Saskatchewan – Late last week, amid facility closures and service disruptions across the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), the SHA quietly released a troubling measure to respond to “staff shortages”.
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It is time for the 2022 SEIU-West SAHO/ECI Bargaining Survey!
This survey is for SEIU-West members who work at (or are on leave from) a Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) or SHA-affiliated workplace or program, including Extendicare.
On June 7, SEIU-West held a virtual townhall to talk with SHA members about the Letter of Understanding (LOU) that changes our hours-based seniority system to a seniority date system. The difference is that all hours-based seniority will begin to be transferred to a seniority date.
Elmview, Moose Jaw, Parkside, Preston, and Sunset Extendicare Facilities
New pay rates are effective April 17, 2022.
Dear members of SEIU-West:
We are writing you with an important update related to the recent cyber-attack affecting SEIU-West that we first reported to you late last week on March 11, 2022. We promised to provide you with further updates as more information became available.
Here is what we’ve learned to date:
Dear member of SEIU-West:
We are writing to you with important information about a recent cyber-attack affecting SEIU-West. SEIU-West became aware of this cyber-attack on March, 10 2022, which is believed to have occurred early in the morning of March 10, 2022.
Date: March 7, 2022
Greetings Brothers and Sisters who work at Extendicare Canada’s Elmview, Preston, Moose Jaw, Parkside, and Sunset facilities:
We wanted to update you regarding the implementation of the new collective agreement you approved in January, as well as regarding the transfer of these facilities to the SHA.
Date: March 4, 2022
Greetings Sisters and Brothers,
At long last, we can confirm that our collective agreement is finalized and at the printer!
On January 20, 2022 SEIU-West, the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL), the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation (STF), the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses (SUN), SGEU and CUPE Saskatchewan joined together to call on the Government of Saskatchewan to protect our healthcare and education systems and other vital public services from the Omicron wave by immediately following the advice of Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab. The presidents of these six organizations held an unprecedented joint news conference. Today, the joint open letter below was sent to Premier Scott Moe, calling for a a public health order to:
- Limit gathering sizes to a maximum of 10 people.
- Limit the frequency of gathering and establish a consistent “bubble” of close contacts.
- Limit non-school and non-work contacts.
- Limit non-essential travel between communities.
SEIU-West is thrilled to share the good news of one of our members! This member was struggling to gain long term disability but as a member of SEIU-West, they were not alone in their struggle. Our SEIU-West Benefits Officer supported this member through several levels of appeal, and we just received word that this member was granted retroactive pay and coverage going forward! We are so happy for this member and are proud to share that SEIU-West is unique in having designated staff person(s) assigned to assist members in three specialty services pertaining to domestic violence, disability appeals, and attendance management. This is a wonderful service for members so we want to make sure you are aware – and to help spread the word!
Our Summer 2019 Member of Distinction is Brenda Coben!
Brenda is a long- time member of SEIU-West. She works as a Continuing Care Assistant at the Elrose Health Center. She is the current Unit Chair and does a fantastic job of representing and engaging her co-workers. She is also an important part of our member facilitator team who delivers our internal training program for SEIU-West members.
Recently, Brenda was approached by one of the current Elrose Town Councillors and asked if she would run in the by-election. Brenda was no stranger to community involvement as a former School Board Trustee and volunteering with the local Lioness Club but had never thought about being a Town Councillor. She credits her involvement with the Union, especially facilitation, for giving her the confidence to “give it a shot”. Not surprising to us, she was overwhelmingly elected in the by-election held March 27th and is already serving in this new role. Brenda will definitely be rolling up her sleeves soon because she was appointed to two committees at her first town meeting!
The town of Elrose will benefit from Brenda’s enthusiasm to branch out and learn new things. We are sure she will prove to be a great asset to the Town Council. Congratulations Brenda! We are proud of you.
