Date: June 18, 2021
Greetings Sisters and Brothers,
In our last update we announced that the Union would hold a ratification vote on the Employer’s last offer, made at conciliation. The vote was held on June 8, 2021 and the members rejected the Employer’s offer by an overwhelming margin.
As you all know, your bargaining committee has been trying to bargain for a collective agreement for a very long time. For all of that time the Employer has maintained the same position on wages--you get what CUPE gets. The Union told them way back then that we didn’t think that was fair and that it wouldn’t work. We asked them to bargain for something that was fair and that would work. That was almost 5 years ago. The Union warned the Employer that its final offer (which was basically the same as its previous offers) would probably not be accepted by the membership. The Union has informed the Employer that the membership has voted no to their last offer and has asked them to return to the bargaining table. The Employer has agreed to meet again to bargain but also advised that they will not initiate the next round of bargaining by bringing a new proposal.
The Union and your bargaining committee has tried everything, including getting the help of a conciliator and finally taking strike votes on November 6 & 7, 2019 to get the Employer to make a fair and reasonable offer that the members would accept. The Employer, in order to deny the members the right to strike, responded by asserting that the parties need to meet the essential services provisions of the Saskatchewan Employment Act. The Union has filed an Unfair Labour Practice complaint with the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board (SLRB) asserting that the Employer is refusing to bargain and that they are using essential services legislation to influence bargaining and not to protect the public. We sought a hearing with the SLRB to make our case that we don’t think the essential services provisions apply to CBS. That hearing was long delayed for a lot of reasons, but began on June 14, 2021, and will continue in October 2021.
In the meantime the Union will continue to try to find a way to bargain for a fair collective agreement with the Employer. The Union’s bargaining committee will be meeting in the week of the June 21 to plan the next step in bringing the Employer back to the table and getting an offer that your committee can recommend for ratification. Please watch for further updates.
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); Shelley Johnson (Union Representative).