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Media Release: Hey Moe! Respect Us Protect Us Pay Us – Campaign Launch

Hey Moe! Respect Us Protect Us Pay Us – Campaign Launch

(Saskatchewan, Canada) – Today SEIU-West proudly formally launches its newest summer-activism campaign: Hey Moe! #RespectUsProtectUsPayUs.

“As Premier Scott Moe continues to push Saskatchewan to ‘the way it should be,’ he and his government need to remember who bore the brunt of this pandemic and helped get the province to this point – front line essential workers,” says SEIU-West President Cape. “There has been extensive damage done to our public service workforce in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that needs to be repaired.”

Accompanied by a digital and mass email campaign, billboards across Saskatchewan and other multimedia outlets, SEIU-West’s HeyMoe.ca campaign is about telling Scott Moe and his Cabinet that there is an urgent need to repair and invest in public services. Billboards across Saskatchewan are running these messages… except for Directwest billboards, owned by Scott Moe’s government, which refused to run the message, declaring it “divisive”.

There is some controversy from one advertiser about our campaign,” explains Cape. “How, exactly, does a simple request for respect, protection and fair wages for the thousands of essential workers serving Saskatchewan’s front line today offend this government-owned company’s guidelines?”

SEIU-West members, like all essential front line workers across Saskatchewan, have been providing hands-on care and in-person services since the very start of the pandemic, enduring extraordinary personal, mental, physical and financial hurdles including the absence of and/or insufficient personal protective equipment; inconsistent application of protocols; isolation and lack of mental health supports; insufficient staffing levels; and unfair, arbitrary distribution of the Government of Canada’s temporary wage supplement.

COVID-19 has gravely injured a public service that was broken prior to the pandemic’s arrival – now it needs time, money and leadership to heal.

Cape adds “We are asking everyone in Saskatchewan who supported and applauded essential workers as heroes, to please sign onto the letter at HeyMoe.ca and send a message to Premier Moe that we need to act now by investing significant funding into our public services.”

The HeyMoe.ca campaign’s hashtag, #RespectUsProtectUsPayUs, demands Saskatchewan front line workers be:

  • Respected by hiring more staff so workers are not running to provide care and services to the vulnerable;
  • Protected by investing in mental health assistance, personal protective equipment, and the resources required to ensure the workplace is truly safe;
  • Paid fairly for their jobs, so Saskatchewan’s public services can recruit and retain the qualified and professional people to provide the services we all rely on daily.

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.

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To download and print a PDF copy of this release please click here.

For more information, contact:

Christine Miller

Communications

306-477-8733

Read President Barb Cape's July 9, 2021 letter to Directwest CEO

Read Directwest CEO's July 12, 2021 reply by clicking here

Read President Barb Cape's July 16, 2021 followup letter to Don Morgan, Minister of Labour Relations and Responsible for Sasktel, by clicking here.

Media Release: Health Provider Unions Join Forces To Celebrate Licensed Practical Nurses During Nursing Week

May 13, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(SASKATCHEWAN) As Saskatchewan celebrates National Nursing Week, health care provider unions are urging the Saskatchewan government to remember and recognize one key component of the nursing team that is often overlooked – Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs).

“In Saskatchewan, LPNs are front line care nurses that are responsible for managing patient care plans in collaboration with registered nurses and doctors,” said Tracey Sauer, SGEU president. “They perform much more than basic patient care, and are often specialized in critical areas, such as hemodialysis care, peri-operative care and advanced orthopedics. Many LPNs also received additional training and have been an integral part of the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out.”

There are approximately 3,400 LPNs working in long-term, acute and home care across Saskatchewan. Each one of them has benefitted from higher learning and is certified by the Saskatchewan Association of Licensed Practical Nurses (SALPN), under a scope of practice set up in the LPN Act.

