The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is an international labour organization of over 2 million members, uniting workers in three industry sectors to improve their lives and the services they provide. SEIU-West is one of five locals in Canada and is dedicated to representing over 13,000 SEIU-West members in Saskatchewan.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, we will be experiencing delays in processing member expenses. We remain focused on ensuring member expenses are processed in an accurate and timely manner. Your patience and understanding during this time is greatly appreciated. If you have any questions, please contact the Member Resource Centre (MRC) by phone 1-888-999-7348, email [email protected], or using the contact form.
For Immediate Release
October 27, 2022
Saskatchewan – Wednesday’s Throne Speech from the SaskParty lacked new and substantive information regarding the government’s plans for this new session in the Legislature. The Throne Speech outlined monetary allocations and plans the SaskParty has already released to the public, including the Health Human Resources Action Plan. This plan is heavily focused on international recruitment, but lacks in real, actionable steps to retain workers currently in the public healthcare sector.
SEIU-West's First Nations, Métis and Inuit Committee is requesting your support to help those in our communities that are struggling with homelessness and housing insecurity.
They plan to fill backpacks with necessities and hand them out to those that could really use a little help.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) and SEIU-West have resolved the outstanding grievances filed in response to the Proof of Vaccination/Monitored Testing Program.
October 20, 2022
For Immediate Release
Saskatchewan – Three days before the start of Health Care Providers’ Week in Saskatchewan, SEIU-West members from the healthcare sector and their supporters are marching from the Delta Marriott Downtown to the Saskatoon Cabinet Office to send the provincial government a message: healthcare workers need more than empty words of praise—they need more staff and a raise.
Barbara Cape – President, Neil Colmin – Vice President, Bob Laurie – Director of Contract Bargaining and Enforcement, Katelyn Thibeault – Staff Representative, and Lynette Pinfold – Staff Representative were present.
On October 12, SEIU-West held a townhall meeting through ZOOM with our members who work at the former Extendicare (now SHA) facilities. The following update was provided and then an opportunity to ask questions was held.
You're invited to a Rally for Respect.
We'll be marching from Delta Marriott Downtown (405 20th St. East, Saskatoon) to the Saskatoon Cabinet Office (315 22nd St. East, Saskatoon) at 12:00 pm on Wednesday, October 19.
Welcome to our October Occupation Extravaganza!
October is jam packed with recognition days and weeks. Keep an eye on the Purple Works page to see everyone we're able to highlight this month!
And you know SEIU-West loves to celebrate you, our members. And what better way to do that than a massive month-long contest packed full of prizes!
As most of us know, the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, has declared the day of the Queen’s funeral—Monday, September 19—as a day of mourning and has granted federal staff a day off. He has encouraged federally regulated employers to provide a day off and has asked the provinces to do the same. The province of Saskatchewan has decided not to declare September 19 a provincial holiday or to grant provincial employees the day off.
For Immediate Release - September 1, 2022
REGINA: The unions representing health care providers in Saskatchewan are questioning the creation of the Saskatchewan Health Care Recruitment Agency.
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”.
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.
Communication… it’s key to explaining yourself; being responsible for your actions; and working to do better for everyone. Whether you are a shop steward, the Premier of a province, or a union President, we all have a responsibility to communicate as effectively as possible. I’ve had the opportunity to talk with our members, shop stewards, staff, and even our Minister of Health and the message that keeps rising to the top is how we need to communicate better.
Our members have been earnest in their effort to communicate with their Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) about concerns with funding in the education sector; short staffing in the health care sector; a lack of accountability in the Community-Based Organization (CBO) sector… and always, bargaining! The public deserves quality services that their taxes pay for. And the people who provide those services deserve a decent wage… there’s nothing controversial about that.
But I don’t think that the politicians have been very forthright or honest in their responses. Recently, our Minister of Health said publicly – in the news – that funding in long-term care has been increased by 40%... since when?! Since the 1980’s? Let’s be frank, we haven’t felt a real increase in funding for public sector services for a very long time. It’s actually quite demoralizing that our Minister of Health makes this kind of public statement when those who provide hands-on care report unsafe staffing levels in long-term care on a chronic basis. Previously, our Minister of Finance has reported to media that the 3.5% cuts were off the bargaining table for all public sector workers… but who else did she tell?! Because there are plenty of bargaining tables where the cuts are
still a living proposal!
