to introduce legislation in the last days of the current session to force the 3.5% wage rollback on all public sector workers.

It doesn’t stop there.

They are going to legislate a wage freeze at the lower rate for 4 years.

What that means, for example, is if you make $1000.00 a pay cheque, you will now get $965.00 and you will get no more than $965.00 for the next four years, no matter how high the cost of living climbs.

Calculate how much you would lose with a 3.5% wage rollback. (Note: this calculator may not work on Internet Explorer)

For most SEIU-West health services providers this would mean 2014 rates would apply until 2021. This would not be a fair situation to pass on the irresponsible debt of our government to those who can least afford it.

The government will legally take your money by passing this law.

But there’s still time.

We need to act now!

Call, email and visit your MLAs today!

For a phone call/letter template to your MLA, click here.

Don’t think it can happen?

Manitoba just passed The Public Services Sustainability Act, which in essence gives the government the power to legislate a cap to any wage increase in the public sector. The Manitoba government has legislated a wage freeze for two years and 1.75% total increase for the next two years.

We have little time to act.

The current legislative session ends on Thursday May 18, 2017 so our time is short.

Related documents:

URGENT: CALL Your MLA – Stop legislated wage rollbacks!

MLA phone call/letter template.

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West Park Crossing Workers Win for Moose Jaw by Choosing SEIU-West

Workers at West Park Crossing, a retirement home managed by Esprit Lifestyle Community (a division of Extendicare Inc.), voted by a margin 80% to form a union with SEIU-West and demand respect and better working conditions.

“Many of these new members haven’t seen a general wage increase since the facility opened,” says Lead Organizer Stacey Lolacher. “We look forward to helping create a strong, safe workplace but also a fantastic living environment for residents, who are the foundation of the West Park Crossing community.”

SEIU-West welcomes another retirement home to our family in Moose Jaw because SEIU-West members aim to set the highest standard for retirement living in Saskatchewan. SEIU-West and West Park Crossing are Stronger Together!

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Contest: Retirement Gift Options

SEIU-West has an ongoing tradition of gifting members who are retiring a token of appreciation for their years of service in their workplace and as members in good standing.

We are looking to further expand the options available so that members have a broader range of gift choice options with a view to keeping the cost under $100. (There is a new item currently on order that will surely keep our retirees on the ‘move’.)

Your Top Officers want to know what you as SEIU-West members feel are appropriate retirement gifts.

Please send your suggestions by email with the subject line “Retirement Gifts” to Christine Miller (christine.miller@seiuwest.ca) by April 21, 2017 to be entered into the contest draw.

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Front Line Newsletter – March 2017

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Inside the Winter/Spring Issue 2017 – Front Line Newsletter

CLICK: Inside the Winter/Spring Issue 2017 – Front Line Newsletter

A sample of articles:

Listening Cafes

Cape’s Corner

Job Security for Victims of Domestic Violence

Win of the Week

 

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Events: Fighting Back Against Austerity – with John Clarke

Join Regina and Saskatoon for workshops led by John Clarke on building resistance in a time of cutbacks and austerity by the provincial government!

Regina: Friday, April 7 at 7 PM – 9 PM at the Westminster United Church: 3025 13th Ave, Regina (click here for the Facebook event)

Saskatoon: Saturday, April 8 at 2 PM – 5 PM at the Stand Community Organizing Centre: 615 Main Street, Saskatoon (click here for the Facebook event)

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Above & Beyond – Shelly Banks Award

This award has been established to honour Shelly Banks who led by example and served as SEIU-West vice-president from 2008-2015. Her invaluable and outstanding contributions have made a significant and lasting impact on our members and our union.

Do you know an SEIU-West member in good standing who…Poster-form-Above-and-Beyond-2017-1

  • does more than what is expected?
  • steps up, time after time, for members?
  • is an outspoken advocate for our members and the people we serve?

If so, please nominate them today!

How do I nominate someone?

Fill out the nomination form on the second page and submit it to Danielle Banadyga by May 5, 2017 via:

Email: Tara Hessie

Mail: 333 Central Avenue N., Swift Current, SK S9H 0L5

Fax: 306-773-7535

Related document:

Poster and Form Above & Beyond 2017

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Second Call: SEIU-West Convention 2017 – Purple Works! Purple Wins!

In June, we invite you to join your SEIU-West brothers and sisters at the Radisson Hotel located in the heart of downtown Saskatoon.

As set out by the SEIU-West Constitution, a convention of members must be held every two years commencing in 2011. Together we will discuss and debate a wide range of issues, elect our leaders and learn about member-driven campaigns.

This convention provides SEIU-West members time to connect, renew their activist spirit and celebrate their successes. Our members are proof that when Purple Works, Purple Wins! Contact your Unit Chair for more information.

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Click here to download the printable PDF of the 2nd Convention call for the 2017 SEIU-West Convention – Purple Works! Purple Wins!

