This award has been established to honour Shelly Banks who led by example and served as SEIU-West vice-president from 2008-2015.
Her invaluable and outstanding contributions have made a significant and lasting impact on our members and our union.
This award has been established to honour Shelly Banks who led by example and served as SEIU-West vice-president from 2008-2015.
Her invaluable and outstanding contributions have made a significant and lasting impact on our members and our union.
For Immediate Release - March 2, 2023
Saskatchewan— Yesterday, the Federal and Provincial governments announced an agreement in principle on health care funding. Saskatchewan will get almost $6 billion in federal funding over the next 10 years, including an “unconditional, one-time” Canada Health Transfer (CHT) top-up of $61 million to deal with “immediate” needs, such as pressures in children’s hospitals, emergency rooms, and long surgical wait times.
Date: February 24, 2023
Sisters, Brothers and Comrades,
On February 22 and 23, your SEIU-West Bargaining Committee met to review and finalize the package of proposed changes that we are intending to make to the SEIU-West/SAHO collective agreement.
We’ve heard from our members, very clearly, that the cost of living and its impact on healthcare workers is not sustainable. Members have identified their priority is to be paid more money, and to be respected for their contributions to keeping the Saskatchewan healthcare system afloat.
Period poverty describes the struggle faced by women and girls who cannot afford the cost of menstrual products, like pads or tampons. Having a period is a regular occurrence for 50% of the population; however for those who cannot afford basic sanitary supplies, it can become a monthly ordeal that limits their ability to go to school or work. Access to period products is a necessity, yet 1 in 3 Canadian women have sacrificed something else to buy pads or tampons.
All extended health care and dental expenses incurred in 2022 must be submitted to Canada Life before April 30, 2023.
Do you want to be more involved in the governance of your Union? Do you have a unique voice to lend to the Executive Board? Here's your chance!
Saskatchewan—The Health Standards Organization (HSO) has released their highly anticipated Long-Term Care (LTC) standards. SEIU-West strongly supports these standards and encourages that they be made mandatory across Canada.
Date: January 27, 2023
Sisters, Brothers and Comrades,
Your SEIU-West Bargaining Committee met January 25 and 26, to conclude our review of the SEIU-West proposal package. We also reviewed a package of “common proposal”, where SEIU-West, SGEU Health Providers and CUPE have the same language, to identify improvements our members have identified in their replies to the bargaining updates, in their calls and emails to the Member Resource Center and in their responses and comments in the bargaining survey that our members completed.
It has come to the Union's attention that a few of our members have been requested by the employer to sign a Letter of Discipline or Letter of Expectation they received. The signing line states that the member has read and understands the contents of the letter. Please note that signing such a letter is strictly voluntary and is not a requirement. Members are not obligated to sign. If you are uncomfortable with signing the letter or if you do not understand or agree with the contents of the letter, you may refuse to sign it. In the event that you feel pressured to sign, despite your discomfort, you may simply mark the letter with the words "Refuse to sign."
Should you have any questions or concerns regarding a Letter of Discipline or Letter of Expectation, please contact the Member Resource Centre by calling 1.888.999.7348 ext. 2298, by emailing [email protected], or by completing the Contact Form on our website.
Saskatoon – A recent assault on a health care provider walking to Royal University Hospital (RUH) from their car located off-site has shone a bright light on the lack of parking for hospital staff and safety of our streets.
SEIU-West is pleased to sponsor up to five (5) members to attend the SFL Pensions and Benefits Conference 2023, taking place March 22 & 23 in Regina.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) is looking for feedback from health care staff on the AIMS program. Please check the SHA Daily Rounds - December 5, 2022 email for more information and other opportunities to participate.
If you have any questions about your collective agreement, please contact the Member Resource Centre (MRC).
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.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) and SEIU-West have resolved the outstanding grievances filed in response to the Proof of Vaccination/Monitored Testing Program.
We know that SEIU-West members have hearts of gold. We see it in the jobs they do, the stories they tell, and the actions they take. We see purple out there helping communities every day.
There’s been a bit of a gap in the updates on the questions following up from our virtual town hall meetings held in late September. Since then, there have bargaining sessions with SAHO held and a laser like focus on achieving a fair and equitable collective agreement. Not to mention the increased activity around the ‘go live’ date for the new provincial health authority set for December 4, 2017.
So we return to the questions that were presented during our town hall meetings (these are continued from the Oct. 13, Oct. 17, Oct. 24 and Oct. 30) We want to be certain that we are closing the loop on our communications and ensuring that when you ask a question of your union – you get an answer.
16. Where are they sitting at with contracting out work. The employers is sending out Lab work to DynaCare? – Carla, Saskatoon.
