Labour Day is a day for us to pause and celebrate the contributions of working people to our society. Not only for those who are in a trade union, but for every worker.
The SEIU-West Political Action & Education Department is pleased to invite members to apply for the first ever Build Power, Win Justice two-day conference, taking place at Living Skies Casino in Swift Current on October 18 and 19th, 2023. Interested members can apply by completing this application form.
SEIU-West 2023 Convention took place in Saskatoon May 30 - June 1. Below is a summary of some key changes members should be aware of.
For Immediate Release
June 1, 2023
Saskatoon—Supporters of a strong public healthcare system joined SEIU-West members at the Saskatoon Cabinet Office to highlight the need for government investment in the patients, clients, and residents and the people who care for them in this province.
In our most recent update, we had identified to our SEIU-West members that vacation banks, time in lieu banks and stat/pro-stat banks would be posted in your workplaces by the end of March. Unfortunately, it was only recently brought to our attention that this did not happen
The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) and SEIU-West have resolved the outstanding grievances filed in response to the Proof of Vaccination/Monitored Testing Program.
SEIU-West is excited to be back at the Festival of Trees in Saskatoon this year! Thousands of visitors to the Festival are delighted when they arrive to see a collection of beautifully decorated trees, including our very own SEIU-West tree!
SEIU-West is especially proud to support this popular event as proceeds will benefit Saskatoon City Hospital’s Medical Imaging Department with an upgraded Fluoroscopy Suite. They’ll also replace the department’s aging portable x-ray unit with digital technology. Having the newest and best technology means clearer imaging, faster diagnoses, more efficient treatments, and improved safety.
As is the Purple way, we want to support this great cause with the use of a contest! We know decorating a tree is a wonderful way to spread holiday cheer – that’s why we’re holding a contest to determine who will be our SEIU-West Tree Decorating Team! If your team wins, you’ll all be invited to join the decorating day at the Western Development Museum on November 22 helping to make our union’s tree, “I’m Dreaming of a Purple Christmas”, become a reality! All your lost wages and expenses will be covered by SEIU-West! Decorations will also be provided.
How to enter?
- Teams can be no more than 2-4 people, and all team members must work at the same facility.
- As a team, we ask that you answer the following questions:
- Why does your team think SEIU-West is the best union in Saskatchewan?
- How does your team build solidarity and Purple Pride at your workplace?
- Send your team answers to [email protected]
The deadline to enter is November 12.
The winning team will not only get to decorate the tree, but they’ll also win the SEIU-West decorated tree that will be on display at the Festival of Trees to showcase at their workplace!
October 22, 2018
Dear Health Care Member:
Your SEIU-West, CUPE and SGEU bargaining committees met with SAHO in Saskatoon on October 18 and 19 to resume bargaining a fair and equitable collective agreement for all of our members.
We believe two outstanding issues remain: monetary and the Extended Health and Enhanced Dental Plan.
Shining A Light On…Mental Health
By Brittney Servetnyk, Young Worker Committee Member and CMHA Saskatoon Branch
The SEIU-West Young Workers Committee (YWC) is aiming to shine a light on issues that often get pushed into the shadows – in the last installment, the YWC shone a light on service animals and people with disabilities – in this article, the YWC interviewed staff at the Canadian Mental Health Association who share their insight on mental health, stigma, and suicide as we recognize September as National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.
Q: Why is there a stigma with mental health? How does it affect a person with mental health?
A: There is stigma associated with mental health problems because of a lack of understanding and information. Society perceives individuals with mental health problems in a negative manner as a result of the common misconceptions that are often portrayed in the media.
Stigma leaves an individual feeling unable to talk about what they are experiencing because of overwhelming shame, embarrassment, and fear of being rejected. These assumptions made about individual’s living with a mental health problem restrict them from opportunities including basic needs such as housing, nutrition, socialization, financial stability and participating in further education and/or the workforce.
Q: How can mental health education help break the stigma?
A: Mental Health education allows us to change the perceptions and assumptions made about individuals experiencing mental health problems. It assists in the normalization of mental health so that individuals who are struggling feel like they can talk about it and gain the support they need. It is important to understand and know how to address mental health so that we can support others as well as take care of our own mental health needs.
Q: Where can a person reach out for help?
A: If an individual believes they are struggling with their mental health their first step could be to talk to their family doctor, to explore their symptoms or concerns further. That individual could also ask their doctor for a referral to a psychiatrist who can provide a diagnosis and treatment options. Other options include therapeutic counselling, community support groups, or physical activity. However, anytime an individual has questions about mental health, resources or how to support a loved one they can always contact any Canadian Mental Health Association branch.
Q: Research shows rural and northern communities have higher suicide rates, how do we help address this crisis as a province?
