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”.
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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.
Your union bargaining committees met this week from Sunday, March 25 to Wednesday, March 28. We continue to remain focused on getting the best agreement possible.
There was a great deal of development work on both sides of the table to review, prepare and respond to proposals. We face many challenges, including grave concerns about short staffing protocols and processes, lack of investment in the provincial health care system, the threat of the -3.5% rollback, and the transition to the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA). Your bargaining committees are thinking about these and how they impact our members every single day.
There are real bread and butter issues that our members feel passionately about, which we are trying to address through bargaining. These include: recruitment and retention, workload, professional fees, electronic call back, maintaining our Extended Health and Enhanced Dental Plan (EHDP), and creating a joint trusteeship to ensure that the funds of the EHDP are invested for the plan’s long-term access.
We are also looking at long-term goals and strategies that will ease the anxiety of our members and create a sense of stability within the health care system. We are advocating for a formal structure to deal with issues arising from the transition to the SHA; we need to tackle what a provincial health authority means for our members’ ability to bid on jobs, transfer seniority, and maintain their benefits throughout the province.
We hope that the Government of Saskatchewan recognizes that it is health care workers who provide the care, keep the buildings running, and comfort the sick, vulnerable and dying. But health care workers are running on empty, and we need the support and investment from our government to make a difference.
The SEIU-West, CUPE and SGEU bargaining committees want to thank all of you who have written, called or visited your MLA to talk about the work you do and the importance of a fair collective agreement. We are calling on you to continue to reach out to get the message out to the Government of Saskatchewan, which funds health care. Our next bargaining dates are April 5, 6, and 7. So ring those phones, send those emails, and pay a visit to your MLA to tell them health care providers need a raise.
Your SEIU-West, SGEU and CUPE bargaining committees
"I enjoy working with the residents to maintain their independence" - Princess.
SEIU-West, SAHO, and the new Saskatchewan Health Authority have reached an agreement with respect to Medical Care Leave, often a grievance issue.
Medical Care Leave will be calculated on a calendar year, rather than a fiscal year. That has been the practice of payroll for several years, which violated the CBA (collective bargaining agreement). The 16 hours will be available to all employees under the SAHO/SEIU collective agreement, including casuals, and will not be pro-rated. Agreement is effective as of January 1, 2018. Way to go!
Opening our door to promote meaningful dialogue
Apply Today! Pharmacy Association of Saskatchewan (PAS) Conference
Your health care provider coalition met during the week of March 12-16, 2018 in Saskatoon with SAHO. Negotiations had previously broken off at the end of November of 2017 when we were unable to agree to a set of principles that would set us on a path to achieving a collective agreement.
This week’s round marks the beginning of formal coalition bargaining. We are not bargaining individual union items; we are trying to get down to proposals that will conclude a tentative agreement that meets our members’ needs and that our members will accept.
The bargaining committees have been focusing on professional fees; our Extended Health and Dental Plan; a joint trusteeship agreement; workload issues; recruitment and retention; interpersonal violence; a letter of understanding to address a process for transition issues (as we move to the Saskatchewan Health Authority); and a general wage increase. The coalition Unions’ bargaining committees maintain a no cuts, no concession, no rollbacks position.
Unfortunately, the parties were not able to reach agreement this week, but we have scheduled additional dates to continue working towards a resolve to a new collective agreement for each union.
Many of our members have told each union, the transition issues are “big,” covering: seniority; transfer of benefits and various time banks; co-employment; job postings and biddings, among other things. There is a lot of anxiety and tension among members as we move through the Employer’s transition. We want to assure our members that we are working diligently to address those issues as quickly as possible. In the interim, if you have any questions about this process, do not hesitate to call your union for further information. Remember: do not attend a meeting without a union representative present; talk with your union first.
Continue to watch your union bulletin boards, websites and/or Facebook pages for further updates.
Thanks to all of you for your support. Together, we can achieve a fair collective agreement.
In solidarity, on behalf of your SGEU, SEIU-West and CUPE bargaining committees.
Virtual town halls are a really good tool! Your bargaining committee is able to reach as many members as possible in the most time (and cost) efficient way possible. As a quick note, over 1000 members joined our call in the evening of February 21 and over 700 joined our call during the afternoon of February 22. Some members joined us online; some members only joined for about 15 minutes (the length of time of a coffee break?).