Do you know a Member of Distinction? Email: [email protected]
This summer, you’ll be seeing SEIU-West billboards prominently displayed across the province as we renew our focus on safety. Whether you work in the health, community-based organization (CBO), education, or within our private and allied sectors, we have heard firsthand too many of our members are trying to get the job done with too few staff.
At our May Convention, themed Together Strong Together Safe, delegates were able to talk about the need for safer workplaces. We urged members and guests to provide advice about what to do when faced with an unsafe work environment. Moving forward, we have introduced a member education session about occupational health and safety. There is a clear demand: we all want to improve safety for our patients, clients, residents, and students.
These billboards connect readily with the CBO campaign where we join with other unions (SGEU and CUPE) to highlight the need for stable and predictable multi-year funding in this sector. This is the purpose of the 'Sask People Who Care' campaign which urges members of the general public to sign an online petition in recognition of the valuable work done in this sector for residents and clients who are in most need. We encourage every one of our members to collect signatures on the paper petition over the summer and return them (with original signatures) to one of our offices in September so they can be submitted in the fall sitting of the Legislature.
Our Provincial Contract Action Team (ProCAT) will be coming out to facilities across the province to promote our on-line and billboard campaign. We ask SEIU-West health care providers to share the message 'Be Fair to Those Who Care' and engage the general public to support health care providers. As part of creating a safe health care system, the rates of pay must keep up with the cost of living – so that we can retain and recruit health care providers. Safe staffing is essential to keeping our patients, clients and residents safe.
Our members who work in the education sector have been faced with cuts to staffing in the classrooms and throughout the school system. Over the past few years, our provincial government has whipsawed the funding for this sector… but ultimately, leaving our schools and students in a deficit. Student enrollment continues to grow, but the staffing needed for kids who are new Canadians or who have special learning needs or need some extra support has stayed static or been reduced in school systems across the province. We believe that funding needs to be fully restored and further supplemented to create a safe, quality learning environment for everyone.
To amplify this message, we need your help. For the remaining months of the year, we are asking our members to tell us – in a short video (less than 10 seconds) –what you would do to make your workplace safer. Our goal is to raise awareness about the need for safety in Saskatchewan workplaces where injuries are among the highest in this country, and at the same time provide some solutions from the experts in the workplace – our members. If you are interested in being a part of this campaign, email [email protected]
It’s really quite simple – end understaffing.
Representatives of the SEIU-West provincial bargaining team met with SAHO on June 14 to determine the next steps for bargaining. At this meeting, it was agreed that the parties would resume bargaining, as opposed to starting over. Bargaining update no. 3 is posted on the SAHO page.
At this meeting, your SEIU-West representatives identified that the outstanding issue – for the strong majority of members who voted to reject the tentative agreement – was dissatisfaction with the monetary offer. SAHO was advised that our members felt disrespected when they learned that MLAs received a 2.3% increase to salary (due to cost of living increase) on April 1, 2019. If the cost of living increase affects MLAs, it also affects health providers.
The SEIU-West team is insisting upon a sturdy set of dates to bargain through the summer. In step with the SAHO bargaining dates, there will be regular bargaining updates and information supplied by the Provincial Contract Action Team (ProCAT) as they move through the province doing unit visits. Your ProCAT will be recruiting Unit Contract Action Teams (UCATs), gathering information for our future use in essential services negotiations and they will be talking about our latest campaign introduced to support bargaining called ‘Be Fair to Those Who Care’ – visit befairtothosewhocare.ca to find out more.
We urge members to engage with the ProCAT, sign a postcard, and send a letter through the online campaign. Get your neighbours, friends and colleagues to participate and show their support too.
You also might want to call your MLA and ask: where is the fairness when MLAs receive a 2.3% increase in salary, and offer others such as health providers zeroes?
We know the significant challenge faced in achieving a fair collective agreement – now more than ever, we need greater support from you – our members – and your communities!
Did you know Shop Stewards help protect the rights of SEIU-West members every day? They are vital leaders within our union and their presence on the shop floor makes our union stronger. It is crucial that each Unit has a number of Stewards that is proportional to the Unit size – it is even better if each department has a Steward.