We have called for public audits in the CBO sector to ensure that the funding is actually reaching the front line for staff and clients… but the Minister of Social Services didn’t even respond… all we have heard are crickets! For a government that keeps talking about consulting, transparency, and accountability, it’s interesting that they have such a checkered record.
We should all be accountable – not just at election times. And we need to recognize that the key to building our workplace, our union, and our province is creating a space where more people can be heard; where we can answer questions with honesty, not political spin; and where we can make sure that we are actually lifting up the people of this province… not picking winners and losers.
Sometimes we’re moving so fast that we don’t take the time to communicate – to explain – to consult – to actively listen – effectively... and it’s frustrating! So maybe, the first step in changing our communications is to start telling the truth… we can do better.
SEIU-West members at Parkridge Centre in Saskatoon launched a drive to help seniors in our community. A lot of seniors don’t have enough money at the end of the month to get few extra things they might want or need. To fill that void, our unit has set up “purple boxes” in various locations throughout Parkridge to collect items. Even our families have gotten involved. Some of our
members’ grandchildren have gotten into the project by creating colourful signs that invite donations. All the items collected will be distributed in the community with help from the United Way of Saskatoon.
The SEIU-West Young Workers Committee (YWC) is shining a light on issues that often get pushed into the shadows and aims to break down stigma associated with important issues in our communities by interviewing experts in the field. In the last installment, the YWC shone a light on mental health. In this issue, YWC member Brittney interviews Andrea Howe from the United Way of Saskatoon about domestic violence.
Q: Why is there stigma associated with Domestic Violence (DV)?
A: Some reasons why stigma is often associated with DV are because individuals either do not understand the issue; are not educated about the issue; and/or believe it is a private issue.
Q: How does the stigma affect someone who is seeking help?
Some reasons why stigma could deter a woman from seeking help are she may be ashamed; be fearful about being judged; be afraid to be on her own; be afraid of losing her job; and/or not know what resources or supports are available to her.
Q: How do you help someone who discloses at work that they are a victim of Domestic Violence?
Your role is to show concern and offer support. Do not try to “fix” the situation. Below is a list of ways to assist if a co-worker discloses that she is a victim of DV:
- Tell her you believe her and will support her
- Suggest speaking with a union staff rep to talk about supports available
- Be prepared with information about where to find help at work and in the community
- Ensure she is included in all the decision-making and respect her decisions – even if you do not agree with her choices
How can SEIU-West members help de-stigmatize DV?
SEIU-West members can help by:
- Completing the two-day DV training offered by SEIU-West. Your union is the first union in Saskatchewan who has offered the two-day training to its members because this issue is important! Encourage other members to take the training too.
- Starting the conversation – at work; at the kitchen table; at the gym – the more we talk about this issue, the less stigma will be attached to it
- Continuing to advocate and lobby for better legislation for DV protections and entitlements
- Bargaining for DV leave and supports into your collective agreement
Thank you! To return to the home page, click here.
We have a major win to report this week: members at Valley Action Group Homes have reached an agreement that includes a significant pay increase of 5% as well as a $500 signing bonus! We also successfully negotiated an increase in the night shift premium, as well as non-monetary improvements including:
- better access to vacation
- improved shift trade language
- restrictions on scheduling and schedule changes
- improved call in rules
- the addition of paid leave for citizenship ceremonies
- the addition of son-in-law and sister-in-law to the bereavement list
- improvements to the grievance process
- the addition of reimbursement up to $750.00 for personal property loss or damage at work
- improved personal floating day options
In addition, this agreement ensures new letters of appointment to all staff which will make their guaranteed hours the same as their regularly scheduled hours. This new collective agreement demonstrates the strength of our union and we’re happy to report members voted unanimously in favour! The best way for workers to improve their working conditions is to come together and collectively bargain. If you know anybody who could benefit from Joining SEIU-West, have them call the SEIU-West Organizing Department at 1-888-999-SEIU.
The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour is currently recruiting to fill a vacancy to the position of Ready for Work Coordinator at the Federation’s Regina office.
The job description for the position is here.
The position is full-time (30 hours per week – Appendix A), and offers very competitive compensation, with excellent benefits, and flexibility. Terms and conditions of employment are set out in the collective agreement between the staff union (CUPE 4828) and the SFL.
Deadline for submission of applications and resumes is 12:00 noon, Monday, January 28, 2019.
Commencement date: As soon as can be arranged.
