SEIU-West is entering into a process to review the Local’s constitution.
Even though public health orders have been lifted effective July 11, 2021 in Saskatchewan, we all should remember that the pandemic is not ‘over’.
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is the largest and fastest growing in North America with over 2.1 million members. SEIU-West is the second largest SEIU Local in Canada, and represents more than 13,000 working people in the province of Saskatchewan. They work in health care, education, municipalities, community-based organizations, retirement homes and other sectors.
We want to thank the over 150 SEIU-West members who entered our Labour Day contest.
This contest was so popular, we decided to double the amount of prizes from three to six!
We drew for five $25 Co-Op gift cards from the pool of members who got all six questions right and the grand prize winner of a $50 Co-Op gift card was drawn from the group of people who got all six questions AND the bonus question correct.
The answers to the questions were:
|TRUE:||Unions were created by workers that wanted better working conditions.|
|TRUE:||Unions fought for and won Maternity and Parental Leave.|
Unions fought for and won equal pay for equal work in workplaces, regardless of gender.
(There’s still lots of work to do to achieve gender equality in the workplace. Check out the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) Gender Equality issues page for more resources.)
|TRUE:||Vacation pay exists because of unions’ fight for paid days off.|
|TRUE:||Workers in Saskatchewan recently fought for and won interpersonal violence leave. This allows 5 paid and 5 unpaid days away from work to access supports or relocate to a new home.|
|FALSE:||Unions have no further goals, our workplaces are perfect.|
|Bonus MRC question:||
Other acceptable answers were:
Saskatoon Office: 306-652-1011
Moose Jaw Office: 306-693-7922
Swift Current Office: 306-773-2536
Our Grand Prize Winner, who got both questions right is...
Phyllis C from Wigmore Hospital
And our other prize winners are...
Lorine B from Central Butte Regency Hospital
Leann H from Saskatoon City Hospital
Janadine A from Royal University Hospital
Nicole B from Humboldt and District Health Complex
Samantha H from Gardiner Park Childcare
We hope you all enjoyed your Labour Day!
Boni is the head Environmental Services Worker (ESW) in a rural hospital.
She loves her job because she leaves with a sense of pride, knowing she and her team have done their best to keep the hospital clean and their patients safe.
Once again, the heavy hand of Premier Scott Moe and the Sask. Party has come down on the very health care workers working in hospitals, long-term care facilities and peoples' homes, providing the quality care that all people of Saskatchewan have come to expect.
We all know there is a current COVID pandemic crisis in Saskatchewan, brought on in part because of the Delta variant and in part because of the premier’s reluctance to go back to public health orders that actually work to reduce the spread of the virus. The SHA and affiliates had asked the health care unions to negotiate a new Letter of Understanding (LOU) to replace the LOU on staff redeployment and cohorting that expired in July of this year. In the middle of these negotiations, the Premier unilaterally imposed a Minister’s Order that compelled all SHA and affiliate employers and employees that been covered by the previous expired LOU regarding staff redeployment, labour pools and cohorting to comply with the terms in that LOU, even though it had legally expired.
Make no mistake, this mandated direction is not an LOU, was not negotiated with the unions and was definitely not agreed to by the unions, including SEIU-West.
The irony for us all is that our Premier, while having no compunction about imposing measures taking away our rights in our Collective Agreements, won’t impose a masking order or other public health measures that would help stem the flow of new COVID cases and help relieve the pressure on our health care system. Instead he continues to turn a blind eye to the major health issues in our province and fails to take the safety of the entire population into account.
Our Premier is using health care workers to distract the public’s attention from what needs to happen – putting in place public health measures that are fair and enforced equally, even if they are not popular with some residents of the province.
We know we can beat COVID, but we need our government to show leadership, show responsibility and engage everyone in this fight, not just health care workers.
SEIU-West will have discussions with the SHA regarding the implementation of this ‘mandate’. SEIU-west demands fair and equitable treatment of its members affected by the minister’s order and that the SHA meaningfully demonstrates its ‘sensitivity to its employees needs and desires’ during the time of this order.
SEIU-West encourages all our members to get vaccinated, wear a mask when in public, wash your hands often, maintain social/physical distance, keep your bubble small, follow all safety protocols and stay home if you are not feeling well.
For Immediate Release
September 15, 2021
Making health care workers scapegoats no way to manage COVID-19 pandemic
Three unions representing health care providers in Saskatchewan – SGEU, CUPE and SEIU-West – are angry and disappointed by the Sask Party government’s decision to impose an emergency order that will allow it to redeploy thousands of health care workers from their normal jobs.
The government threatened publicly on September 10 that it would issue an emergency order on September 13 if talks with the unions, which commenced on September 9, didn’t result in an agreement to allow for employee redeployment. Instead, government advised it would impose a previously negotiated Letter of Understanding (LOU), which expired in July, between the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) and a number of unions representing health care workers. SHA representatives and health care provider unions had just concluded a negotiation session Monday afternoon when the government issued the emergency order.
