For Immediate Release - June 16, 2020
Regina – Members of SEIU-West were on hand at the Saskatchewan Legislature to tell the public about what is happening in our health care system and how utterly dismissive and unresponsive the current Saskatchewan government has been when it comes to the front line experience. It’s time for our members to share what’s truly happening in health care with the public.
“I was with a group who met with the Minister of Health in January of 2018; we identified challenges in hospitals, long-term care, and home care including the growing problem of recruiting and retaining staff,” says Colleen Denniss, a Continuing Care Assistant at Rose Villa and a constituent of Rosetown-Elrose, the seat that Health Minister Jim Reiter currently occupies. “At that meeting Mr. Reiter committed to doing a Walk-A-Day in My Shoes with our staff at Rose Villa. Unfortunately, this never happened. Myself, and co-workers have since asked for a meeting with our MLA; this has not happened either.”
This lack of meaningful dialogue with stakeholders who understand the issues in this sector will not lend to improved quality health care service for patient, clients, and residents. Member leaders of SEIU-West have concluded that the government has their own picture of health care and it’s not based on reality.
“The government cannot have it both ways – they cannot say we are essential, but then treat us like we have no value within our health care system.” adds Carla Saworski, Medical Laboratory Technologist at St. Paul’s Hospital. “I’m a member of the SEIU-West bargaining team and when we hear from SAHO (Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations) that they cannot negotiate any monetary improvements because the government refuses to extend any further funding – the government is actually the obstacle to us getting a fair collective agreement!”
SEIU-West members believe that challenges with recruiting new staff and retaining current staff are directly related to being without a collective agreement for over three years.
“How can we attract and retain qualified professionals in our health care system, when our members are working at 2016 rates of pay? This, combined with understaffing throughout the whole health care system makes it an unattractive career choice. The lack of engagement in the recent CEO Tour of long-term care facilities shows a profound level of disregard for the need to invest in frontline health care. We need to reverse this trend,” explains Cape.
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