Please submit applications, complete with resume to:
c/o Lori Johb, President
Saskatchewan Federation of Labour
220 – 2445 – 13th Avenue
Fax: (306) 525-8960
e-mail: [email protected]
Here’s another great way SEIU-West has your back - an Employer hired for a position externally and by doing so failed to hire the in-scope member who applied for the job. SEIU-West was able to resolve this grievance at step 1 with the member being offered the position, which they accepted. This member was compensated for lost wages and seniority. Our member loves their job and we’re so happy to share in their celebration!
We have another great win that demonstrates the value of being a member of SEIU-West! An employer posted a vacant in-scope position but posted it as out of scope. When SEIU-West discovered this issue it was identified as a problem & the employer agreed to re-post the position as in-scope. There were no internal candidates but the out-of-scope employee (incumbent) applied. The employer awarded the position to this employee and then put them on probation. SEIU-West grieved this as this employee had already completed their probation period. Our union was able to reach an agreement that gave this member full seniority rights and completion of their probation period. Way to go!
Members in Security Services in the former Saskatoon Health Region held a festive and fun Holiday Party. Some of the members who coordinated the fun event arranged ways to raise funds for a member who is suffering financial hardship due to family health issues. The fundraising initiative was a great success that demonstrated to this member that their sisters and brothers in Security have their back not just at work, but out of work too. It’s amazing to see these members organizing this kind gesture and demonstrates SEIU-West has strong, caring leaders in our union and community!
As I mentioned in our most recent update, we received a lot of questions in our virtual town hall last week…I don’t want to lose sight of these questions and I want to ensure that we are responding to your questions.
Further to our townhall meeting, Dennel Pickering (CCA at Saskatoon Homecare), Shawna Colpitts (Director of Political Action & Education), and myself met with Premier Moe and the Minister of Labour, Don Morgan, to talk specifically about how workload and short staffing are affecting our members. Prior to this round of bargaining, I met with both the Minister of Health and the Minister of Rural & Remote Health, along with CUPE and SGEU, to talk about health care transformation….we have been very clear with these leaders that our members are working their asses off; that they deserve a raise; and they give their heart and soul to the patients, clients and residents of our health care system.
Continuing from December 13 SAHO Bargaining Telephone Town Hall Follow Up No.1:
#13: Can anyone touch on pensions? –James, Saskatoon.
I believe you were looking for a sense of what the impact would be with the proposed general wage increases on pensions…with our pension plan, it’s a defined benefit plan that bases your benefits on your best four years of service with your employer. With any collective agreement, the wage settlement would make a difference to what is considered your best years of service. In any year where there is no general wage increase, there would be no positive impact to your pension contributions. Considering that SHEPP is a jointly trusteed pension plan there is very limited ability for anyone other than the settlers of the plan or the trustee’s to make significant changes. Any unilateral changes would most likely have to be done by way of legislation or amendments to The Pension Benefits Act.
#14: Are there any improvements on the table besides wages e.g. pension or sick days…? – Brett, Saskatoon.
Not in the usual sense. In the update that I provided during our virtual townhall, I listed the things that we have been able to get the employer and the government to withdraw; and the language improvements that we’ve seen. We have introduced new and improved language on workload under OHS; JJE language to update and improve the pay equity plan; we’re working on a LOU to deal with the transition issues with the creation of the Sask Health Authority; recruitment and retention language to address the lack of staff in our workplaces; interpersonal violence leave language; and the massive amount of work we’ve put into the joint trusteeship process that will see our contribution rates remain the same while we get this in place. We have also received agreement that should SUN or HSAS or SGEU (Cancer Agency) receive greater general wage increases for any of the three years (April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2021) than what is agreed to with the Provider Unions, the difference will be added on the same year of the Provider Unions collective agreement.
Sure, it’s not ‘whiz-bang’ like the other items, but these are important achievements that our members have been demanding for quite a long time.
#15. Why should SEIU members take less than what SUN received? – Christina, Saskatoon.
In reviewing SUN’s collective agreement, for the period of 2014-2018, they received 0%/0%/1.5%/1.5%; they also received $800 lump sum payment for the years of 2014 and 2015. In our last collective agreement (2012-2017) we received 2%/1.5%/1.5%/1.55%/1.95%. SUN is currently in bargaining for a new agreement.
#16: Why is SEIU considering no general wage increase in any year of the collective agreement? It’s always the same – they should pay us what we’re worth which doesn’t mean no general wage increase. –Julie, location unknown.