This is a great example of our members getting the information to us because unfortunately, the employer doesn’t always check with the union or the collective agreement before they embark on a path like this! (I know, what are they thinking??!!) Like every area in healthcare, we are short-staffed in labs. The DynaCare solution was a stop-gap until the Employer could get some staff recruited. There are 4 new people lined up to start within the next 2 months. Dynacare service is going to end in January. When members were asked their opinion on the best way to address this, they reluctantly agreed to this temporary measure as opposed to being mandated for overtime.
Further to this, when the Government of Saskatchewan decided to shut down STC, there was no consultation or engagement with the health regions who relied on STC to provide transport for lab specimens for testing and diagnosis. This has created another layer of a privatized service. A private for profit company called LifeLabs charge the health regions for transporting lab specimens for testing. The short answer to this problem is that in order to address costs and create an efficient responsive lab service, we need to make sure we have the correct equipment, staff and supports in place. Lab services are incredibly important: they provide testing for cancer, disease, immunology and the list goes on. If our lab services are compromised, it impacts timely care provided to everyone.
17. Why doesn’t the bargaining committee challenge the employer on how many management there are as there are so many less front line workers? Where did the employer find the money for more management jobs? – Michelle, Moose Jaw.
The bargaining committee hasn’t challenged this because there is no way to guarantee less management will translate into more front line staff. The bargaining committee is focused on our primary goal – getting our members a good collective agreement. With that said, it doesn’t mean that SEIU-West hasn’t raised this concern numerous times and in a number of different forums. We have talked about this issue with the Ministry of Health, the health regions, and 3sHealth. Using the exact same perspective that our members see every day; there appears to be multiple layers of management but getting our positions or vacant shifts filled doesn’t seem to be a priority.
I was once told by a senior health region executive that ‘actually’ the Saskatchewan Health regions run with less management that other health regions…I’m not buying that. Right now, we are seeing the departure of some OOS managers because of the impending changes with the provincial health authority. I don’t want to see front line health care workers leave because of the knowledge, skill and professionalism that you bring to the job every day.
18. Member’s is off sick with Huntington’s on DIP and will never work again but is an SEIU-West member. God bless you – Phyllis.
Well, I don’t know what to say except thanks and bless you too! I wish you as much positive energy and peace as you manage your illness…it can’t be easy.
19. Why is there a discrepancy on the mileage payout between the CCAs and the LPNs or RNs? – Francis, Moose Jaw.
There shouldn’t be a difference in the mileage rate for LPNs and CCAs. They are captured under the same collective agreement language in our SEIU-West contract.
RNs negotiated a different rate than we did. We’ve tried to raise this rate for our home care members and all other members who are required to travel for their work. Over the years we’ve seen modest increases, but they have simply not matched what SUN negotiated for their members. We have repeatedly advised the employers and SAHO (in negotiations) that the mileage rates are intended to offset personal cost for the use of one’s vehicle – and these costs are the same for all health sector employees. Our advice has fallen on deaf ears.
20. With SAHO continuing to insist on cuts to pay, is this considered actively bargaining or an unfair labour practice? – Kevin, Saskatoon.
Let me as blunt as possible – it’s not just SAHO that is insisting on these cuts, it is the Government of Saskatchewan who have stuck their nose into bargaining in a way they have not done in my past experience. I’ve said this before and will say it again: that this is government’s mandate – but that it is not the mandate that the bargaining committee was given from our membership.
What SAHO is doing could be considered “hard bargaining” which is not an unfair labour practice (ULP). While our recent Supreme Court decision won unions the right to collective bargaining, the court has clarified unions don’t have a right to any certainty in the outcome of bargaining.
SAHO has moved in that they reduced their initial proposal from a menu of cuts amounting to 4.09% down to a menu of cuts amounting to 3.6% (ironic slow clap here)…but we are seeing movement. If we file an ULP complaint with the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board, progress is halted and it isn’t clear that we’ll see a positive result. It could also trigger the government to introduce legislation to set out what the outcome of collective bargaining will be, much like what the government in both Manitoba and Nova Scotia have done.
While we can always mount a legal challenge to government legislation to force changes, the best agreements are the ones that we negotiate ourselves.
21. With the new health authority what will be the effect on seniority due to other unions and merging? – Deanna, Kyle.
At this point, all three unions, SEIU-West, CUPE and SGEU, are taking the position that our seniority processes remain the same. So that would mean SEIU-West members still earn seniority based on hours worked, as opposed to date of hire.
The transition team for the new health authority wants to see a standard way of addressing seniority for all health providers. So there are discussions still to be had in this regard.
As well, the three unions have proposed a formal bargaining association that would manage bargaining and provincial issues. When we look at provincial issues, we consider postings/bidding; transfers; and grievances that would have a provincial impact to be included in that category. We believe that this health care provider association is a way to avoid having representation votes between the three unions; that it will assist in providing labour relations stability for the move to one health authority and also ease some of the anxiety for our members going through this health region restructuring.
22. With the proposed cutbacks, some job titles and positions are fairly similar to market level. Others such as the trades are a huge gap. How can that gap be addressed? – Kelly, Saskatoon.
