The COVID-19 pandemic shook the world in 2020 and set the stage for 2021. While we adjusted and settled into this reshaped world, we also dug our heels in deeper, fought harder for our members, and celebrated some big wins along the way!
We started the year strong by announcing our 2020 scholarship winners, and sharing their smiling, excited faces on our Facebook page. Congratulations again to all winners—be sure to follow our page to find out who are our 2021 winners!
As the pandemic continued to limit our ability to meet in person, we made greater use of virtual platforms. In January we held our first digital vote to ratify the SEIU-West–SAHO collective agreement. In the lead up to the vote, hundreds of members participated in a series of telephone town halls about the proposed new contract. The tentative agreement passed, ending a 4-year impasse. For more details on the outcome, visit our website.
We also held a Family Literacy Day contest on our Facebook page. We asked members to name their all-time favourite book, and they responded with some fantastic recommendations.
Finally in January, we discussed the new COVID vaccines and how they would be distributed. As throughout the pandemic, our SaskParty government showed a lack of leadership and planning.
February saw the launch of our new campaign, “Hey Moe, Where’s Our Dough?” to fight back against unfair treatment of healthcare workers. The campaign sought to ensure that all healthcare workers, regardless of their workplace, were eligible for the Temporary Wage Supplement program..
SEIU-West also renewed our calls to overhaul long-term care within Saskatchewan after ongoing outbreaks in our facilities. The call was part of the ongoing #EndUnderstaffing campaign: our response to budget-driven decisions impacting some of our most vulnerable citizens.
Late February saw our Facebook page become a sea of pink in recognition and support of Pink Shirt Day 2021 —a vibrant, Canadian-born show of solidarity against bullying.
March 2021 was a busy month for the Union.
March is Women’s History Month and we highlighted some strong Canadian women, like Mary Shadd Cary, on our Facebook page.
The voices of SEIU-West members featured prominently in a three-part Regina Leader-Post report on the state of long-term care in our province. The report showcased gaps and flaws in the system before and during the pandemic, and highlighted where we can go from here. You can read part 1, part 2, and part 3 here.
With very heavy hearts, we said farewell to labour activist and member of the SEIU-West staff family, Bob Desjarlais. A new scholarship has been established in Bob’s name so his legacy may live on through the education of our membership. Rest in power, Bob.
SEIU-West continued the fight to have all healthcare workers included in the Phase 1 rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations, and denounced the Saskatchewan government’s decision to relax public health restrictions.
Finally this month, we began gearing up for the first-ever SEIU-West Virtual Convention, scheduled for late May. Delegate selection meetings began taking place over Zoom and continued into early April. How did it the Convention turn out? Find out more in our second installment of 2021 A Year in Review next week.