Even though public health orders have been lifted effective July 11, 2021 in Saskatchewan, we all should remember that the pandemic is not ‘over’.

The reality is there is a portion of the population who are not vaccinated, there are low testing numbers, and there are rising concerns about new COVID Variants, so we need to remain cautious.

At the time of this message being posted, The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) still requires masking in all of their facilities.

The SHA and other employers are working on their reopening plans, as are we, and we will provide updates as they become available. 

For now, the main offices remain closed to the public and anyone entering is required to wear masks and follow office safety protocols, Unit SEIU-West offices must continue to follow the safety guidelines put in place, and we are not holding in-person events.

These measures are being taken with the view to keep our members and staff safe and we will continue to take our guidance from the provincial pandemic reports, recommendations from the World Health Organization and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

These next days and weeks will be freeing without the requirement to wear masks in public.  

However, we recommend that you do an assessment of the risks before you go without your mask:

  • Are you vaccinated?
  • Are you in a location with large groups of people?
  • Has there been any recent outbreaks in the area/location?

We will keep our COVID webpage live and updated as we make efforts to implement a cautious return to normal operations in our offices.

Members are invited to use our website contact form with any alerts or concerns over the coming weeks and months.

Media Release: SEIU-West Calls for a Long-Term Care Overhaul

For Immediate Release - February 2, 2021

Saskatoon – In the wake of the disturbing COVID-19 mortality rates coming out of Extendicare Parkside, SEIU-West is renewing their calls for a full-scale overhaul of the Saskatchewan long-term care system. The SEIU-West campaign to #EndUnderstaffing evolved as a consequence of the last decade with budget-driven resources eroding the quality of care for our seniors.

Media Release: Political Grudge Match Ignores Fairness for Health Care

 

Political Grudge Match Ignores Fairness for Health Care

Saskatoon – This week, Premier Scott Moe confirmed the end of March as the target timeline for the vaccination of all who are living and working in long-term care and personal care homes in Saskatchewan. 

“Our members are asking whether this is a pipe dream,” says Barbara Cape, President of SEIU-West. “It seems this is just another opportunity to criticize the Prime Minister’s office and the federal government for the pace of shipment of vaccines to Saskatchewan. We hope that political games are not being played on the backs of exhausted, broken and traumatized essential workers.”

This sense of skepticism comes as a result of failed leadership on the vaccine roll out plan and COVID-19 related issues since the beginning of the pandemic.

“We have been witness to a number of broken promises from Premier Moe – whether it be an increase in the number of Continuing Care Assistants to the sector or recruitment strategy within provincial lab services,” adds Cape. “Our skepticism has been reinforced when a sizable portion of essential workers continue to be denied access to the federal funds intended to be provided as a wage top-up. Does Scott Moe really believe there are workers in any health care setting who are not essential at this point of the Saskatchewan COVID experience?”

SEIU-West members working for the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) have been raising concerns with the Saskatchewan Temporary Wage Supplement program which was introduced unilaterally by Scott Moe last spring. At that time, it specifically excluded both hospital and home care workers from automatic eligibility. The more recent phase, announced again by Moe late last year, specifically excludes all hospital workers unless they work in an integrated health care facility (eg. a hospital and long-term care home under the same roof) and was only offered for a two month window during a devastating second surge of COVID infections and hospitalizations.   

“We have advised our members that neither SHA nor the Ministry of Health have offered us the opportunity to discuss the program or influence it in a meaningful way,” continues Cape. “We know from the Canadian Centre of Policy Alternatives (CCPA) report released on January 26, that the province is sitting on $49.4 million of federal monies that were intended for essential workers.

“On behalf of our membership, I’m asking the public and Scott Moe’s Sask Party government to appreciate the incredible strength of our front line heroes working in health care and community-based sectors. They are working hard to protect our health, safety and lives, yet they feel largely abandoned by our provincial leaders,” states Cape.  

Service Employees International Union West (SEIU-West) represents over 13,000 people across Saskatchewan. They include people who work in health care, education, municipalities, community-based organizations, retirement homes and other sectors. They are united under one colour – purple – and one union – SEIU-West. Visit PurpleWorks.ca to find out more about SEIU-West members.

Download this media release as a PDF.

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For more information contact:

Christine Miller, Communications
Phone: 306-477-8733

New Campaign: Hey Moe, Where's Our Dough?

A sizable portion of essential workers continue to be denied access to the federal funds intended to be provided as a wage top-up... for essential workers. Saskatchewan is the only province in Canada where frontline and essential health care workers are receiving the federally-funded wage supplement based on the facility you work in, not the job you perform.

Why are workers in Saskatchewan hospitals, mental health and a myriad of other healthcare-providing facilities being left out?

How did Scott Moe decide that the housekeeper scrubbing floors in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) was somehow less essential than the housekeeper working in long-term care? How, a year into this pandemic, does he not understand that they are both essential, as is every single worker in the health care system? It's not even Moe's money, yet he decided to withhold it, apparently just because he can. And what’s he doing with the unspent $49 million that was targeted for essential workers?

It makes zero sense and it is very unfair.

Picking and choosing some workers to reward and other workers to deny is just one more way the Sask Party government degrades the incredibly hard work you all do, every day. It's one more method they're using to grind you down.