Wondering what Stewards do? They discuss first level grievances with the employer in an effort to resolve situations early, they investigate grievances using our investigation fact sheet and communicate those investigations with SEIU-West Staff Reps, they mentor new Stewards, and they perform routine check-ins with members to determine whether there are workplace concerns or issues that need to be addressed by our union. While Stewards have large responsibilities, they know they have a strong union behind them that will support them and provide resources when they need.
Each year, SEIU-West offers Shop Steward training so if you’re interested in becoming a Shop Steward, we ask that you speak to your Unit Chair. If you have any questions about the role of a Steward, don’t hesitate to call the Member Resource Centre at 1.888.999.7348 ext. 2298.
To access a poster of this information, click here.
Members who work in the South East Cornerstone Public School Division have a great win to share! They ratified their latest agreement and have recently received their latest collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The CBA includes wage increases amounting to 7% over four years as well as the following non-monetary gains:
- 15 minutes for new employees Union Orientation;
- Email and website posting of vacancies during the summer break;
- Clarification of the process for filling vacant bus routes;
- Ability to take a 15 minute rest periods where possible;
- Bus driver monthly cell phone allowance increases;
- Personal Property damage reimbursement increases;
- Completely revamped Occupation Health and Safety language.
Congratulations to our bargaining committee and to the members within these schools – we’re Stronger Together!
Saskatoon – A new campaign has been launched by SEIU-West to bring attention to the very real safety concerns resulting from ongoing understaffing in the health care sector. Purple billboards will be displayed across the province encouraging the Saskatchewan provincial government to Put Care First: End Understaffing.
“Put care first,” said Barbara Cape, President of SEIU-West. “It’s as simple as that. Not having enough people on a shift at a care home, or at the hospital, or to provide home care services puts residents, patients, and clients at risk. We also see this as a real and imminent threat in our education and community-based sectors.”
Workers Compensation Board data shows that health care is one of the most dangerous sectors to work in—at least as dangerous as working in construction. Injury rates in the education sector are also well above average. “But we can change that,” said Cape, “if we have more people working as part of the staff team. We hope the public will help magnify our calls for safety in the care and classroom environments.”
For years, front line SEIU-West members have been bringing their safety concerns to their MLAs, Ministers in charge of health care and education, and even the Premier. Despite this, recent provincial budgets have failed to address the chronic understaffing issues in these sectors.
“Between the higher workloads, more complex care, and fewer staff to work, our health care system, our education sector and our community based sectors are in crisis,” continued Cape. “Our members are working crushing amounts of overtime because employers have adopted ‘non-replacement’ policies as cost-cutting measures. We need to stop this cycle.”
“We’ve seen more than one budget where the government has put front line public sector worker compensation last while they give themselves raises,” added Cape. “It is simply not fair. MLAs gave themselves a 3.5% pay hike last year, and then a further 2.3% cost of living increase this year. Meanwhile, during these same years, the government has been offering zeroes to the people doing the heavy lifting in health care and education.”
SEIU-West welcomes the support from the many communities where our members work.
Visit EndUnderstaffing.ca to find out more about this issue and to send a letter to decision makers.
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:
Karman Kawchuk, Research Coordinator Phone: 306-652-1011 ext. 2232
Last week, we announced our win for Best Website Redesign, awarded by the Canadian Association of Labour Media (CALM). This week, we particularly proud to announce our Honourable Mention of the Ed Finn Award for Excellence in Writing. This submission was written by member Teegan Hunter, Security Officer with the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA). She wrote an incredibly moving story, titled ‘Humboldt Strong.’ The whole health care team contributed significantly throughout the Humboldt tragedy, and this member story is a glimpse to the resilience of this amazing community we call home. The CALM judges agreed by awarding this submission its honourable mention and said: “For a heartfelt story that takes us through the heartbreak of supporting families, friends and communities not just because the job requires it, but also reminding us that we are all called to serve each other.” Thank you to Teegan and the entire health care team for your hard work and dedication to our communities. To read Teegan’s submission, click here.
