SEIU-West continues to be there for you during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. Our top priority is the health and safety of our members, their families, their patients/residents/clients and communities.

We have created this page as a central location for SEIU-West communications and resources related to COVID-19. This page will be updated regularly as the situation evolves, based on the best information available.

Quick Links:

If you have any questions not answered by the resources listed or linked on this page, please use our online contact form to ask questions or call our Member Resource Centre at 1-888-999-7348 ext. 2298.

NOTE: We are not a medical resource. Please contact 811 for medical/health related questions.

If you are looking for community resources, please contact 211 or visit their website www.sk.211.ca.

Media Release: Reopen Sask Means Added Risk for Health Workers

For Immediate Release, April 24, 2020

Saskatoon – SEIU-West leaders and members are put off by Premier Moe’s announcement yesterday of the plan to re-open Saskatchewan. The potential increase in COVID-19 cases as a result of lifting restrictions presents a serious risk to Saskatchewan’s front line health care providers, who have been working hard to provide care for patients, clients and residents during the pandemic.

President's Message: Day of Mourning and Occupational Health & Safety Week

In past years, I’ve written about the historic significance of why we honour people who were killed or injured on the job.

This year it’s different. Very different.

Letter to the Premier- Dennel Pickering

Dear Mr Premier,


I'm one of all the others you reference, after you list doctors and nurses specifically. I work front line in healthcare, as a continuing care assistant. I'm in a less controlled environment than long term care; I work in homecare. The unease of going to work, not sure if you're a carrier about to infect your clients has been stressful, at best. While I struggle to breathe through masks now, I'm so very grateful that our union has pushed for masks and gowns (PPE) and the employer has finally provided them.

I've been more interested in our bargaining process than watching the president of the United States, which, like a bad horror movie, you just can't not watch. I saw you offer us a wage reduction in the sweetest way. You told us that we get to pick what we want to give up to balance your books. Kind of like asking which finger you wanted us to chop off. We were adamant that we didn't want to give back anything that we bargained for over decades of contracts, but rather, we wanted a wage increase that would allow us to pay our bills. I'm sure you know the cost of living keeps increasing, and that's why you tied MLA wage increases to cost of living increases.

I'm used to not being the favorite child. So, I wasn't expecting you to all of a sudden give us giant wage increases that you gave the RNs just as soon as you got into power. Don't get me wrong, they work hard and deserved the wage increases. But, Mr Premier, you've acknowledged that we work hard too. So I ask you why it's been 4 years without a raise? And please don't answer with a response like, the other unions got their raise but you voted against it. You bet I did. 0 0 1 2 2 is barely a raise, especially when you think about our low wages to begin with. If you offered me 2 percent of your wage, I'd gladly take it. 2 percent of my wage after 20 years in the job is 46.34 cents.

I don't even want us to get danger pay/hazard pay. That implies you are paying for us to work unsafely and risk lives. I want doctors and nurses and "all the others in healthcare" to work safely to provide the best possible care for our seniors and our most vulnerable in society. I want to provide skilled care safely for them and safely for us. I also want to be paid reasonable wages permanently. I want to be valued by my government, the one that says we are doing a great job in this global pandemic to come to work every day and walk into the unknown.
Why, Mr Premier, do you keep telling us you value us but won't put money where your mouth is?
We are scared. Every damned day. But we show up. We provide care. We comfort those around us that are scared. We are here asking you to value us the way our patients, residents, and clients and their families do.

Respectfully,

Dennel Pickering

Letter to the Premier- Martin Been

 Mr. Premier

Let me start by saying that I am proud to call myself a member of the health care team. I wear my pride on my shirt as a reminder that I do this for the public which I serve.

At the same time, I am ashamed to call myself a health care worker, based strictly on how we’ve been devalued by your government.

Historically the mere mention of someone working in health care, brought responses of interest on how to acquire various professions in the field. One could earn a fair living with a decent wage then. There was a sense of respect for all that we did.

Now the mention of working in health care doesn’t draw the attraction it once did. The decent wage has fallen victim to affordability.

I watched, with interest how your Party suggested health care workers should take a 3.5% wage cut, citing that if MLA’s could do so, why couldn’t healthcare workers? I point out to you, Mr. Premier that the 3.5% wage cut your government took for one year, kept all of you in the $100,000/year club. Never was it posed that the 3.5% cut put to health care workers would have an expiry date of one year, plus such a 3.5% cut would throw me into a lower tax bracket which if I may point out hardly seems fair.