Further to our virtual town hall questions, here is the next round of Q and A from our members (click to read the first SAHO Bargaining and Telephone Town Hall Follow Up in this series):
#9: If we don’t luck out with this contract would a rollback be retroactive and what about if someone retires in the meantime? – Terry, location unknown.
We do not agree with any wage rollback. And further to that, we would not allow a rollback to be retroactive. For us, for our members, this is more than a slogan, it’s a fundamental principle that we will defend. Cuts and rollbacks contribute nothing to a progressive society; they do not promote a healthy and safe workplace; and they stop any ability to recruit and retain all of our skilled and professional healthcare workers.
Retirement provisions are based on a member’s best four (4) years…that wouldn’t change.
#10: When talking about this rollback… my husband and I both work for the health regions and my son worked for STC and lost his job… Can the question be asked of our politicians if their family had a reduction in pay to their family income would they survive? – Katherine, Saskatoon.
First, I’m truly sorry your son lost his job with STC. In my opinion, this was a public service that supported rural and remote communities, seniors, and so many more who needed the lift. The parcel service assisted businesses to thrive and helped in the transfer of medicine and lab specimens. No, it wasn’t a money maker, but that isn’t what its purpose was – it was a welcome support to the province everything should not be about making money – sometimes being a public good is the purpose!
That being said, I think you should contact your own MLA, and the Minister of Health, Jim Reiter, and ask that very question. When we’ve talked to the Minister of Health, he states that MLAs, Ministers; the heads of the Crown Corp have all taken a 3.5% cut to their salary. But the base salary for a MLA is $96,000/year… a 3.5% cut brings them down to $93,000/year…I think they’ll be able to pay their power bill! However a 3.5% cut to an average wage of $25/hour is a more direct hit to the pocket book and it is simply not affordable.
#11: Expenses have gone up so much, how can we live with a 3.5% reduction in pay? Will we be getting a fair living wage adjustment? – Tusit, Saskatoon.
Well, the short answer is that we can’t live with that 3.5% reduction… its brutally simple. This 3.5% reduction is to total compensation, so it’s not just wage reductions that are being contemplated, but any initiative that can reduce costs for the employer – and by extension the Government of Saskatchewan.
We are already in an environment where vacant shifts are not replaced and short staffing protocols are used routinely in the workplace. As a result we are running to provide care and services. How can we continue to do that and take a cut of 3.5%? We cannot.
#12: Re: JJE plan review, will continuing education be taken into account? – Kimberley, Saskatoon
Currently, continuing education is not factored into the JJE rating system… but the WHOLE plan will be reviewed to bring it up to date. We will be proposing that continuing education be a consideration in the education factor as a whole when rating jobs.
#13: A question about rollbacks: SaskPower has refused the rollbacks but will take ‘days off’…this has not been settled. Where are we on this? – Kevin, location unknown.
I am not aware that the staff of SaskPower have agreed to take days off – this might have been a proposal at their table. I do know that SaskPower put forward a package that would reach the 3.5% reduction but the members of one of the IBEW locals rejected this soundly. I do not know if they are back at the bargaining table.
The ‘days off’ proposed notion is still a rollback in our perspective. But further to this, it raises a number of questions about how services would be provided.
There is already chronic short-staffing and processes that do not replace staff on short term vacancy. Presently, there is no Employer (SAHO) proposal for unpaid days off.
#14: Does staying casual preserve these benefits while waiting for the process? – Sabrina, on-line.
I’m not sure what process is being referred to, but I’m going to work on the assumption that the process being referred to is the transition to the new SHA and the question of being co-employed between former RHA’s and between multiple unions. Staying casual should preserve your benefits and seniority. However, if you are having difficulties with your employer, we would strongly recommend that you call the MRC and arrange for a Leave of Absence (LOA) in order to formally preserve your benefits while this process is sorted out.
#15: is there an option to combine Family Illness Leave and Medical Care Leave into one bank so that the benefit is available for those who do not have a family to utilize Family Illness Leave for? – Shanna, on-line.
