Saskatchewan–The Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board (SLRB) has delivered a stern rebuke to Canadian Blood Services (CBS). In a decision released on April 6, the SLRB ruled that CBS engaged in unfair labour practices in their negotiations with SEIU-West, the union representing approximately 70 workers at CBS facilities in Saskatoon and Regina. The workers have been without a contract for five years.
“CBS loves to present a shiny face to their donors and the public,” says Barbara Cape, President of SEIU-West. “Our members, like the donor-services staff who meet you at the clinic door, have seen a very different face at the bargaining table. And now the Labour Board has seen that side of CBS too—and has ordered CBS to come back to the table and engage in good-faith bargaining”
CBS’s conduct, in the SLRB’s words, “crossed over into an unacceptable avoidance of its collective bargaining responsibilities.” The SLRB specifically noted that CBS ignored and stalled SEIU-West’s formal requests to bargain for more than 14 months. When the Employer finally came to the table, the LRB found, they declined to respond to the Union’s carefully developed proposals and refused to discuss wage rates. These efforts to “subvert, frustrate, or avoid” the collective bargaining process are, the LRB found, a clear violation of the Saskatchewan Employment Act (SEA).
The SLRB ordered CBS to post the SLRB decision in the workplace for staff to see and make itself available for bargaining without further delay. The parties are scheduled to return to the table on April 12 and 13 to try and find a solution with the help of a conciliator.
“We are determined to come out of these negotiations with an agreement that we can put to a vote of our members,” Cape continues. “We are not in a mood to make more concessions.”
SEIU-West members, and their supporters will gather at the Saskatoon premises of CBS on Wednesday, April 13 at 3:30 pm, and at the Regina premises of CBS on Thursday April 14 at 3:00 pm to celebrate the LRB victory and show CBS our determination to get a fair contract for our members.
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.
For more information, contact:
Communications Coordinator, SEIU-West
306-652-1011 ext. 2244