“Despite training and regulation, many LPNs are not able to work to their full scope of practice because of employer policies limiting the role of LPNs,” said Sandra Seitz, CUPE 5430 president. “This means there are dedicated health care professionals who are unable to use all their skills in providing patient care. This is a concern every year, but especially in a pandemic that has seen resources across the health care system stretched thin.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been greater public appreciation of the work done by nurses and all health care workers, but LPNs are often not acknowledged for their contributions.

“Health care providers who are working through the pandemic are rightfully being seen as heroes – but that recognition needs to extend to every member of the health care team,” said Barbara Cape, President of SEIU-West. “This Nursing Week, we call on the government and the employer to acknowledge LPNs and work on a strategy to bring all members of the health care team to their full scope of practice.”

Together, SGEU, SEIU-West and CUPE represent approximately 30,000 health care providers working in acute care, home care and long-term care across Saskatchewan.

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To download a printable PDF copy of this release please click here.

For more information, please contact:
Carolyn Rebeyka
Communications Officer, SGEU
Phone: 306-519-2903

Christine Miller
Communications, SEIU-West
Phone: 306-477-8733

Tria Donaldson
Communications Representative, CUPE
Phone: 306-531-6247

Media Release: Health Provider Unions call on government for transparency, accountability & support for provincial lab system

For Immediate Release - April 28, 2021

(Saskatchewan) SGEU, SEIU-West and CUPE – three Saskatchewan unions representing health care providers – are reminding Premier Scott Moe and the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) about their unfulfilled promise made in August 2020 to recruit 73 positions in the provincial lab system for added capacity to assist with the ongoing strains of COVID.

Media Release: Provincial Budget Ignores Realities of COVID

Provincial Budget Ignores Realities of COVID

April 8, 2021 (Regina, SK) – Despite what we hear in the media about the provincial government’s spending plan for this fiscal year, it’s all too obvious that the priorities in this budget do not coincide with any of the social programs or ministries hardest hit by COVID-19.

“We have noted that the lowest budgetary increases were to K-12 education, followed by the health sector at 5-6%. On the flip side, there is an over 500% increase to the Ministry of Trade and Export. This is telling when we look at our provincial priorities over the last year,” says Barbara Cape, President of SEIU-West.

“Specifically, this budget provides no comfort to our members who work in Community-Based Organizations (CBO),” adds Cape. “For the last 13 years, our members who work in the CBO sector have campaigned vigorously for multi-year funding. This government has ignored the ongoing hardships that they face due to a lack of stability.”

SEIU-West CBO members provide valuable client-facing front line care and services in group homes, crisis response, addiction recovery facilities and day care centres and regularly face the challenge of provincial funding running out.

“On the failed promise of hiring 300 Continuing Care Assistants (CCAs), a mere 5% increase to the CCA positions in long-term care was insufficient at best; now in this budget reveals they will not keep their commitment – rather we see a ‘down payment’ of only 100, potentially, during this fiscal year,” continues Cape. “This is unconscionable as the need is so very pronounced; a fact made so abundantly clear during our prior year of long-term care tragedies during a global pandemic.

“The additional strain on our health care system due to the onslaught of sickness and death during COVID has not been addressed in this budget. We are not certain how our members in the health sector can place any trust in our government. We question how the $56 million allocated to the Temporary Wage Supplement in 2020-21 was spent as there is no transparency here. We know that it was not offered equitably to all front line essential workers in health care.”

The Saskatchewan Temporary Wage Supplement has not been offered to health care providers who work in hospitals and only included those who work in home care during the second round of payments.

“Finally, our members in education support continue to suffer from the previous funding cuts in this sector; an increase of 2.3% does not even measure inflation. COVID has presented a need for added student supports; this funding demonstrates that our provincial government are unwilling to fund these supports. It’s a reckless dismissal of education quality concerns voiced by students, parents and those who work in the sector and will haunt our province for years to come.”

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.

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For more information, contact:

Christine Miller

Communications

306-477-8733

To print a downloadable version of this release, please click here. 