A: It is true that individuals living in rural and northern communities face multiple barriers in accessing mental health services due to their geographical location and as a result are subjected to high rates of isolation. In particular, individuals struggling with mental health problems in rural areas are unable to access psychiatric care, to provide assessment of symptoms and treatment options. An alternative to this in rural areas could be additional training for resources already established within the community. For example, social workers who have the required experience and education can now apply to receive an authorized practice endorsement, which allows them to provide an official diagnosis for individuals experiencing mental health problems. Some other alternatives to addressing mental health in the rural areas could include having multidisciplinary teams, collaborative community networks, peer support and telemedicine.
Q: How can we the YWC and all SEIU-West members help?
A: SEIU-West can help spread awareness by talking about it, implementing healthy workplace strategies and taking the initiative to take care of your own mental health. More specifically, in my experiences in the workplace, I have seen a need for education and training to implement healthy workplaces strategies. Providing adequate training and education options such as Mental Health First Aid or the Psychological Health and Safety Standard for the select staff or support people is essential to best address mental health in the workplace.
SEIU-West is taking action on mental health awareness by incorporating it into our union training sessions such as Unionism in Practice, Duty to Accommodate, Facing Management Level II, our Domestic Violence Workshops and our upcoming OH&S course. We have also sponsored members to attend Mental Health First Aid. For more information, please contact [email protected].
Lori Johb has had many roles in the labour movement in Saskatchewan since the 1990s. In SEIU she has served as a shop steward, course facilitator, unit chair, and executive board member. She has served on the Executive Council of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL), first as a Vice-President and since 2010 as Treasurer. This June, she put herself forward as a candidate for SFL President after Larry Hubich announced his retirement. The vote will be held at the SFL Convention in Regina October 24-27. SEIU-West is delighted to share this interview and is proud to endorse Lori's bid to become our next SFL President!
Q: When did you first become a union member? What was your first introduction to a union role within SEIU?
A: I began working as a dietary aide at Lerose Lodge in LeRoy in 1988. At the time we were represented by SEIU Local 333. I was recruited almost immediately to become trained as a shop steward.
Q: What has motivated you most as you have climbed the steps of the engagement ladder?
A: Health care reform, which forced changes to union affiliation (more than once) has helped me grow as an activist. In 1996 our facility closed and we were merged with another long-term care facility. This experience showed me how working in solidarity with others can turn a devastating situation into something positive. These are just a couple of examples. Seeing the strength in others and in working together has motivated me to become a leader.
Q: Do you have a particular area of interest that led you to get involved with your union and the labour movement?
A: Ever since I first became involved in my union, one of my most important priorities has been worker safety. It started with workload issues and training around Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) which really convinced me that collectively we can make a difference. I encouraged our leadership at SEIU Local 333 to start a Worker Safety Committee. This committee continues to do great work. I believe ensuring workers are safe and healthy at work is one of the most important things we can do.
Q: If you could offer one piece of advice to those who are just becoming union members or just taking on their first leadership role — what would it be?
A: One of the best things about my role as a leader and as a facilitator is the chance to mentor young workers. The advice I like to give them is: be present. By this I mean, ask questions, show interest and don’t get discouraged. If you find an issue that interests you, speak up and take on a role, even if it scares you a little. We can be most effective when we step outside our comfort zone. Young people need to realize that they have a great advantage because the labour movement needs them more than ever.
Education and member involvement are always a win for our union, and we’re proud to share the growth of one of our members. This member was fearful of discrimination due to a family illness concern but with the help of their union, this member is now aware of their rights and has a greater understanding of how their union can provide support during a disability claim. We want to thank all members for taking these important steps in knowing their rights at work – we are Stronger Together!
For many, Labour Day is just the last long weekend of summer, enjoyed with little understanding of its origin or relevance. For activists within the labour movement, however, Labour Day is an important opportunity to educate the public about the many workplace protections and benefits they enjoy because of the good work of labour unions; like the 40 hour work week, maternity leave, worker’s compensation benefits, and workplace safety standards.
In my experience as the President of SEIU-West, I have enjoyed many face to face conversations with our members. Some have come to the workplace and inherited their union, while others have fought tirelessly to organize their union in their workplace. These conversations have taught me that our members are the experts. Whether they work in crisis support, health care, education support, community based organizations or addictions recovery, our members share – a constant desire to improve the services they provide in order to make their community better for everyone.
At SEIU-West, we share this perspective. We want to build partnerships to improve the many communities where our members work and live. We offer a network of opportunities to our members; pathways for them to learn, participate and engage. We know that enhancing the involvement of our members in our union enriches both workplace and community health. We do this work because we want the public to better understand the critical role unions play within our society. We have a shared interest in the protection of quality democracy. We believe in and will champion a fair society.
Politically, there has long been an agenda to weaken the role of unions. Driven by the self-interest of the rich and powerful, this ideology attempts to undermine unions’ work on behalf of our members; to under-value the efforts to address social justice issues and create balance in the power dynamic between workers and their bosses. Unions believe that by educating the public and dispelling the myths surrounding our organizations, we can build stronger and better alliances that benefit not just our members, but all working people.
As a consequence, we take a great deal of pride in the celebration of Labour Day and we share with our many members, an energetic interest in strengthening their participation and motivating their engagement whether it be at Labour Day events or the many other opportunities that will build a better and more equal society in our future.