June 27th is declared Canadian Multiculturalism Day, while Canada’s celebration of the ratification of The Constitution Act is July 1st (commonly known as Canada Day). The two dates of recognition go hand-in-hand as SEIU-West strongly supports the belief that there is strength in diversity.
Our diversity should be celebrated because our country is built upon so many different races, religions, and cultural practices that can spark many opportunities.
We are fortunate that we have the chance to learn and appreciate all kinds of new foods, traditions, celebrations and languages without the travel expenses of world-wide travel.
These differences should encourage our communities to be more accepting and open-minded. Yet in many communities across Canada, some people are turning to anti-immigration groups due to frustrations with the economy. The decision-makers and influencers use this divisiveness to pit us – our communities – against each other. Turning workers against workers is dangerous because when we recognize and understand that it is the majority of us who are experiencing poverty and inequality, decision-makers and influencers know they are outnumbered.
It is important that we confront any discrimination and stop it in its tracks before the situation is manipulated. If you hear someone say ‘immigrants are taking our jobs’, that’s discrimination, and it must be confronted. We cannot allow discriminatory feelings and sentiments to be deemed acceptable.
Now, more than ever, we must bring people together across the country to unite in our diversity. Our union’s motto, Stronger Together, is true – when we’re united, we can achieve gains that benefit all working people; not just the 1% and decision-makers. After all, there is strength in numbers, just as there is strength in diversity.
So for this year’s Multicultural Day and Canada Day, we encourage you to stand up for your coworkers and your communities, no matter their race, religion, or gender. If you need tips in taking a stand, we encourage you to visit the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan’s kit to confront discrimination. We’re all in this together and together, we can make the world a better place together.
The SSMLT Fall Conference is being held at the Conexus Arts Centre in Regina beginning September 26, 2019. The Education Committee is pleased to sponsor up to two (2) delegates to attend. We will cover registration costs, lost wages, travel costs, hotel costs and meal expenses for those members who are selected to attend.
If you are an SEIU-West member working in a MLT classification and you are interested in attending this conference we ask you to:
Your completed Expression of Interest (EOI) form must be received in our office on or before August 6, 2019 in order to allow us to complete the selection and registration processes. If you have already completed the online registration to this conference and are selected, we will request a copy of your registration receipt and reimburse you.
Please forward your completed EOI form to:
Colleen Denniss & Brenda Coben, Co-Chairs, Education Committee
#200 – 747 46th Street W, Saskatoon, SK S7L 6A1
Once delegates are selected we will complete an online registration and may request your assistance with this.
Delegates attending this conference must be dues paying members and are required to submit a brief report to the SEIU-West Executive Board through the Education Committee Chairs following the completion of the event. Thank you in advance for your cooperation in this regard.
The SACLXT Fall Conference is being held at the Saskatoon Inn in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan October 18, 19, 2019. Please visit http://saclxt.ca to find added information and details on the conference. The Education Committee is pleased to sponsor up to two (2) delegates to attend. We will cover registration costs, lost wages, travel costs, hotel costs and meal expenses for those members who are selected to attend.
If you are an SEIU-West member working in a CLXT classification and you are interested in attending this conference we ask you to:
Your completed Expression of Interest (EOI) form must be received in our office on or before August 6, 2019 in order to allow us to complete the selection and registration processes. If you choose to complete the online registration to this conference and are later selected we will request a copy of your registration receipt for reimbursement.
Please forward your completed EOI form to:
Colleen Denniss & Brenda Coben, Co-Chairs, Education Committee
#200 – 747 46th Street W, Saskatoon, SK S7L 6A1
Once delegates are selected we will complete an online registration on your behalf. We may require your assistance to do so.
Delegates attending this conference must be a dues paying member and are required to submit a brief report to the SEIU-West Executive Board through the Education Committee Chairs following the completion of the event. Thank you in advance for your cooperation in this regard.