Click here to download a printable PDF file of Canadian Blood Services: Bargaining Update No. 13

Date: May 26, 2022

Location: Saskatoon

Greetings Sisters and Brothers,

We have a deal for you to vote on! Your SEIU-West bargaining committee met with the Employer on May 24 and 25 to fulfill the requirements of the Labour Relations Board’s order issued as part of the victory in our Unfair Labour Practice complaint against the Employer. As discussed in our last update we also met on May 6, 9, and 10. Bargaining was very gradual and required a lot of concessions from the parties, as well as stern words, but at last we have a proposal that we can bring back to you and recommend.

After our last meeting with the conciliator, the Union came to the table with a short list of non-monetary items and a few monetary items. Most importantly we wanted a signing bonus that we could rely on. It couldn’t be a “me too” for what any other union does or doesn’t get with some way to wiggle out of it. The Employer did not want to provide that. They cajoled and demanded and insisted that we just agree with them but every time they did that, they also made a tiny move, and then bellowed that it was the last. Then we made tiny moves, and they came back, and so on. Eventually we came out with a few things to add to what we brought out last time.

What we got is the same wage increases only now they’re spelled out properly, a signing bonus of $500.00 for every employee on staff at the time of ratification, the addition of the statutory holiday to recognize Truth and Reconciliation, an increase to stat pay, better language on meal breaks and travel requirements, and a modest increase to the meal allowances.

The most important thing is the Employer finally came to the table and bargained with us. That took five years of fighting. Some of the fight was in public when our members went out to picket and demand action, and some was behind the scenes in bargaining and conciliation meetings. Some was in grievances, and some was in disputes advanced through the Employment Standards Enforcement branch and some of it was in hearings at the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board. Right from the start of bargaining and throughout the whole process the Employer tried everything imaginable to avoid bargaining and impose an agreement, but it didn’t work. After almost 4 years of fighting, they finally stood by an offer in June of last year. It was voted down. So, we fought some more and we got them to table something better. Now we can bring that out to you for another vote. It’s called bargaining and it’s very popular! Maybe CBS can avoid it in Ontario or BC or wherever, but not around here and not with us.

The offer we’re bringing back now isn’t everything we hoped for but it’s definitely enough to say it’s more worthwhile to take it and start the next round rather than keep going. We’ve made a huge gain by compelling the Employer to follow the process. You all deserve to be congratulated for standing firm for so long and in the face of so much and you have the thanks and admiration of everyone at SEIU-West.

We will provide more detailed information regarding the tentative agreement very soon. We are planning to hold ratification information meetings on June 6 and to hold a ratification vote electronically on June 6 and 7. Please watch you email and bulletin board for details on meeting time(s), how to join the meetings, and how to vote. Once again congratulations and thank you for your patience and support.

Your SEIU-West bargaining committee:

SEIU-West members: Heather Dyck (Unit Chair, CBS Saskatoon); Kristie Pearton (Unit Vice-Chair, CBS Saskatoon); Jason Coombs (Bargaining Committee member, CBS Regina);
Tanya Palaniuk (Bargaining Committee member, CBS Regina); • SEIU-West staff: Cam McConnell (Negotiations Officer); Marj Markwart (Union Representative) and Shelley
Johnson (Union Representative).

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