SEIU-West members at Extendicare:
We’ve all heard the announcement that the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) is taking over the Extendicare (ECI) five long-term care homes in Saskatchewan. We know that that announcement has created a lot of additional stress and anxiety in the workforce already worn out through COVID. Now, not knowing what will happen in this transition is one of the greatest stressors of all.
The union has not been notified of any of the details of the successorship, but we do know that the SHA will be an “advisor” at the Extendicare bargaining table on October 28 and 29th. We also are familiar with the legislation regarding successorship and can offer the following comments to each of the questions listed below.
Q: What will happen to our seniority and will this successorship effect our union membership?
A: The Extendicare/SEIU-West collective bargaining agreement is in effect now and for the foreseeable future. Extendicare is the employer of record until there is a formal takeover of the operations by the SHA. As a successor employer, the SHA is bound by the Extendicare/union collective agreement until that agreement is open and it’s time to negotiate amendments to that collective bargaining agreement. We have no details about the long-range plans of Extendicare within the SHA. We are prepared to fight to ensure that no SEIU-West member will be disenfranchised or suffer a loss as a result of this successorship. Please stay tuned as we will be announcing a virtual membership meeting in the near future to bring you up-to-date on what we know.
Q: Why do we follow some SHA rules and some Extendicare rules? This is very confusing.
A: When it comes to operation rules, Extendicare was audited by the Ministry of health and some of its policies and practices were found to be inadequate. Please note, it is the Employer’s policies and practices that were found wanting, not you the employees. The SHA has been operating in the ECI facilities in a “monitorship” role and is addressing the deficiencies in the Extendicare policies and practices, identified in the ombudsman’s report, through introducing their own policies and practices.
Your bargaining committee has notified the Employer that the mix between Extendicare policies and SHA policies is at times different among each facility and the situation is quite confusing. We have asked the Employer review and develop a uniform practice with respect to ECI and SHA policies and their implementation.
Q: Are they going to give it long term service awards to members before we are no longer Extendicare?
A: your bargaining committee will ask that question at collective bargaining. Extendicare is still the employer so there is no reason for them not to continue their practice.
Q: Are we still required to do SERGE and Extendicare 24/7 training?
A: Extendicare is the employer until the successorship is finalized, so employees are obligated to follow the directions of Extendicare regarding training, unless informed otherwise.
Q: We have some staff who are full-time in the SHA and pick up casual hours at Extendicare, will they still be allowed or will they be limited to full-time hours only?
A: When the successorship and transition of Extendicare to the SHA is finalized and Extendicare becomes part of the SHA, and the current certification order(s) are amended such that there will be only one employer, full-time hours of work for the SHA employer will be in effect. Any hours an employee works beyond full-time hours are considered overtime hours, regardless of the facility in which you work.
Q: How do we let our members know that our Union is there to support them in this time?
A: Our members who work at Extendicare are SEIU-West members, and still covered under the SEIU-West/Extendicare collective bargaining agreement and still represented by SEIU-West. The union is bargaining the collective agreement, finally, with Extendicare. The SHA is at the table in an advisory role. Both Extendicare and the SHA recognize SEIU-West representation and they are also aware SEIU-West will make sure none of our members are harmed during the successorship process.
Q: What happens to staff who don’t have their CCA and have been “grandfathered”?
A: there will be no change. Grandfathered CCAs will remain grandfathered CCA’s.
Q: What about members who have retired and come back, will the date of hire change? Will they retain seniority?
A: Retired members who have returned to work will have already determined their date of hire. The date will not change, and fact no one’s date of hire will change, when the successorship from Extendicare to the SHA is completed. As well, no one will lose Extendicare seniority while they remain employed in one of the five Extendicare facilities.
Q: SHA length of shifts, will they remain 8 hours or change to 12 hours?
A: Any introduction of extended shifts, for example 8 hours to 12 hours, is subject to the terms of the Extendicare/SEIU-West collective bargaining agreement. Article 13.04 – Work Schedules, part g) sets out that the parties may negotiate extended shift agreements supplementary to this agreement, by mutual agreement. The SHA cannot unilaterally implement extended shift schedules. The union has a template document that indicates that a vote must be held of those affected members who hold permanent positions in the department or area where an extended shift may be contemplated.
Q: Some of the ECI staff have taken the Stratford course from Ontario, Extendicare has honoured this course as equal to SIAST. Will the SHA do the same?
A: Your bargaining committee will ask that question at collective bargaining. Extendicare is still the employer so there is no reason for them not to continue their practice. We will ask at the SHA to do the same.
Q: A lot of our staff are very upset and worried about their jobs. They are wondering if they should quit and look for new positions in other buildings?
A: SEIU-West strongly advises Extendicare members to not quit, resign or otherwise give up their Extendicare employment. Extendicare and the SHA jointly send out a memo saying that no in-scope staff will lose their job because of the successorship. Our advice is that everybody should hang on until we finish negotiating our collective agreement, which will have wage retroactivity in it. Your bargaining committee will request Extendicare and the SHA do a better job of explanation and reassurance to all of you about the transition process.
Q: Where do members go to get answers to their individual and/or personal questions?
A: Members with individual questions should contact the Member Resource Centre (MRC). The MRC will either find out the answer or forward the question to the right person who will respond. The MRC can be reached by phone at 1-888-999-SEIU (7348) press 1; by email at [email protected] or by clicking “contact” on the SEIUWEST.ca website.