Greetings Sisters and Brothers,
Your SEIU-West bargaining committee met with SAHO on July 5, 6, 7 in Saskatoon.
We spent a considerable period of time discussing each of the parties’ proposals and exchanging information on the rationale that guided our proposals.
The issues we identified with the Employer had a common theme. The Employer proposals were to maintain language that our members identified as unclear or inadequate. The union’s proposals addressed those issues, but the Employer was resistant to ideas that could conceivably generate a cost to the Employer. The provider unions are still waiting to get more information on the new Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) and how the new employer will be able to administer three health care provider collective agreements.
SEIU-West, SGEU and CUPE spent about a day with SAHO going over outstanding questions related to the Employers’ initial proposal package. We continue to ask for further information and clarification around the rationale and calculations that were used to justify a proposal of -3.5% in remuneration to SEIU-West members working in the health system. What we heard is that the Government’s take-away proposals were simply and solely based on forcing health care workers to pay for the Government’s agenda and budget.
We want to thank all of our members who have reached out to explain how badly SAHO’s proposals would affect them and their department or site…we were able to share these concerns and real-world examples of how cuts to standby, call-back, overtime and other recruitment and retention of staff initiatives would not only increase waiting lists, drive patients to other provinces or private clinics for health care, but also increase the already crushing workload all members are experiencing. We also talked about the impact of the loss of transportation allowance & professional fees compensation; the employers appear to be fixated on addressing ad hoc issues around taxable benefits and professional associations increasing their rates.
It is abundantly clear, saving money from health care is the primary driver of the proposed reductions or elimination. We have all heard about the pressures on health region budgets; on Ministry of Health budgets; on the Government of Saskatchewan’s budget. What we were able to do is identify the unfairness about is the off-loading of those budget pressures onto our members’ individual budgets; how it will affect you and your families. We talked about how reducing the benefits in our collective agreements will decrease our ability to meet the demands for care/services/analysis in health care. We have talked about improving communications with new staff so they can be successful with their career in Saskatchewan’s health system. We have talked about the impact of others doing our bargaining unit work; how that erodes opportunities for our members to work in their classification.
When we first met in May, SAHO had shared the government’s arbitrary deadline of achieving a tentative agreement by the end of June. That deadline has come and gone and we are still offering up dates to meet with SAHO over the summer. We still want our members to help us reach out to the elected MLA’s over the summer to help us change this money grab mandate.
We are currently setting up membership meetings throughout the province to come to your community or area and talk face to face about bargaining and answer any questions you might have. That schedule will be coming out to your workplaces shortly. Plan to attend the meeting closest to you – even if you are on holidays!
Your bargaining committee wants to thank everyone who has reached out to their MLA about bargaining. If you’ve already contacted them once, do it two more times; if you have written an email, make a phone call. Or better yet, make an appointment to meet! Your voices, your experiences and your stories are making a difference… please keep it up. Find your MLA by visiting: http://www.legassembly.sk.ca/mlas/. Lost for words? Here is a letter template for your use.
We encourage you to share your questions and concerns about bargaining with your SEIU-West bargaining committee by contacting us through the Member Resource Center (MRC) at 1-888-999-7348 Ext 2298 or contact us through the “contact us” form on SEIUWEST.ca.
Your participation in your Union makes SEIU-West strong.
Your SEIU-West SAHO 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