Health Care Providers are #DoneWaiting for Fairness
Saskatoon –Tired of being ignored, and after months of asking Cabinet Ministers to move off their mandate, a group of SEIU-West members who work in health care visited the Saskatoon Cabinet office today to demand that someone from the Sask Party government hear their request for a fair deal.
Instead, these hardworking health care workers and their advocates were escorted from the government’s office by Saskatoon police.
“The Sask Party can’t hide behind the police – who we’re quite certain had better things to do today and we thank them for their service – forever,” says President of SEIU-West Barbara Cape. “We’ve waited over 1,200 days for a fair contract offer from this government – that’s much too long and we were not leaving without some kind of positive action.”
“Today our goal was to secure a meeting with the government decision-makers who direct the SAHO bargaining team, in order to let them know that SEIU-West members are serious about getting a fair collective agreement,” says Janice Platzke, Treasurer of SEIU-West. “We are done waiting.”
SEIU-West members rejected the tentative agreement mandate in April of 2019 because this monetary offer does not even match cost of living increases, making it a step backwards.
“All our members want is to confidently provide quality health care that is timely, compassionate, thoughtful and professional, but in order for them to be able to do so our health care system must be well resourced and its workers adequately compensated,” adds Cape. “We needed them to understand that in order to retain health care workers and to attract new ones, they must make this investment in human capital, and that investment will pay solid dividends.”
Instead of meeting with SEIU-West members, the Sask Party had the police come and escort out the small group of people.
“The Premier refusing to listen to our members is a real slap in the face for these people, who in the past, he’s thanked publicly during the pandemic,” continues Cape. “It’s shameful. But their actions make it clear that this government does not value the essential work our members or any member of the public service does for the people of this province.
“I want to be clear – keeping us at a bargaining table and stalling negotiations is no longer an option.”
For years the Sask Party government has dismissed the concerns of its own front line workers, ignored understaffing across the sector, showed no respect or appreciation for capacity limits in our health care system, has made no connection between their ability to recruit staff and wages and working conditions, and has stubbornly resisted any movement on the monetary offer from 2019.
SEIU-West members working for the 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