Our SEIU-West/SAHO bargaining committees are returning to the table this week on October 18-19. We are continuing to deliver the message: NO Cuts! NO Rollbacks! Pay us what we’re worth! In order to demonstrate support for this message, we ask that you wear purple this Thursday, October 18! Take a picture of you and your fellow SEIU-West members to show your purple pride and support for bargaining a fair deal. You can then post that picture on our Facebook page or email [email protected] for your chance to WIN A PRIZE!
As of October 17, 2018, recreational marijuana use and possession will be legal. SEIU-West encourages all our members to approach this change responsibly.
This legislative change does not mean that it is now permissible to use or have marijuana at the workplace, nor does it mean that we can come to work impaired.
Doing so will mean you may be subject to Employer discipline.
SEIU-West is proud to recognize October 16, 2018 as Pharmacy Technician Day! Members who work as Pharmacy Technicians are essential to our public health care team; they prepare, check and distribute medications and pharmacy supplies to ensure patients are safely supplied their prescribed predications or over the counter medicines. They also help share proper patient information with other health care professionals.
Pharmacy Technicians assist both Pharmacists and patients, residents and clients requiring medications as they demonstrate their valuable contribution to health care outcomes. They work to progress our communities to better health, and we thank them for all their incredible efforts each and every day!
To celebrate Pharmacy Technician Day, SEIU-West asks that you to participate in the Pharmacy Technician Day Contest! Simply tell us how a Pharmacy Technician has helped you/your family – email [email protected] by October 22, 2018 for your chance to win some awesome prizes!
October 15, 2018
JOINT IT NEGOTIATIONS UPDATE – SEIU-WEST, SGEU, CUPE
The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), Ehealth Saskatchewan (eHS) and the health provider unions, CUPE, SEIU-West and SGEU, met on October 9 and October 12 to continue negotiating the transfer of Information Technology (IT) employees from the SHA to eHS, expected to take place at the end of the year. The negotiations became necessary because of the Government of Saskatchewan’s instructions to the Ministry of Health for the SHA to abolish IT services in the provincial health authority and turn the service over to eHS.
CUPE, SEIU-West and SGEU met with representatives from Saskatchewan Healthcare Employees’ Pension Plan (SHEPP) the morning of October 12 to discuss options for members relating to their pensions.
Each of our three unions polled IT members and, based on their input, presented a document to the employer that proposed the principles that would form the basis of an agreement on the transfer process.
The unions made it clear to the SHA, numerous times, that it was their intent to negotiate with the Employer through this transition but not in an information vacuum. Before any final document could be produced, the unions required information on all aspects of the transition (seniority, wages scales, employment rights, benefits, pensions, etc.) to make informed decisions.
The SHA representatives, when presented with the framework for an agreement abruptly ended negotiations at 4:00 p.m.so they could, “step away to consider other options”. Their chief spokesperson indicated the employer side believed an agreement could not be finalized and signed before their self-imposed deadline of October 15, 2018. Interestingly, both sides agreed they were still waiting for costing information that might have an impact on the terms of any agreement.
CUPE, SEIU-West and SGEU are disappointed in the bad faith actions of the SHA, and while we are hopeful the Employer will see fit to return to the negotiating table, the unions are also reviewing options to best represent our members’ interests and to work to maintain our quality health care system.
SEIU-West, CUPE and SGEU
SEIU-West is excited to celebrate Facilities and Engineering Week October 14-20, 2018!
Those who work in Facilities and Engineering are an integral part of the health care team. Patients, staff and residents rely on quality heating, water and lighting systems to be functional and well-organized in order to support safe health care environments. Members who work in Facilities and Engineering work in a variety of fields including: Building and Energy Maintenance, Construction, Waste Management, Groundskeeping and Landscaping, and Clinical and Plant Engineering.
Members like Zoe, who works as a Facility Maintenance Operator, enjoy the new challenges that occur each day in the health care sector.
In recognition of the hardworking people who strive to keep our health care environments safe and operational, we encourage you to participate in the Facilities and Engineering Week contest! We ask that you nominate a member who works within Facilities and Engineering and tell us why they’re important to you. By taking part, you will both be entering to win a number of great prizes including concert tickets, gift cards, and more! Just email [email protected] by October 22, 2018 for your chance to win!
From October 15-21, 2018 SEIU-West is proud to recognize Medical Device Reprocessing (MDR) Week! Those who work in MDR are vital to ensuring the safety of patients and residents as their job is to prepare health care equipment so it’s safe and ready to use.
There’s a lot of work behind this job – they must examine, construct, sterilize and decontaminate all used health care equipment. Because patient and staff depend on the cleanliness and functionality of the equipment, our members who work in MDR must be highly focused and thorough in their work.
As we extend our greatest thanks to those who work in MDR, we ask that you participate in our MDR Week Contest! Just complete the word search below and send to [email protected] by October 22, 2018!