We’ve made it to the very last installment of our Year in Review. Ready to see what SEIU-West was up to for the final quarter of 2021? Let’s get into it!

October

October is chock full of recognition of our members! First up, October is Occupational Therapy Month. Occupational Therapists offer help with everyday tasks like dressing and other self-care, sports, gardening, and more.

October 3-9 is Medical Device Reprocessing (also known as Sterile Processing) Workers’ week. These valuable workers ensure equipment is safe, sterilized, and assembled for our health and safety.

The 10-16th was Food Services Week. We highlighted Jody, a FSW. This week is also Healthcare Security and Safety Week and we shared Joey’s story.

October 17-23 was a triple threat as we recognized Education Week, Facilities & Engineering Week, and Combined Lab X-Ray Technician Week! We highlighted three member stories on the website this week: Ryan, from our Education sector, Blair, a member of the facilities team at a hospital, and Melanie, a CLXT at a rural, integrated health facility.

And finally, October 25-29 was Health Care Providers’ Week. This may be one of our favourite recognition weeks only because it highlights every one of our valuable members working in health care across the province.

While not a recognition week for our members specifically, October 3-9 week was also Mental Health Awareness Week. Approaching two years in a global pandemic has shone a brighter light on mental health as a whole, and particularly on that of our frontline workers. SEIU-West is dedicated to sharing mental health resources with our members and the public on our platforms. For more information, checkout this 2022 list from the Education Committee.

We shared member Martin Been’s open letter in the Saskatoon StarPhoenix decrying the erosion of universal public health care—an issue that is still top of mind in early 2022.

Applications for 2021 SEIU-West scholarships opened this month (with a mid-November deadline), including the newly announced Bob Desjarlais Memorial Scholarship. Did you see the post early in January with the winners?

Our Multicultural Mentorship Committee announced a new initiative to help our members on their pathway to Canadian Citizenship.

We were surprised to hear the government’s announcement that five Extendicare homes in Saskatchewan would now fall under the jurisdiction of the SHA. At the time of writing, we continue to monitor this situation, but have happily announced that members have voted yes to accepting a new agreement in early January, 2022.

We fought back against claims by the government that the pandemic is responsible for the crippling of our health care system with a media release placing the blame where it really belongs: on the provincial government’s mismanagement. SEIU-West Vice President, Neil Colmin, also spoke with CKOM on the subject.

A call went out for SEIU-West members to join their brothers and sisters at an information picket at the Regina branch of Canadian Blood Services, to raise awareness that CBS was refusing to bargain. The results of the day are here and you can see pictures and watch a video over on Facebook.

November

First up, we recognized the first Community-Based Organizations (CBO) Worker’s Appreciation Day on November 6. CBO workers provide crisis services, day programs, support to people with disabilities living independently, and so much more. We also recognized Medical Radiation Technologist (MRT) week November 7-13 and shared Laurie’s story. These vital workers are responsible for imaging and radiation-related services for both diagnostics and treatments.

The Multicultural Mentorship Committee (MMC) held the first of their Coffee Break with Saskatoon Open Door Society over Zoom. The topics of the inaugural coffee break surrounded the path to immigration and Canadian citizenship.

We once again joined forces with two other health care unions to send a joint letter to the Premier about the staffing crisis in Saskatchewan health care.

Our members were encouraged to participate in a survey designed by an OH&S researcher at the University of Regina. The survey focused on worker safety during the pandemic. SEIU-West felt it was imperative that frontline healthcare workers’ opinions would be reflected in the research.

The Ottawa Citizen published an article on the importance of recognizing the toll the pandemic is taking on all healthcare workers, not just doctors and nurses. It was an important article to reinforce the messages SEIU-West has tried to make heard since early 2020.

The Saskatchewan government made claims that additional CCAs had recently been hired to help combat staffing shortages. However, our members had yet to see any of these new hires. In fact, these “new hires” weren’t really new at all, but were actually the result of shuffling staff and positions around.

November 20-28 was Saskatchewan Multicultural Week. MMC asked members to share their stories with the hashtag #TogetherWeMakeSaskatchewanStrong. We led with Manu’s story.

Finally, we ended November with a little cheer, sharing images of some adorable knitted health care worker plushies.

December

December 6 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, commemorating the massacre of 14 women at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal in 1989. Our Young Workers Committee called on all members to take action to stop violence against women.

A shakeup at the SHA came early this month with the resignation of CEO Scott Livingstone. At the time of writing our recap, it’s not yet clear why he left or what the impact of his leaving will be.

Our efforts to get Canadian Blood Services to negotiate a fair deal for our members continued with the launch of a new campaign that placed CBS firmly on Santa’s naughty list. The campaign also included an information picket at the Saskatoon CBS location on December 15. Check out the video of the picket here.

International Migrants’ Day is December 18 and our Multicultural Mentorship Committee took the opportunity to share some stories of members’ journeys to Canada. We heard from Jeanne, Leta, Felix, and Yolanda. We applaud their journeys and know that we are stronger together.

All Saskatchewan workers got a big win at the end of the year as the government announced it will repeal provisions of the Saskatchewan Employment Act (SEA) regarding “supervisory employees”. These provisions previously prohibited workers who supervise others from joining a union of their choosing. The fight for fair labour practices for all is a hard one, but wins like this prove it’s all worth it.

And that’s it, a wrap on 2021. Thank you for joining us as we look back on the rollercoaster ride the year was.

Did you miss the other three parts to our Year in Review? Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

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