For Immediate Release - October 31, 2019
Saskatoon – Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe received an open letter today from the Service Employees International Union-West (SEIU-West), urging him to stand up for Saskatchewan health care providers. Based on statements Mr. Moe used in his recent “New Deal with Canada” letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and in the October 23rd Throne Speech, SEIU-West called on him to improve the current state of health care with “a New Deal with Health Providers”.
The open letter highlights critical short-staffing issues in Saskatchewan’s health sector, including at Saskatoon’s Royal University Hospital, described in the letter as “the province’s major tertiary care centre, and a critical resource for the adjacent Children’s Hospital.” The letter asks how Moe’s government proposes “to recruit and retain health providers to work in understaffed facilities that are experiencing shockingly high rates of workplace injury and violence.”
“The Throne Speech talks about investing in public services to provide a better life for Saskatchewan people,” Cape added. “We urge the Premier to keep this promise, by investing in the people who provide the vast majority of front-line care.”
“Due to crushing workloads, ever increasing complex care, and less staff to work, the health care system is set to fail,” continued Cape. “We have asked the public we serve to magnify our calls for safety in the care environment. We need to stop the cycle of understaffed/overworked/injured by creating a health care work environment that attracts people to a health care career. We challenge our Premier to take the initial steps and to respond to our call for real human resource planning.”
SEIU-West’s 12,000 health care providers have been without a contract since March 31, 2017. In spring 2019, SEIU-West members strongly rejected the offer of 0%/0%/1%/2%/2% the Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations (SAHO) proposed.
“SAHO is in constant communication with the government during bargaining,” said SEIU-West President Barb Cape, the letter’s author. “No matter what initiatives we’ve brought to the table, SAHO maintains the government’s mandate of rollbacks - two years of zero wage increases and a contract that doesn’t even cover the cost of living. Our members are clear that this is unacceptable. They know the Premier and other members of the legislature gave themselves a 5.8% pay increase over the last two years. They know the base salary for Saskatchewan MLAs has increased by over 50% since the Saskatchewan Party first formed government in 2007. All our members want is a Collective Agreement that lets them afford to work safely in health care.”
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. Purple works in our communities! Visit PurpleWorks.ca to find out more about SEIU-West members.
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For more information, contact:
Jolomi Gagar, Project Coordinator
Phone: 306-652-1011 ext. 2225