Health care workers have been without a contract since April of 2017. The latest offer which starts with not one, but two years of 0 increase, is beyond comprehension.

The Covid 19 pandemic has brought out both the best and worst. Long fought for PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) was finally granted as the best tool to use in keeping frontline workers safe. To accomplish this, however, the downgrading of previous conditions health care workers had normally safeguarded against through use of PPE occurred.

You Mr. Premier, have repeatedly stated throughout this pandemic that health care workers are essential...unfortunately, the sense of pride and acknowledgment that goes along with this designation, does not pay the bills. I am hoping you can find a way to demonstrate to health care workers that we are truly valued.

Thank you for your earliest reply,

Martin Been

Letter to the Premier- Brenda Berry

To Premier Moe,

I watched the news on April 22, 2020 at 6:00pm and was disappointed in your address to the province. 

As Premier, you are always thanking the doctors and registered nurses, but as a Continuing Care Assistant who works in a hospital and a long term care home, I provide hands on care to our patients, residents, and clients. I am responsible for dressing, feeding, bathing, medications, lifting, repositioning, and reporting. As a part of the health care team, I know we are a very caring and compassionate group of people. During this pandemic we are the only people our residents see and we try to be as positive and uplifting as we can, but they are often lonely and unable to comprehend why their loved ones have stopped coming to see them. We are their connection to the outside world.

The Environmental Service Workers do amazing work performing enhanced cleaning to ensure our facilities do not harbour or transmit any viruses but in a health care setting, it is very difficult going to work each day, always unsure whether I’ll contract COVID-19 or take it home to my family. 

I am disappointed that I have not had a pay increase since April 1, 2016. Meanwhile, my government legislates pay increases for themselves regularly, and at a level that is more than what you offered to us.  You asked us to take a 3.5% rollback, and now we’re being offered two years of zeroes and 1%, 2%, and 2% over 5 years.  That's 5% over five years, but MLAs have always received larger increases (not to mention your much higher salary).

I continue to go to work and provide quality care to our patients, residents and clients in this uncertain time.  I would really appreciate the government providing the finances required for SAHO to get back to the bargaining table and bring a decent proposal that myself and fellow health care providers can accept.  After all, we are the backbone of the frontline in healthcare.

Sincerely,

Brenda Berry

 

Letter to the Health Minister- Cheryl Wilker

Dear Health Minister,

Now do you agree that front line works are a very important to Health Care and to this province? Without us, you would not be able to flatten the curve for COVID-19.

The government has been offering funding to many sectors to keep the economy going, but are you going to fund a wage increase to the frontline health care workers? We are risking our lives while also stressing over the chance of bringing the virus home to our families and risking their health as well.

I’m not a RN or a Doctor - I am Continuing Care Assistant and my wellbeing and my family’s is just as important as any healthcare employee that is providing care during COVID-19. I’m working in a high risk environment and wear protective gear so I don’t get infected with COVID-19 as well.

We receive a thank you from news media, the people in our community, and from the families of our clients for keeping their loved ones safe. The one person who should be acknowledging us is basically saying “no we are not important” and our wellbeing is less important.

When you express a thank you to frontlines health care workers to the press, it’s very upsetting that you are not expressing a thank you to all front line workers.

I feel we all should be treated the same. All employees that are providing care during this pandemic should be treated the same as we are all deemed essential services. I hope to hear a response.

Thank you,

Cheryl Wilker

Letter of Understanding (LOU) re: Cook/Assistant Cook/Food Service Worker, potential emergent reassignments

Shortages of Cooks and Assistant Cooks have existed well before the pandemic highlighted the issue. In light of this realization, the employer and the unions have been working on contingencies should the pandemic exacerbate an already critical shortage in some communities.

Letter to the Premier:  Marte Olsen

Premier Scott Moe,

I am not a Nurse or Doctor, I am an essential SHA employee in LTC.

At this time during this Pandemic, the curtain has been pulled back across Canada for the World to see how badly LTC has been under funded, under staffed and ignored during years of our cries for help!

Billboards, media, letters sent, word of mouth, contacting our MLAs; we exhausted all avenues to get the attention of Provincial and Federal Government across Canada for someone to pay attention. No one gave LTC/Home Care Frontline workers the time of day about any of our concerns!

As of today, April 22, 2020, the Province of Saskatchewan has minimal cases of COVID-19 in a LTC Facility, Home Care or Private Care homes in Saskatoon.

We could be in the same situation as our Eastern Provinces in Ontario and Quebec! LTC was ignored there as well. And it now is obvious to all Canadian Citizens and all families just how much we were ignored.

