CAPE CHALLENGES MOE: Give SAHO the Authority & Resources to Make a Fair Deal
SEIU-West President Barbara Cape has challenged Premier Scott Moe to provide SAHO, the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s representative at the bargaining table, with the authority and the resources to conclude a collective agreement that SEIU-West health providers will accept.
In a letter dated December 23, 2019—the latest exchange between the President and Premier on issues in the health care sector—Cape asserts that months of fruitless bargaining between SEIU-West and SAHO have made it “clear that SAHO does not have the authority to change the monetary proposal—they can only do so with the approval or government.” She urges the Premier to authorize SAHO to make an offer that SEIU-West health providers can support and that properly addresses the challenges those providers face.
SEIU-West health providers have been without a collective agreement for more than 1,000 days. On December 11th an overwhelming majority of them voted to authorize the SEIU-West Bargaining Committee to use any and all job actions needed to get a fair contract.
CHRONOLOGY OF CAPE-MOE CORRESPONDENCE RE HEALTH PROVIDER BARGAINING
- On October 22, 2019--the day after the federal election--Premier Scott Moe issued an open letter titled “A New Deal with Canada” in which he challenged Prime Minister Trudeau to do more to address the needs and concerns of Saskatchewan people. In that same spirit, on October 30th SEIU-West President Barbara Cape sent Premier Moe a letter titled “A New Deal with Heath Care Providers” in which she challenged the Premier to “be fair to those who care”.
- In a reply dated November 18th Premier Moe told Cape that he is “confident in the collective bargaining process” and “committed to listening to the views and issues employees bring forward, and to working to address challenges that emerge in the health care system.”
- On December 23rd, President Cape sent the following letter urging the Premier to “provide the necessary direction to SAHO” to make a collective agreement possible.
Dear Premier Moe:
Thank you for your reply dated November 18 and your stated acknowledgement that health care sector employees perform valuable work for the people of our province. I could not agree more; the work our members do, and all others involved on the health care team, is invaluable to their patients, clients and residents.
In the case of SEIU-West, our members did not ratify the last offer presented by SAHO because they were dissatisfied with the monetary proposal. Since this time, we have met with SAHO over 13 days and we have utilized voluntary conciliation services for a further 5 days. SAHO has presented the same monetary proposal that our members rejected previously. We now know that others within the public sector were offered enhancements to the provincial mandate in order to achieve a tentative agreement that could be ratified by members. Within these meetings it has been made clear to us that SAHO does not have the authority to change the monetary proposal - they can only do so with the approval of government.
While we appreciate your confidence in the collective bargaining process, it can only be successful if SAHO is given the ability to move off the monetary proposal that was soundly rejected by SEIU-West health care providers last spring. In short, SAHO requires the approval of government to offer some improved offer.
While we do appreciate careful expense management and our fiscal reality in Saskatchewan, as indicated above, others have experienced enhancements to the provincial mandate as approved by government. You would agree that the health care work environment shouldn't be considered ''expense management” but a valuable and professional public service that needs to see the direct investment from government; we receive many reports from our members daily that understaffing in the sector is a growing challenge to the resources and quality(including safety) needed in care circumstances. We ask that your government provide the necessary direction to SAHO so as to achieve an agreement for our members who continue to provide a valued service within the health care sector. We believe this will assist the SHA in managing a number of recruitment and retention issues within the sector.
On behalf of SEIU-West health care providers, I ask that you take the necessary action to demonstrate your value for their ongoing contribution within our health care system
Thank you for your efforts to support SEIU-West health care providers' campaign to end understaffing and Put Care First.
President of SEIU-West