For Immediate Release, August 12, 2020
Saskatoon – Today, SEIU-West members are demonstrating outside health care facilities in Saskatoon to emphasize their frustration with the lack of progress in bargaining due to the Sask Party government’s refusal to negotiate a fair deal.
“We know better when our government says they don’t have a role to play in bargaining – it’s just not true,” says Barbara Cape, President of SEIU-West who is at the St. Paul’s Hospital demonstration location. “Our members are doing their best every day to provide skilled professional care – they have never stopped even when faced with the dangers of COVID-19.”
“At the same time they are deemed essential workers, they are being paid 2016 wage rates; most are being told they don’t qualify for a pandemic-related wage supplement; and our government stubbornly refuses to add any resources to their insulting offer that was soundly rejected by our members over a year ago,” continues Cape. “We’re done waiting for a fair deal.”
The members of SEIU-West are following Public Health orders by physically distancing, wearing masks, and practicing good hand hygiene. All of the demonstrations will occur in permitted areas with a maximum of 30 members in any given area.
“We know our members are held to a different standard when it comes to infection control, so we’ve ensured that there are masks and hand sanitizer available on every line,” says Janice Platzke, Treasurer of SEIU-West who is at the Sherbrooke Community Centre. “At this long-term care facility, we want to allow maximum participation in a safe, responsible fashion. It is important for our members to participate; they are feeling exhausted by the increase in their workloads and disrespected by the unwillingness of our government to step up and invest in front line health care workers.”
Cape adds, “Our members chose a health care career because their passion is delivering skilled professional care for those who need it. However, our government continues to understaff all of our health care facilities to the point that our members, even as they’re run off their feet, simply cannot keep up and as a direct result, people are getting hurt. Our members need the public to understand that they are done waiting – the disrespect must end.”
SEIU-West members working for the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) have been without a contract since March 31, 2017.
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:
Christine Miller, Communications Coordinator