We recognize how frustrating this is; working together let’s try to use one voice to effectively force the Premier to do the right thing and extend the temporary wage supplement to ALL essential workers, retroactively and in the future; the supplement needs to be extended to those working in hospitals, public health and community-based organizations (CBOs) as well.

Check out this new advocacy campaign we're calling "Hey Moe, Where’s Our Dough?".

We need as many members as possible to take a picture, preferably in work clothes, holding a handwritten sign (8.5x11" is fine) with a message for the Premier. So if you work at Canadian Blood Services, we want to hear from you. If you work at St. Paul’s Hospital, we want to hear from you. If you work in a group home or at Sask Impaired Driver’s Treatment Center, we want to hear from you! Each one of you going to work every day is an essential worker, and we want to hear from you!

You may decide to write your own message. Or you could choose one of these:

- I received the temporary wage supplement and so should everyone else
- I’m essential but I did NOT receive the wage supplement
- Where's the money for essential workers wage top-ups going, if not to essential workers?
- Scott Moe thinks I’m not essential
- I deserve the Saskatchewan temporary wage supplement

Once you've taken your photo, please send it to [email protected], where we will share them across our multimedia platforms, to make all aware of what we think about this ridiculous decision, including the Premier.

Here are a couple of examples of what we are looking for:

On behalf of all members, we thank you so much in advance for taking the time out to help us fight for you and your brothers and sisters.

Together, united, we will never stop fighting for fairness for everybody.

Media Release: Tentative Agreement Reached - SEIU-West Members to Vote

For Immediate Release - November 20, 2020

Tentative Agreement Reached – SEIU-West Members to Vote

Saskatoon – After over 1300 days without a new collective agreement, SEIU-West members achieved a tentative agreement (TA) with SAHO and the Employers late on Thursday November 19th.

“Our members have been engaged and vocal and active in sending letters to decision makers and local papers; signing and submitting petitions to the government; holding physically distanced public #DoneWaiting demonstrations; and meeting with their MLAs (prior to the pandemic). All of these actions have made a difference in getting us to this point,” says Barbara Cape, President of SEIU-West. “Bargaining in the midst of a worldwide pandemic has been challenging. For the SEIU-West bargaining committee, ensuring the work our members do on the front line of this pandemic is recognized has been our priority."

MEDIA RELEASE: Stronger COVID Guidelines Welcome

For Immediate Release - November 18, 2020

Stronger COVID Guidelines Welcome

Regina – Yesterday the Government of Saskatchewan announced new public health measures to combat rapidly-rising COVID numbers. Most notably, masks must now be worn in all communities, private gatherings are now limited to 5 people instead of 10, and visits to care home residents will be allowed only for compassionate reasons. Restaurants, bars, gyms, and places of worship will remain open, but these groups will be consulted to develop safer practices. Premier Scott Moe described these measures as “not a lockdown” but rather a “one-month slowdown” in hopes of flattening the COVID curve enough to permit Christmas gatherings.

SEIU-West welcomes these measures, but is concerned they don’t do enough to acknowledge and relieve the additional burdens health sector workers have faced, and will increasingly face during this second wave of the pandemic.

“We welcome the province-wide mask order,” says Barb Cape, President of SEIU-West. “We hope this is a signal that the Government is listening to the voices of health care providers. The virus doesn’t check what a town’s population is before dropping by. Restrictions on family gatherings are important, but not having similar restrictions on restaurants, bars, athletic/recreation activities, and church services allows for another vector for infection and spread of this dangerous virus.”

It’s incredibly unfortunate that we’ve had to move to restricting visitors to long-term care and personal care homes,” Cape continues. “If anyone understands the impact this has on residents and their families, it is health care staff. The challenge now is for health care staff to keep residents active, engaged and happy.  Given the chronic understaffing that prevails in long term care, this becomes a challenge exclusively for health care staff.”

Cape calls for the Saskatchewan government to offer a temporary wage subsidy to all health care workers. “Premier Moe confirmed in the media conference yesterday that our government is sitting on tens of millions in unused federal COVID funding. Now is the right time to draw on that for the benefit of those who are on the front line fighting COVID in the hospitals, LTC/personal care homes, home care, and community based organizations. Our members are exhausted - workloads have ballooned, emotional and physical burdens have taken a toll, and the stress caused by this pandemic continues to be overwhelming.  It is time for a show of real appreciation for the front line faced with COVID and its impact on the health care system.  At the same time, relief is necessary - we would encourage a slowdown in SHA services in order to provide a moment for the health care system to regain a sense of equilibrium in labs, hospital services, ICU’s/COVID units, and in long term care.”

Service Employees International Union West (SEIU-West) represents over 13,000 people across Saskatchewan. They include people who work in health care, education, municipalities, community-based organizations, retirement homes and other sectors. They are joined by one colour – purple – and one union – SEIU-West. Visit PurpleWorks.ca to find out more about SEIU-West members.

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For more information, contact:

Shawna Colpitts

Director, Political Action & Education, SEIU-West

Phone: 306 652-1011 ext 2224

Click here to download a PDF of the latest SEIU-West media release - Stronger COVID Guidelines Welcome

Media Release: Take Politics Out of COVID

For Immediate Release - November 13, 2020

Let’s Take the Politics out of COVID

Regina – Today the Government of Saskatchewan announced they were introducing new public health measures to address Saskatchewan’s rising number of COVID cases. The measures are a patchwork of weak rules driven more by the political needs of the Sask Party than by science or the experiences of front line health providers.

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