Family Illness Leave is provided for the following people: parent, spouse, brother, sister, child, common-law spouse, former guardian, fiancé, grandchild or someone with whom you have had a similar relationship. Also a host of in-laws, nieces, nephews and grandparents…check out article 15.08. It is distinct from medical care leave which is for the employee and it can be combined with sick leave for additional paid time off. If adequacy of medical care leave paid time off is an issue, please put this forward for the next round of bargaining.
#16: I would like to know, when will seniority transfer be provincial in nature? – Adrienne, Regina
We are currently working on this as part of our discussions around transition issues with the new SHA. We do not know exactly when this will be finalized. We are currently telling members that if they want to move to a different union jurisdiction, take a LOA from the position they are leaving in order to preserve benefits and seniority while this is dealt with.
We’ll have more updates in the next few days as well as an update on how bargaining has gone this week. Thanks for staying in touch and don’t forget to contact your MLA and the Minister of Health and the Minister of finance to add pressure to change this regressive mandate from 3.5% rollbacks.
If you have any questions about your workplace or collective agreement, don’t hesitate to contact the Member Resource Center at 1-888-999-7348 ext. 2298.
Your SEIU-West Bargaining Committee.
Apply Today! SAMIM SADMS SAMRT Conference
We are starting a week of bargaining with our coalition partners, SGEU and CUPE, and SAHO. We remain hopeful that we can see a breakthrough in this process and be able to present a fair collective agreement to you for consideration. There is still a lot of change and instability within our health system as they transition to the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA); there is a provincial budget being delivered on April 10; and there are rumours of settlements within other areas of the public sector.
Our Provincial Contract Action Team (PROCAT) have been busy meeting in facilities across the province. Talking with members about the actions and activities they can do to build momentum during this round of bargaining. Sometimes bargaining feels like a ‘hurry up and wait’ situation, but there are a number of actions that our members can do to talk about bargaining in the workplace; share the issues within the community; write to the Minister of Health to talk about no cuts or rollbacks. If they haven’t been in your area yet, they will be planning to come out. If you want to set up a meeting, please contact Dennel Pickering at [email protected].
On February 21 and 22, we held another set of telephone town halls with members from across the province. The turn-out was great, and the feedback was even better. The questions that you asked helped focus our work for this week. Today and in the coming updates, we’ll follow up on the remaining questions and answers for you.
#1: Will there be a standardized seniority? (eg: CUPE uses date of hire and SEIU uses hours-based) – Patricia, location unknown.
Every member that I have talked to about seniority would rather keep our hours-based seniority system within SEIU-West. And quite likely, CUPE (date of hire) and SGEU (hours based) members would like to keep their systems. We believe there is a way to maintain the different seniority processes and still ensure that if a member moves to a different region, their seniority can be transferred with them. The issue of seniority is only one of many that we have to address in transitioning to the new SHA.
#2: Can you tell me why there are more jobs being reviewed by JJE when the process has not been completed yet through bargaining? – Jacqueline, Saskatoon.
The Joint Job Evaluation (JJE) plan is being reviewed in its entirety. The plan was established over 15 years ago and there hasn’t been a full review since. And while the plan is going to be reviewed, that doesn’t mean that their current work doesn’t continue. Actually conducting provincial job reviews will provide us with more information about where the plan needs to be improved.
Through bargaining, we have been able to negotiate a LOU that sets out, in the interim, that for jobs where the education factor change has reduced wages, the JJE plan will keep wages at their current rate; where the education factor change has increased wages, the JJE plan will implement those higher wages. In the meantime, the JJE Maintenance Committee will continue to review jobs, and the Committee of the Parties (COPs) will review all factors in the plan to make them more reflective of today’s job requirements.
#3: Wondering if pensions are going to be rolled back – wanting that to be a priority in terms of avoiding that and any wage rollbacks too – Wanda, Saskatoon.
There are no proposals around pension rollbacks. The Saskatchewan Healthcare Employee Pension Plan (SHEPP) is jointly trusteed by both employer and union representatives. Any changes to the pension plan would need to be agreed to by the Pension Trustees and the Pension Partners (also comprised of both employer and union representatives). Avoiding any reductions or rollbacks in both wages and pensions is a priority for your SEIU-West bargaining committee.