Joint Media Release: CBOs to Sask Party - Is This Year Our Lucky 13?

 

CBOs to Sask Party: Is this year our Lucky 13?

Unions call for multi-year funding for CBOs in provincial budget

 

For Immediate Release

 

March 30, 2021, REGINA – In a letter sent today to Finance Minister Donna Harpauer, CUPE, SEIU-West, and SGEU are asking that next week’s provincial budget include commitments to multi-year funding for community-based organizations.

The letter, titled “CBOs to Sask Party: Is this year our Lucky 13?” points out that thirteen years ago, Harpauer – then the Minister of Social Services – held a consultation with CBOs to identify challenges in the sector and hear ideas on how the government might address them.

At that time, CBOs, unions and workers told the Sask Party that single-year funding was one of their biggest challenges to providing quality services in the community, and proposed a move to a multi-year funding model.

Thirteen years later, CBOs are still waiting for an answer – and in the meantime, workers and the vulnerable people they serve are left struggling needlessly. As the letter notes, “Getting one year of funding at a time makes it impossible to provide stable, reliable services to clients. Organizations never know from one year to the next if they’ll be able to keep their doors open to provide the meaningful services that make our communities stronger.”

With the provincial budget set to be released on April 6th, unions representing CBO workers are asking: will this be the year the Finance Minister steps up and gives CBOs the multi-year funding they deserve?

You can download and print a copy of the letter to Harpauer by clicking here.

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For media inquiries please contact:

Amy Huziak, SGEU
306-530-5683

Tammy Robert, SEIU-West
306-652-1011 x 2225

Nathan Markwart, CUPE Saskatchewan
306-537-9426

 

Media Release: Health Care Workers and COVID Vaccination - What Moe Doesn’t Know

 

Health Care Workers and COVID Vaccination: What Moe Doesn’t Know

March 24, 2021

Saskatoon, Sask – SEIU-West members are shocked and angered by Premier Scott Moe’s misleading claims about the ability and willingness of health care workers (HCWs) to receive a COVID vaccination. 

During a March 23 news conference Moe claimed that 57% of HCWs who were eligible under Phase 1 had taken the vaccine, but that he wished more would do so.

“Let’s set the record straight,” says Barb Cape, President of SEIU-West. “The fact is that only 60% of our 47,000 Saskatchewan health care workers have been offered the vaccine in Phase 1. If all health care providers in all areas of the health care system had been offered a vaccine in Phase 1 there would be higher percentages.”

“There have been repeated requests from SEIU-West and Saskatchewan Health Authority managers to expand the priority list to include screening staff; lab staff; and home care staff. Premier Moe has ignored health care providers in home care and in hospitals since the beginning of this pandemic.”

While vaccines for Long-Term Care staff and residents have been at the forefront, hospital workers who work in patient registration, housekeeping, labs, security, screening, and even people working in vaccine clinics have been left out of the plan.

“We’ve been saying from the beginning of the rollout that all health care providers should be offered the vaccine in Phase 1,” continues Cape. “And this position is supported by the recommendations of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI).”

SEIU-West members have been engaged in a campaign to gain public support for all health care workers to be included in Phase 1 of the vaccine roll out.

“The fact that people who are interacting with the public in their homes or in health care facilities and providing care to both COVID and non-COVID patients on a regular basis have not been offered the vaccine is abhorrent and ignores guidelines and advice from the experts,” adds Cape. “The clear lack of respect for the health and well-being of front line health care workers is despicable and flies in the face of their ‘essential worker’ status.”

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 united by one colour – purple – and one union – SEIU-West. Visit PurpleWorks.ca to find out more about SEIU-West members.

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For more information, contact:

Christine Miller

Communications

306-477-8733

Click here to download this media release as a PDF.

 

 

Media Release: Relaxed Rules Disrespectful of Health Care Workers

Relaxed Rules Disrespectful of Health Care Providers

March 9, 2021

Saskatoon, Sask – On the heels of Premier Scott Moe’s announcement that public health restrictions will be relaxed, SEIU-West members and leaders are concerned that this decision is premature and guided by politics rather than science or the needs of our health care system.