Related Documents:

2017 2nd Convention Call

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President’s Message: True Solidarity

Life moves pretty fast and we have so many changes coming at us: in our communities, our province, with our families and definitely within our union.

We are reaching out to our members, allies, and partners and yes, to employers every day, to keep a close eye on what is happening. Whether it’s the regular work of meetings, grievances, negotiations and workplace safety – or bigger changes that have the potential to affect all of us in both the public and private sectors.

This is an opportunity to dig deep to find the meaning of true solidarity and support one another. We had that rare opportunity on March 8, International Women’s Day (IWD). While offering a moment to recognize the incredible women who have made us, shaped us or guided us, IWD marked an incredible event within the Saskatchewan labour movement. By now, most of you will have seen or heard reports of the Rally for Saskatchewan (#Rally4SK) held at the Legislature in Regina. This was an event for public sector workers and those who support those public services to stand together in a show of strength for the building and protection of those services.

Public services are under threat now like never before. Whether it’s the threatened partial sell-off of SaskTel, or a massive (and ballooning) deficit of $1.2 billion dollars, or ‘invitations’ to all those within the public sector to join the government in finding wage reductions of 3.5%, or musings about layoffs and service cuts, we need to recognize that the services we enjoy from the Crowns, or health care, or education should not be taken for granted. We need to stand up to stop these things from disappearing from our communities and our province.

We pay for these services through our current taxation… so we should be able to access them when needed. But if we start starving them of funding or sell off those Crowns that generate revenue, our taxes won’t go down… we’ll simply pay more in the form of user fees. I know that the wait lists for health care services are not ideal; but shouldn’t we be looking at investing in those services to improve them, rather than privatize or reduce overall access?

This deficit is a crisis, however it has not been created by public sector workers. There’s an old saying “never let a good crisis go to waste.” Sadly, our government is using the excuse of a financial deficit to sell us on the idea that we have no choice but to make big changes. Transformational change will not be temporary in nature (until oil, gas and potash revenues bounce back). The contemplated changes are something different, something bigger and certainly more permanent in nature; they will weaken or eliminate our public services in a fundamental way forever. These changes are about teaching people to expect less from our provincial government and the public services they provide. The government wants us to start thinking that “it’s not the government’s job to ensure that everyone has access to quality health care, quality education or quality public services… that’s between you and the private sector.”

But in Saskatchewan, our public services are the heart and soul of this province. It’s in our DNA to support and share in both the gain and the pain. And that’s what public services allow us to do: we all pay a little so no one has to pay a lot. In the American systems, it’s up to the individual to pay a lot – depending on what a public provider charges. And if they don’t offer the services in your small town or community, well, that is too bad – it’s not the government’s fault.

These musings about public policy and fundamental shifts in how we operate our province are a knee-jerk reaction to their crafted deficit. This is bad, don’t get me wrong, but surely we should pause in a moment of crisis like this, and develop a comprehensive plan to dig ourselves out of the hole? This should be the time that we all band together – workers, unions, employers; public and private sector; government and opposition – to make a plan for our future. This deficit didn’t happen overnight and we shouldn’t expect it to be fixed overnight or over the course of one year. Saskatchewan people know the boom/bust cycle. We also know the true test of good government is how you manage the bad times.

Education Sector – Transformational Change:

We continue to await the report of the advisory panel on the future of the public school boards. The province is contemplating a series of options provided by Dan Perrins, which includes the elimination of elected school boards (appointed by government instead) and creating one provincial public school division for the whole province.

We are not in favour of these options and instead have suggested that the status quo provides more local input and control over our kids’ education. We believe that elected school boards are more appropriate because democracy flourishes at the grass roots level. (Ironically, the current Minister of Education, Don Morgan, began his political career as an elected school board member in Saskatoon!) We also believe that parents having knowledge, input and participation at the local level provides for engaged families and communities.

Healthcare – Transformational Change:

  • The consolidation of IT services under eHealth is continuing. What exactly that means is unclear. When we have inquired, we were told that current processes between eHealth and the health regions will continue. Given that we are not entirely sure what that means, we have pursued setting up a meeting with the health system transition team and eHealth to get some answers for our members. The Transition Team has added another member, Denise Junek, who is responsible for IT/Information Management changes.
  • We are pursuing the idea of a formal bargaining council with our coalition partners, SGEU and CUPE. We’ve talked with many of you about this as a potential and there is commitment to this idea as a way to stabilize the health care workforce and also continue to build on our coalition bargaining. We’ve received a number of presentations from groups who have built this model from all across the country and the feedback is quite positive.
  • The updates from the Transition Team are not exactly chock full of information…and that’s why we are working to set up regular meetings with the team or a part of the team. We know our members expect us to not only bargain good agreements, but be vocal advocates for our members and the services they provide. And that’s what we intend to do.

Stay in touch with your union: watch the website – write us with your questions. Sign up for email updates; follow us on Facebook…we will do our best to be where you are. Because we need you to walk that path of solidarity with us.

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