#4: We have not had a major wage increase in a long time. How can they even discuss taking things away from us? Tired of having to pay them to work – Elizabeth, location unknown.
The reason cuts and rollbacks are being contemplated by the government is because there is a deficit of $1.5 billion and rather than raising taxes or raising royalty rates, the government is trying to save money within the public sector by asking workers to cut their wages and compensation.
The Sask Party government thought health care workers would be so glad to keep on working they would accept all the cuts and rollbacks without any protest – boy, were they wrong! Members like you have been contacting their MLAs to tell them it’s not fair – it’s bad economic policy and raises a number of questions regarding free collective bargaining. And don’t think that it doesn’t matter – because when the MLA’s get pressure, they add pressure to the Minister of Health and the Premier about concerns from the public. We are asking our members to keep up the pressure and make this government understand how unfair their budget balancing plan is.
#5: How are we supposed to feed our families; educate ourselves to maintain our skills; and pay our bills in the midst of wage cuts?? – Helen, Humboldt.
That’s a brilliant question… and the short answer is I have no idea; these are the very same issues we have been raising at the bargaining table in the face of these cuts. My advice to you is that you need to call your MLA (find your MLA here) and ask him or her that very question. Regardless of whether they are SaskParty or NDP, our elected officials need to be listening to your concerns; they need to provide you with answers, and not some ‘spin’; and they need to take your concerns forward.
#6 Member feels that the government has a huge advantage with us chasing our tails discussing a 3.5% decrease instead of an increase. Any form of discussion on decreases is totally unacceptable, we should be talking about what size increase – Kari, Saskatoon.
We aren’t buying into this notion of the 3.5% reduction. Our members have said – and it’s become our mantra: “NO cuts, NO rollbacks, Treat Us With Respect and Pay Us What We’re Worth!” And we’ll stand by that message and stand by our members. With respect though, I disagree with the idea that government has a huge advantage, because they don’t have our members! Our members are stepping up to phone, email and visit their MLA to hold them accountable on the concessions in bargaining…they are helping to build pressure and momentum to change the mandate at the bargaining table.
#7: Is it possible to add to the bargaining to change family illness leave to family responsibility leave? Language like SUN – Debra, Beechy.
I would have to say that I don’t think that is likely at this point in the process. During our bargaining conference and through the bargaining surveys, this wasn’t identified as a priority for this round of bargaining. That being said, I know that many members keenly feel and see the difference in application of this language.
#8: What is happening with the 3.5% reduction in pay? – Zigerva, location unknown.
As far as we know, it may still be the mandate from the Government of Saskatchewan. But we have not accepted that health care workers should take cuts and rollbacks. Not when we are behind the cost of living. As I’ve mentioned before, our members have said ‘NO!’ to cuts, rollbacks and concessions. My challenge to you is to send a letter to your MLA through our campaign page.
Or, if you would prefer to call your MLA, you can find their contact information – listed by constituency – on the Legislative Assembly website (if you don’t know your constituency, you can look it up by entering your postal code on Elections Saskatchewan).
If you want to actually meet with your MLA, our Political Action & Education department is coordinating group meetings with MLAs. All you have to do is email [email protected] and we’ll work out a plan to get a meeting with your provincial representative.
Whichever way you choose to contact your MLA, be sure to let them know what you do as part of the health care team and how important your work as a health care providers is to your community. And after that, ask your partner/spouse; neighbours; friends and co-workers to do the same thing to provide us with the support and momentum to get their regressive mandate changed.
SEIU-West, SAHO, and the new Saskatchewan Health Authority have reached an agreement with respect to ongoing TOIL (time off in lieu), often a grievance issue.
It is now clear all SEIU-West members under the SAHO collective agreement will be able to bank TOIL if they wish. Scheduling time off remains by mutual agreement. TOIL banks will have a running cap of 100 hours, and banks will be paid out every year in March.
For members currently banking TOIL, the effective date of payout is March, 2019. If a member’s department arrangements currently has no cap or a cap greater than 100 hours, the “better than” remains.
If a member’s department arrangements currently has a cap less than 100 hours, then the cap gets raised to 100 hours, effective right now. If member is denied banking of TOIL, the ability to bank TOIL as per the terms is effective right now. Great work resolving grievances!