“It’s too soon to let our guard down like this,” says Barb Cape, President of SEIU-West. “The signs that the second wave is subsiding aren’t strong enough to justify relaxing restrictions. With the rise of the variants and lower testing numbers, we need to keep our public health restrictions in place for just a little longer to see if our efforts are really working.”

Two of Saskatchewan’s key health system leaders, Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab and Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) CEO Scott Livingstone, both expressed concern about the impending risk of a third wave of hospitalizations, especially among younger people and those unvaccinated.

“Ignoring the advice of two of your top advisors doesn’t seem like a sound way to go about protecting the people you were elected to serve,” adds Cape. “There are still a lot of unknowns about the variants and how quickly vaccines will be put into people’s arms.”

Experts agree that caution is key for the next 8 to 12 weeks based on the experience of jurisdictions in Europe noting that there is still potential that another wave would overwhelm our health care system.

“With the recent warmer weather, we’re already seeing a bit of a ‘spring fever’ effect and people are itching to push the envelope. We understand,” continues Cape. “But loosening Saskatchewan restrictions now will encourage folks to take risks… and in a couple of weeks, the heat will be back on again in our ICUs and acute care units. Let’s remember the restrictions in our province remain the most moderate in the country.”

Though Saskatchewan’s rate of COVID hospitalizations has fallen to levels not seen since Christmas, they are still the highest per capita in Canada, and the number of COVID patients in our ICUs remains high.

“Our acute care members have spent a year keeping our health care system running throughout this pandemic,” adds Cape. “And we still have 40% of the health care team who haven’t received their first dose of vaccine. A decision to relax restrictions will lead to a rise in cases and another crisis in our health care system.”

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.

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For more information, contact:

Christine Miller

Communications

306-477-8733

Click here for a downloadable PDF of this release.

Media Release: Stronger Together at Elmwood Group Homes

Stronger Together at Elmwood Group Homes

March 2, 2021 For Immediate Release

(Saskatoon, SK)– Members of SEIU-West who work at Elmwood Group Homes in Saskatoon have voted strongly in favour of accepting the tentative agreement reached with the Employer. 

“This group of workers demonstrate strong team building every day.  This, combined with a sense of confidence in their bargaining team, has created a collaborative, respectful bargaining environment where the concerns of both the employer and union are appreciated,” said President of SEIU-West, Barbara Cape. 

“It is reasonable to expect that retention and recruitment challenges need to be addressed for the benefit of the residents.  Our members were pleased to see a willingness on the part of the employer to take such positive steps as retroactive wage increases.  It helps when front line workers feel valued,” adds Cape.

The term of the new collective agreement will be from April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2023, with general wage increases of 1% effective April 1, 2019;  3% effective April 1, 2020 and 1% effective April 1, 2021.  Together with retroactive pay, there are an added number of provisions have been improved upon to manage cost of living issues; for example, there are improvements to both travel allowance and shift differentials.

SEIU-West represents more than 13,000 working people in the province of Saskatchewan. They include members 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 www.PurpleWorks.ca to find out more about the members of SEIU-West.

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For more information, contact:

Tammy Robert Coordinator
Phone: 306-652-1011 ext. 2225

Click here to download a PDF of this release. 

Media Release: Respect Us & Protect Us

Respect Us & Protect Us

February 18, 2021

Saskatoon – SEIU-West leaders are alarmed with the recent public comments made by Health Minister Paul Merriman regarding the provincial vaccine roll out plan for Saskatchewan.

“It appears that our Health Minister is largely unaware of what is going on in the health sector otherwise he would not be inferring that long-term care staff and residents have all been vaccinated. While long term care staff and residents are in Phase 1, these vaccinations are not complete. In some locations, these have not been offered at all,” says Barb Cape, President of SEIU-West.

