Date: January 28, 2022
Greetings Sisters and Brothers,
Since our last update on September 29, 2021 there have been steps and actions taken by the Union and its members to try and advance collective bargaining and to protect your rights.
In our last update we reported that we met with the Employer on September 14 and presented a proposal to resolve bargaining. The Employer refused to consider any change to their last offer even though that had already been resoundingly rejected by the membership. We advised them that they are not bargaining in good faith and that we would proceed with our complaints at the Labour Relations Board. To refresh your memory we filed an Unfair Labour Practice complaint in early 2020 asserting that the Employer had refused to bargain (they only tabled a “me too” for CUPE and not a real proposal), that they had deliberately delayed bargaining by barely providing any dates and that they used the essential services provisions of the Employment Act improperly to delay everything but not to protect the public. We asked the Board to issue an order stating that the essential services provisions of the Employment Act don’t apply here.
The hearing was delayed for a long time for several reasons including the pandemic but also the Employer’s availability (as usual) but it finally went ahead this summer and fall and ended on October 25, 2021. The complaints were that they Employer is not bargaining in good faith, is delaying and stalling and, sometimes, isn’t really honest. It’s all familiar to everyone at CBS so we won’t review it here except to say that the Employer didn’t have any answers even when the Board members themselves challenged them. We felt our case about bargaining was pretty strong and the Union is cautiously optimistic that we will get a decision from the Board that will make the Employer try a little harder at bargaining. We will provide an update once we receive that decision.
We are also waiting for an answer on whether essential services applies to this dispute and what that means. As you know, the Employer has been delaying any negotiations on this issue as well. While we were waiting we also persuaded the Employer to participate in mediation with Dan Shapiro, a respected arbitrator, to try and come up with some kind of essential services so we could at least have some kind of job action. Not surprisingly we couldn’t make any progress and the arbitrator gave up after a couple of days.
While we wait for the Board’s decisions the Union continues to campaign on your behalf with letter writing, billboards and other media. You will also recall that the members planned and pulled off a pretty successful action just ahead of Christmas intended to raise the public’s awareness of the dispute and remind the Employer that we’re not going anywhere and we’re not giving in.
Your President Barbara Cape has sent out an appeal to the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL) and Affiliates to write Canadian Blood Services and demand that they settle this collective agreement with SEIU-West members – right now!
The Union and the bargaining committee members thank you for your patience and solidarity and congratulate everyone for continuing to provide valuable services to the public through this challenging time.
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).