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.

SEIU-West and the other healthcare provider unions have reached an agreement and signed a formal Letter of Understanding (LOU) with the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) to determine a course of action to follow should there be no replacement Cooks or Assistant Cooks available during the pandemic. The following outline will describe the use of Food Service Workers (FSW) in these emergent circumstances.

  1. The LOU first guarantees that the employer will follow all normal replacement practices including the use of call in and overtime.
  2. If the shift cannot be filled by either a Cook or an Assistant Cook, the employer shall offer the shift to the most senior FSW.
  3. If no FSW accepts the shift, the junior FSW will be assigned the work. In order to be compensated for these additional duties, FSW who accept the assignment shall be compensated at step one of the Assistant Cook classification.
  4. All of this is based on the understanding that the employer has prepared (ready to serve) meals available that only need reheating to serve.
  5. The employer will provide step by step standard work for the preparation of these meals.
  6. It is also expected that the FSW accepting the assignment will be, as possible, replaced.

This process will remain in effect for 30 days following the date of which the Government of Saskatchewan shall rescind the state of emergency unless mutually agreed to extend.

Should you have questions or want a copy of the LOU, please don’t hesitate to contact the Member Resource Center at 1-888-999-7348 Ext 2298 or via the ‘Contact’ page on the SEIU-West website.

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