That is why we are coming to our members. We want your feedback; we want to know how you feel about where we are at in bargaining. We have been out to meet with the members in person and we’ve held a number of virtual townhall meetings; we need to get direction on what our members want and then do our best to deliver a tentative agreement you can vote on. When we first started down this path the employer was expressing a desire to see a -3.5 in the compensation. At that time in our consultations with the members many were saying that a status quo agreement was sufficient just don’t lose anything. As we have negotiated our way past the negative 3.5 we understand that expectations have changed and that is why we have looked for increases in the last two years and a signing bonus upfront. You should absolutely be paid what you’re worth…but we are all up against a government that won’t pay us unless we put the pressure on them.
#17: Is there any talk of rolling back our benefits package? – Ted, Saskatoon.
There was talk…but not anymore. There was talk about members co-paying for their benefits, but not anymore. There was talk about the employer taking a contribution holiday, but we’ve ended that line of thinking by negotiating a proposal on setting up a joint trusteeship of our extended health and dental benefit plan that will have union representation providing input into the decisions made on behalf of the beneficiaries (you!) to the plan.
#18: Is the employer not offering any general wage increases so they don’t need to pay retro? And is that why they offer the lump sum payment? – Lindsay, location unknown.
This is negotiating, there is a hope that you’ll accept no general wage increase…and yes, then there would be no need for retro pay. The lump sum payment has been proposed by the coalition of health care unions to offset the lack of a general wage increase.
#19: If there was no general wage increase, there would be no retro, correct? And if a lump sum payment is taxable, why not enhance benefits or something else not taxable? – Audrey, Cudworth.
I’m assuming you are referring to extended health benefits. These benefits aren’t negotiated at the collective bargaining table – we have members on an EHB working group who make recommendations on benefit improvements to the ‘trustees’ to the EHB to operationalize.
But if you are referring to benefits like improved vacation or sick time or those types of benefits, I’ve got to be blunt with you, this wasn’t the round of bargaining to advance those proposals…not when we had to get the Government of Saskatchewan to move off that -3.5% mandate.
#20: We’ve had a contract before with two years of no general wage increases – has that been mentioned? – Janet, location unknown.
Thanks for raising this issue. It will be brought to the attention at the bargaining table and should be noted by all in all future discussions with MLAs and government as we have now confirmed that the Hospital Agreement between SAHO and the provider unions in the period January 1, 1992 to December 31, 1994 do contain two years where zero percent (0%) wage increase was accepted. This was done to manage fiscal restraint.
#21: Why can’t we have increases in the first half of the CBA? – Shelley, Saskatoon.
The bargaining committee considered this and the timeframe of bargaining. We put forward our proposal with the plan of getting any increases applied in the current time period – not in the past. Ultimately the membership gets to determine whether or not no increases in the first half of the agreement is acceptable. The negotiating committee’s mandate is to reach a tentative agreement that is acceptable to the membership and reflects the direction provided to them.
#22: If the employer doesn’t change their last offer and they force us to vote on their ‘final’ offer, what happens? What happens if we vote no? Is it back to the bargaining table and we lost all that has been agreed to? –Judy, location unknown.
Excellent questions! There is a difference in The Saskatchewan Employment Act (SEA) between a ‘last’ offer and a final offer; a ‘final’ offer simply means the employer is getting close to the end of bargaining. A ‘last’ offer is covered in the SEA as being a trigger for a vote of the membership on the offer. At the point we’re at right now – we are close to the end.
If our members voted no on the offer – then we would go back to the bargaining table. However, I would argue that the items we’ve agreed to up to now would still be agreed-to…I’m not sure everyone would agree with me on that!
#23: Is there a paper/electronic copy of all this information? – Tammy, location unknown.
If you go to the SEIU-West website and click on the bargaining in the ‘what we do’ section…you can read up on all the bargaining updates we’ve posted since before bargaining started. However, we are very cautious about putting the monetary proposals in black and white on these updates…so if it seems like I’m being super careful in my responses…that’s because I am.
#24: I’m a CCA, and my wages are so low its getting hard to keep up. Why aren’t they being made more aware of our low wages? – Theresa, Saskatoon.
Oh, they most definitely are (see above for the meetings with leaders in the Government of Saskatchewan!) And the employer representatives at the bargaining table know exactly what our members earn per hour. My comments during our townhall were pretty direct: your bargaining committee needs you to call/email – or better yet, visit your MLA to make sure that THEY know what you do, how hard you work, and how much you make. You are skilled, educated and professional – and the politicians need to know this directly from you. They have heard this from the bargaining committee. MLA’s need to know how their decisions will impact their constituents.