Mr. Merriman has indicated that the provincial roll-out plan will be done based on age sequencing; this model was chosen because they “looked at other provinces” and it’s “fastest.”

Cape indicates, “It’s ironic that he acknowledges a review of other jurisdictions when other locations are making health care and emergency personnel a priority for the vaccine. Why is it that only in Saskatchewan we select certain health care workers for the vaccine, rather than offering it out to all? Our Health Minister refers to “forward-facing” health care workers as being in Phase 1. It is obvious that he has no idea about the team of health care workers that we have in working in Saskatchewan. They are all ‘forward facing’ in the drive to reduce the infection rates of COVID-19.”

SEIU-West has sent an open letter to the Premier and the Minister of Health setting out clear examples of why all essential and front line workers in the health and community-based sectors need to be offered the vaccine prior to implementing the proposed age sequencing model. No reply has been received to date.

Cape adds, “It’s ironic that the Minister has stated that they have spoken to the different associations about their priorities. He certainly has undertaken no meaningful consultation with us. I don’t believe that the Minister appreciates the level of disrespect felt by our members who are faced with the daily burdens and risks of COVID. They need access to proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and the vaccine. It’s simply unconscionable to refuse our members who work at the Children’s Hospital, for example, access to the vaccine as a priority. We should be planning to reduce the number of outbreaks in our health care facilities by creating a model which complies with the National Advisory Committee on Immunization rather than increasing the risk to our front line heroes. It’s disrespectful and unsafe!”

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.

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For more information, contact:

Christine Miller

Communications

306-477-8733

For a downloadable copy of this media release, click here.

Media Release: Hey Moe, Where's Our Dough?

Hey Moe… Where’s Our Dough?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 11, 2021

Saskatoon – SEIU-West members who work in hospitals, community-based organizations, and for employers such as Canadian Blood Services are still being left out of the province’s Temporary Wage Supplement (TWS) program. In many other provinces these crucial workers have received a wage supplement.

“The work that our members do in hospitals, child care, group homes, crisis intervention, and blood collection puts them in close contact with the general public on a daily basis – they can’t do their work from home. These workers are at as much risk as our members who work in Long-Term Care and Home Care setting. All of them should be included in the wage top up,” says Barb Cape, President of SEIU-West.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, SEIU-West members who work as Medical Laboratory Technologists (MLTs), Continuing Care Assistants (CCAs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), Environmental Service Workers (ESWs), Patient/Client Intake, Direct Care workers, and Security Officers, to name a few, have been coming into their workplaces every day facing steady interactions with people in the public.

“I’m not sure if the public knows that people who are processing COVID tests aren’t getting the TWS,” continues Cape. “And that the people who clean hospitals are on the first line of defense against the spread of viruses aren’t receiving the top up. These are two of the many classifications in the health care team that are key in fighting this deadly disease.”

The government is not being honest on the reason for not issuing the Temporary Wage Supplement broadly for all front line workers who work in close proximity to people and are exposed to bodily fluids. The Minister of Finance’s office have given different reasons to different members. Ultimately, if this is intended to keep people working, then all front line health care staff, allied health, and community-based workers should be eligible; the Premier and his Minister of Finance shouldn’t be picking winners and losers.

When it was launched, the first phase of the TWS was for people who worked in Long-Term Care homes and completely left out both Hospital and Home Care workers. While phase two of the program now includes home care workers, it still leaves out many vital workers who are in a position of high risk.

“The public should be aware that this government is being selective about whose contribution to our public services are more valuable,” adds Cape. “I do not believe that this government actually understands the impact of this pandemic on front line staff and values saving lives, particularly when the focus is open keeping Saskatchewan open, rather than keeping us safe.”

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 united by one colour – purple – and one union – SEIU-West. Visit PurpleWorks.ca to find out more about SEIU-West members.

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For more information, contact:

Christine Miller

Communications

306-477-8733

Find a downloadable PDF of this release here. 

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