Premier Scott Moe, Frontline Workers in LTC/Home Care make our Saskatchewan Government Officials look good at a time like this. We deserve to be thanked, compensated, recognized and respected for putting our lives on the line everyday and working tiredly for our Seniors and Disabled in our Province during this pandemic. We have worked tiredly to keep our Seniors and Disabled healthy and safe to ease the burden of overloading our Acute Care.

WE are all the SHA employees that have been denied a pay raise for 4 years and ignored by our Government. WE make our Government look good by the number of COVID-19 cases Saskatchewan has.

I consistently read comments of praises and thanks the citizens of Saskatchewan send you.

I agree with the comments of praises and thanks sent your way, for the most part. However; I feel those praises and showing of gratitude are because your Saskatchewan Healthcare employees have done their part for our Province, especially working with very very limited PPE at our disposal. As tired and afraid as we all were, we did not quit caring for our citizens.

Please, do not ignore us next time we want to talk!

 

Respectfully

Marte Olsen

President's Message: Letter to the Premier

Good afternoon Mr. Premier,

I hope you are doing well during the COVID-19 pandemic as we all navigate these new and unprecedented times.

I  would like to identify who the “others”, as you refer to them in previous media events, are who are  working in healthcare beyond the doctors and nurses.   I would respectfully request that you consider their incredible contributions and sacrifices to bending/flattening the curve of the cases of COVID-19 in this pandemic.  There is an incredibly diverse group of people who are keeping health care running and ensuring that we are not overwhelmed by the pandemic.

  • Medical and Diagnostic Technologists and assistants complete tests that identify not only COVID-19 but other diseases and pathogens that are still affecting our population: cancer, HIV, MRI, CT, and seasonal flu are among their tests. 
  • Licensed Practical Nurses provide dressing changes, dispense medications, work in operating rooms and emergency rooms, long-term care and home care to provide compassionate hands-on skilled care to our patients, clients and residents. 
  • Continuing Care Assistants work in acute care, long term care and home care providing hands on services like dressing, bathing, medications, lifting and repositioning with care and compassion. 
  • Security, maintenance and tradespeople continue to keep our facilities running efficiently, to set up COVID units in hospitals across the province and keeping staff and patients safe. 
  • Food services prepare and provide nutritious meals to patients, long-term care residents and homecare recipients. 
  • Environmental services staff perform enhanced cleaning  to ensure that our facilities  do not harbor and are not a vector for transmission of any virus. 
  • Administration staff keep every part of the health system connected and communicating – this includes acute care, long-term care, home care, community care and other primary care ward and department support, payroll, finance, and schedulers who ensure that our facilities are staffed & paid properly to provide the skilled professional care that is key to all health care services.  
  • Of particular note are those working in supply chain, materials management, and sterile processing who ensure that we have the health care materials and resources, such as PPE equipment and supplies, necessary to keep us all safe and to provide quality healthcare  that Saskatchewan residents have come to expect.

This is only a representative sample of the  ‘other’ that you refer to…there are many more particular jobs that cover tens of thousands of health care  provider workers.  We are proud to acknowledge that there are over 35,000 frontline staff who are part of the ‘health care team’…across various unions.

SEIU-West is very proud of the work that members perform every day and I believe we are heroes not only during this pandemic, but every day of the year. 

On behalf of these professionals, I ask that you take a moment to acknowledge the varied work that is being performed under some incredibly tense and stressful circumstances. They go into work every day, not sure if they will come into contact with COVID-19 or if they will take it home with them to their families. They are the people your government asked to take a 3.5% cut in compensation, and a large number of them are working without a collective agreement. 

Yes, their last pay increase was April 1, 2016, yet, they continue to show up and lead our health care system. They do this for their patients, clients and residents. We should all appreciate their efforts and do our best to keep them safe.   I think their efforts are worthy of our praise and acknowledgement, don’t you?

 

Respectfully,

Barbara Cape
President
SEIU-West
#200-747 46th St. W
Saskatoon, Sask
S7L 6A1
MRC Toll Free: 1.888.999.SEIU (7348) ext. 2298 | URL: www.seiuwest.ca

COVID-19: Staff Cohorting

On April 17, 2020, we annouced that we've reached a Letter of Understanding (LOU) related to staff redeployment and cohorting between all five health care unions, the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), and Saskatchewan Association of Health Care Organizations (SAHO). 

Take action

Events
Virtual Bulletin Board
Contact

Connect with us