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Date: May 31, 2021

Location: Saskatoon

Greetings Sisters and Brothers,The Union and the Employer met on the May 12, 13, 18, 19, and 20 to bargain with the assistance of a conciliator from the Department of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety. The Union’s committee did a lot of hard work and made some hard concessions in order to try to achieve a collective agreement. However, no matter how hard we tried and despite the best efforts of the conciliator the Employer refused to offer anything except a statement that CBS employees would be provided the same pay increases that CUPE members working in provincial health care get.

When negotiations broke down a long time ago, the Employer said they would only offer 0%, 0%, 1%, 2% and 2% in a five year contract that ran from the April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2022. That was what CUPE members agreed to in provincial health care bargaining in 2019. We rejected that in a strike votes held on November 6 and 7, 2019. The SEIU-West members who work in provincial health care didn’t agree to that offer in 2019 and kept bargaining. Eventually we got a provincial deal that had the same increases in the first 5 years of a six year deal and an additional 2% in the last year, April 1st 2022 – March 31st 2023 and a $200.00 lump sum payment to every member. We asked the Employer to at least offer that much to CBS members, a 6 year contract with 0%, 0%, 1%, 2%, 2% and 2% and a small lump sum, so they would have a chance to decide for themselves if it was enough to ratify a collective agreement. They flatly refused.

CBS knows that CUPE healthcare are in discussions to add a 6th year to their contract so all they would offer us is a 6 year contract with the same wages in the first 5 years and a clause that says in the 6th year CBS members will get the same increase that CUPE gets in the same year, and the same signing bonus, if it applies – whatever that means. The Union’s committee said that isn’t fair. Even if it isn’t a very good offer they should at least make it a solid offer – not vague promises of “maybe so,” “me too,” and “if applicable.” SEIU-West does its homework so we are very confident that we know what the wage increases will be in the CUPE discussions. We are equally confident that we know what the signing bonus will be at the CUPE table. But we cannot be certain what CBS means by “if applicable.” It could mean CBS will ask for something more after bargaining is done and before they honour their offer. That’s not fair.
The Union’s committee is extremely disappointed. We made significant concessions in our position in order to give the Employer every opportunity to make a fair offer but they wouldn’t. But we also have to give you, the members, the chance to be heard.

We will be holding information meetings via Zoom on:

We will also be presenting the Employer’s last offer for a ratification vote on June 8, 2021. Voting will be done electronically by email. Information and instructions on how to vote will be provided soon. In order to be able to participate in the vote and receive any further updates directly please ensure that your Unit Executive or the bargaining committee members have your current personal email address. The bargaining committee members are listed below.

The Union and the bargaining committee members thank you for your patience 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); Cheryl Champagne (Union Representative) and Shelley Johnson (Union Representative).

 

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