Letter to the Premier - Marte Olsen, Unit Clerk (August, 2020)
PREMIER SCOTT MOE
Thank you for keeping your finger on the pulse of the spread of the COVID 19 virus. I truly hope that you are able to keep it under control in our Province. This pandemic is not going to magically disappear and the reality is we could all be in difficulty at any given moment! All we have to do is look at our neighbours to the South of us to know this!
When our world was notified we were in a pandemic situation, I knew immediately, Health Care workers were going to be front and centre to keep our Saskatchewan citizens safe, healthy and cared for. I knew we were going to bear the brunt of this pandemic and significant pressure would be put on us!
I am a single parent of a daughter who is an adult now. I knew my responsibility was to prepare for the worst outcome of possibly contracting this virus. I knew I had to have “the talk” with my daughter! As a front line LTC Employee, I cannot work from home, I don’t sit behind a desk in an office with no one coming in, I can’t work virtually and I don’t have the option of applying for the CERB program and stay at home.
Immediately before the pandemic provincial lock down, I updated my Will and gave a copy to my daughter. I made sure I had Power of Attorney in place. I tied up all my financial and legal documentation just in case I was one of the front line workers that would come in contact with the virus and not fare well with the outcome of it.
I want to tell you my most unpleasant part of working as a front line Health Care employee during this time is occasionally seeing my daughter, standing at a distance and not being able to give her a hug good-bye and to always remember to tell her I love her! The hardest part of being me right now, working on the front line of Health Care, is acting strong and not scared when your child phones everyday and asks if you are ok! The hardest part of being a front line Health Care worker is wanting to sit down and have a cry and being afraid you won’t be able to stop crying if you start! The hardest part of being a front line Health Care worker is turning off the thoughts and fear in your head when you go to bed at night and trying to get enough sleep to be able to have the energy to put your feet on the floor in the morning and start the next day all over again! The hardest part of being a front line Health Care worker is seeing the fear in your co-workers eyes, looking at them and saying “we will all be ok” knowing full well, that might not be true!!
At the outset, I had to make sure I had a supply of sanitization wipesfor disinfecting my home, hand sanitizer, face masks to use when I grocery shopped, clothes detergent ready for disinfecting my clothing after working all day.
I am sure I am not the only Health Care employee that had to personally “prepare” for this pandemic. I want you to know the preparation I went through and continue to do. This is what it’s like working on the front line of Health Care now!
SEIU Health Care workers have been crushed by the lack of understanding, respect and empathy that you, Scott Moe, Jim Reiter and the whole Sk. Party Government have shown all of us! I am angry knowing that designated Government officials sitting behind their desks or communicating virtually from the safety of their homes have the gall to deny SEIU front line Health Care workers a fair contract! I think anyone who is the Premier of our Province should in good conscience be standing up for the health care workers who are facing COVID daily! I think Government officials making the decision onwhether to add resources to the current insufficient mandate set by government need to understand that fairness should govern – continuing on the path of accepting cost of living increases but denying those to us is NOT fair. SEIU Provincial Health Care workers deserve a fair contract; if you disagree I suggest you (and other Government officials) should climb out of your business attire, put away your damn calculators, get out from behind your desks and the safety of your homes, throw on some scrubs and get out here and pitch in on the front line! Then all of you would know what it’s like to be us!!
SEIU Members are honest, hard working Saskatchewan citizens that contribute to the Saskatchewan economy and are paying the price personally and continue to pay the price day after day in order to care for our patients, clients and residents! And our families are paying the price also! Most importantly, may I point out to you, our Premier, that our families are as important to us as your family is to you!
I see and hear you accepting the accolades directed your way. You aren’t tackling this pandemic and keeping it under control on your own – you aren’t required to do continuous masking, nor are you providing hands-on care to COVID patients! SEIU Health Care workers are getting sore backs from you leaning on us and taking all the credit! And stop calling us heroes! We are all tired of being manipulated by your lip service!!
Where would you be without us? Think about that for a long moment!
I request a reply from you – and please don’t tell me that you don’t want to interfere with our collective bargaining; your mandate is indeed interfering with any successful negotiations. Your stubborn resistance to add any resources and hold firm on your ZEROES is what is causing the problem. We all deserve better and we are all worth more than ZERO!
Stay healthy and safe.
Proud Member of SEIU