“For months, health providers and their unions have been calling on the government to take action to stop the rapidly rising cases of COVID-19 that are overwhelming the health care system,” said Sandra Seitz, CUPE 5430 President. “Instead, the government ‘ignored the science’ and passively watched this latest COVID crisis unfold. Now, after progress was made in negotiations with the SHA, we are disappointed and discouraged to see the government take such a heavy-handed approach with health care workers.”
The previous LOU enabled the SHA to move thousands of workers between different jobs to meet the needs of Saskatchewan’s pandemic response. That LOU expired earlier this year when the province lifted the public health order and removed all pandemic restrictions and measures. Since that time, vaccination rates have stalled, COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have increased to record levels, and health care workers of all types have faced unprecedented workloads with many staff suffering burnout and chronic fatigue. Negotiations for a new LOU would have provided labour mobility while proactively addressing the issues health care workers endure in their provision of care.
"It’s unacceptable for the premier to refuse to enact even the most basic, common-sense measures like indoor masking for the general public,” said Tracey Sauer, SGEU President. “Yet he's more than willing to demand additional sacrifices from health care workers who have already gone above and beyond during extreme conditions over the past 18 months."
Last week, the government announced a reduction in non-critical or elective services in order to expand surge capacity in the health system. It also announced plans to further privatize a number of health services by outsourcing contact tracing and testing as well as thousands of MRIs to private, for-profit companies to help alleviate strains on the system.
At a time when the premier claims the health care system is in such deep crisis that he must circumvent health care workers’ basic rights and the foundations of our public health system, Mr. Moe has refused to consider re-introducing a low-cost, easily implemented mask mandate.
This despite the fact that the media has reported that the government’s own research shows a mask mandate could reduce cases by as much as 50 per cent.
“Instead of providing effective leadership to get us through the fourth wave of the pandemic, it’s clear the premier is blaming and threatening health care providers for the pressures in the health care system caused by his government’s inaction,” said Neil Colmin, SEIU-West Vice-President. “The premier and his health minister have expressed gratitude to health care workers in the past and have referred to them as heroes, but these recent actions to force health care workers back into unhealthy and unsafe workplace conditions speak louder than words. This is not how a government should treat its heroes.”
SGEU, CUPE and SEIU-West represent over 30,000 health care providers working in acute care, home care, public health and long-term care across the province.
For more information, please contact:
Communications Officer, SGEU
Communications Representative, CUPE
Christine is an Environmental Services Worker (ESW) for Extendicare.
She enjoys every aspect of her job from cleaning residents' rooms to going above and beyond and being a second set of hands by offering someone a drink or ensuring they are comfortable in their chairs.
SEIU-West is thrilled to recognize September 12-18 as Environmental Services Week!
Environmental Service Workers (ESWs), housekeeping, janitorial and custodial staff have been integral during this pandemic and always in ensuring a safe and clean environment. Their infection control practices have kept us safer in schools, healthcare facilities and public spaces.
Environmental Service workers work with a variety of chemicals to ensure superbugs like CRE, MRSA, ESBL, VRE, and more don’t spread. They continued using diligence when COVID-19 was introduced as a threat.
To help celebrate ESW week, we have a contest!
Identify these WHMIS labels and send your answers to [email protected] by September 24th for your chance to win a prize!
The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) is engaging with the Federal Election and is inviting you to join along in their events.
This is a chance to engage with folks on the doorstep about issues that are important to you, practice your speaking skills and connect with other labour activists!
For more information, check out CLC's Prairie Region Facebook Page.
(SASKATCHEWAN) The unions representing health care providers in Saskatchewan are concerned by the government’s failure to do everything necessary to protect health care workers and patients, clients and residents in the health care system.
“Requiring health care workers to either be vaccinated or present a recent negative COVID-19 test is one tool to prevent COVID-19 infections, but it is not enough on its own,” said Sandra Seitz, President, CUPE Local 5430. “The province must follow the advice of medical professionals and do everything in its power to keep people safe.”
The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and all three unions are encouraging everyone who can be vaccinated to do so as soon as possible.
“Vaccinations alone will not hold back this fourth wave,” said Neil Colmin, Vice-President, SEIU-West. “The province needs to return to public health orders including indoor masking, mandatory self-isolation, physical distancing, and enhanced cleaning. We can’t fight rising case counts of COVID-19 without a combination of safety measures.”
While there is a minority of health care workers who are either unable or unwilling to be vaccinated, the unions are encouraged to see that those members can continue to work so long as they produce a negative COVID-19 test result.
“Health care workers have been on the front lines of this pandemic for a year and a half,” said Tanya Schmidt, Acting Chair of the SGEU Health Providers Bargaining Committee. “To see the government refuse to implement sensible measures that we know are effective is an insult to all those who work so hard to sustain the health care system.”
Long-term care homes have been of particular concern. Visitors have not been required to wear masks in LTC facilities since provincial health orders were lifted on July 11, despite the fact that residents in those homes are one of the populations most vulnerable to COVID.
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.
To download a printable copy of this media release, please click here.
For more information, please contact:
To celebrate YOU on Labour Day, we have a fun contest. Enter by September 10th for your chance to win one of three prizes!
Labour Day is a day for you, your families, and your coworkers to celebrate the many ways your work – otherwise known as labour – contributes to your communities and the economy.
SEIU-West is entering into a process to review the Local’s constitution.