#25: When we retire, can our employer pay out our banked sick hours? This could help the use of sick time. –Maryana, location unknown.
Sadly, no. Our sick time is a negotiated benefit (an ‘insurance’ of sorts) that keeps our paycheques whole in the event of an illness. And we have progressive disability coverage beyond sick time: both short and long-term. During every round of bargaining, members request this type of payout, but this isn’t a path the employers want to go down because sick time is an unfunded bank, meaning that the employer doesn’t set aside money in their budget to cover this as it’s an unpredictable expense.
I think it’s important to point out that sick time is for use when you’re sick…if you’re healthy, that’s great. But there are points in our life where we need to access sick time because we are dealing with an illness. And as we come into an early flu season, I would echo the comments of the provincial public health doctor and say eat well, drink lots of fluids, and if you are sick, stay home to recuperate…don’t come to work sick!
#26: What is happening with professional fees? Anything new/better? –Terry, location unknown.
In the townhall update that was posted, I’ve outlined the changes to professional fees. The amount hasn’t changed, but we’ve made improvements to the effective dates of professional fees – reflecting those fees established as of April 1, 2017.
#27: When are they going to deal with seniority province wide? –Brenda, location unknown.
I would like the answer to that question as well! We’ve proposed a Letter of Understanding to deal with this on an interim basis; essentially, we have proposed a method to ‘park’ your seniority/timebanks/etc. while this gets nailed down. It’s similar to the process that is already used in the former SHR Gateway system – so it’s not introducing a new or different idea.
On the broader question about moving seniority/benefits throughout the province, or using seniority to bid on jobs, the health care provider unions have discussed this a number of times and are more than willing to negotiate this with the employer. We want to make sure that if members are moving, that there are clear, fair rules regarding probation or trial period; we want to lock down a formula for seniority (CUPE uses date of hire/SEIU-West and SGEU use hours based). These are not insurmountable questions.
#28: Would a lump sum payment include employees on WCB or short-term disability on the date of ratification? –Patti, location unknown.
The proposal as it stands currently has only one qualifier and that is the lump sum is payable to all who are on staff.
I believe it would have to – subject to the rules of those plans. It’s a question of non-discrimination – people who are recovering from an injury can’t be discriminated against because of ability. Also, they are still considered on staff – which would be the standard if this is accepted.
That brings us to a close on the updates for the virtual townhall meeting. We don’t have any more bargaining dates set in the new year as of yet.
On behalf of your bargaining committee, thanks for the feedback – it’s been really helpful and instructive. I know that people have concerns about what has been put forward…I respect that and your bargaining committee will make sure we share them with the employer.
But here’s my request of you…we need you to contact your MLA which you can do here. Your bargaining committee needs you to help push us over the finish line. Call/email/visit your MLA in person. This matters! When you add pressure to the elected politicians, they react and can help us get a deal you can vote on.
Have a good Christmas and enjoy the holidays, however you celebrate. For those of you working, thank you! You folks bring your ‘A’ game to the work every single day. We are proud of you and will work hard to get you a deal.
Don’t hesitate to contact us via the website if you have other questions regarding bargaining.
In Solidarity, on behalf of the SEIU-West SAHO bargaining committee,
Barbara Cape, President
Throughout 2018, SEIU-West members stood up for what they believe in and took action on issues that matter to our communities. SEIU-West members have joined together to face challenges head-on. We learned from one another, and empowered one another to be leaders. We formed strong and lasting bonds with each other, and also had fun as we collectively stood up for what we believe in. SEIU-West is comprised of some incredible people, and therefore incredible memories – together, let’s take a look back on some of these memorable moments of 2018 - click here to download the pdf of our 2018 Year in Review, or use the arrows in the bottom right corner of the report below to expand the document!
We have a very exciting win to share this week: members at Chinook School Division have ratified a new agreement! It is a 3 year agreement that includes a signing bonus of $675 to all full-time calendar and academic year employees and is prorated for part-time employees. All members will receive this signing bonus before Christmas. The members also achieved an agreement with wage increases each year: 1% in 2018, 2% in 2019, and 1% in 2020. We are so proud of the members for achieving this collective agreement and standing strong together – it is a real challenge when government continues to push for rollbacks but as demonstrated, our solidarity wins!