This is an area of particular interest to me as I’ve spent a fair amount of time getting to know the trades and their issues, what the market pressures are, and spent time touring their work sites and getting to know more about the actual work being done.
In our last round of bargaining, we got creative in addressing the trades specific market issues and developed a LOU on retention bonuses that would address the market pressures being experienced in certain locations and classifications.
Unfortunately, the retention bonuses were withdrawn by the employer as they felt that the market pressures were no longer present. We are losing skilled professionals from the health system in a way that doesn’t recognize their knowledge and value and that is a damn shame!
We’ve reached out to members in the affected classifications to ask for market information so that we can reintroduce the retention bonus and get back to par. Other avenues for this to be addressed is via the provincial market supplement program or through negotiated market adjustments But we need the data to be successful in this argument; we need your knowledge and expertise so that we can provide the evidence that will guide better decision making.
Your SEIU-West bargaining committee is going back to the table with SAHO and the employers November 23rd to 27th. We are bargaining through the weekend because we believe that there is an opportunity to increase the pressure on the elected politicians and elevate the debate on what this new Saskatchewan Health Authority will look like as a ‘future state’.
We are continuing to ask members, their families, and friends to call your MLA, tell them what a cut of 3.5% would do to your ability to live and work and raise a family in Saskatchewan. Tell them about the value you bring to the workplace every single day and be proud of this work!
I spoke to one tradesman who told me about a doorstep conversation he had with his MLA – when he talked about the recruitment and retention challenges he experienced, his MLA told him to go get another job! What??!! That is not the answer…maybe that MLA should get another job when he’s voted out of office!
Oct 13: Virtual Town Hall Follow Up Part One
Oct 17: Virtual Town Hall Follow Up Part Two
Oct. 24: Virtual Town Hall Follow Up Part Three
Oct. 30: Virtual Town Hall Follow Up Part Four
Health Care Provider Week:
Op-Ed: Health Care Provider Week
Celebrating Health Care Provider Week
SAHO Bargaining Page
Transformational Change Page
NOTE: the next round of bargaining sessions is set for November 23 to 27, 2017.
Click here to download a printable PDF of SEIU-West/SAHO Bargaining Update No. 8
Saskatoon – November 6, 2017
Greetings Sisters and Brothers,
Your SEIU-West bargaining committee and our coalition partners, CUPE, SGEU, met with SAHO for five days in Saskatoon this week.
The priority conversations this week were the problems connected with the recent roll-out of the Joint Job Evaluation Maintenance Committee (JJEMC) provincial reviews as these relate to education program changes for three families of classifications. We identified there is a critical need for the parties to look at fundamental changes to the provincial JJE plan relative to the education skill factor. We have proposed that the Committee of the Parties (COPS) undertake a review of the education skill factor and any related factors. While the review is ongoing, the parties should agree to maintain all current salaries. We have reached agreement where a classification pay band is determined by the JJEMC to be reduced and incumbents maintain their current pay band, those incumbents not at the top step will continue to progress through the increment steps of the current pay band.
Your SEIU-West bargaining committee has continued to push the message you have sent us:
NO Cuts, NO Rollbacks, Pay Us What We’re Worth! Treat Us With Respect!
We have given to SAHO and the Employers a set of principles that underline the priorities for our members and the full range of professional skills brought by the health care team. We wait to hear from SAHO and the Government of Saskatchewan on our principles; we want them to know that we are serious about getting a collective agreement but we are not willing to compromise our members’ rights, safety and fairness in the workplace. We are serious about protecting our public health care system and the quality of service we provide to our patients, clients and residents each day.
We continue to seek your help to get the attention of our Government about changing their regressive mandate. As we have asked before – and we will keep asking – call your MLA, send an email, ask for a meeting. Tell them how they seriously need to change their mandate. Tell them we cannot provide patient first health care services if the Government and SAHO continue to put us last! If you would like assistance writing a letter to the editor or to your MLA, please email us at [email protected]
Please watch for updates on our website. You can also visit our Facebook page and Twitter account.
Your SEIU-West Provincial Bargaining Committee
CHR: Janice Platzke (SEIU-West Treasurer) • FHHR: Brenda Berry; Donna Gallant • HHR: Colleen Denniss • SHR: Judy Denniss; Rick Brown; Simone Corriveau; Kim Wyatt; Charlene Sarafin; • Staff: Bob Laurie (Dir. of Bargaining and Contract Enforcement); Russell Doell (Deputy Dir. of Bargaining and Contract Enforcement); Cam McConnell (Negotiations Officer) • President: Barbara Cape
For the week of November 5-11, SEIU-West asks that we consider the important role our Medical Radiation Technologists (MRTs) and all Diagnostic Imaging Technologists play within the health care team.
The work of a Diagnostic Imaging Technologist is vital for quality patient care. They perform imaging and radiation-related therapy, which is essential if you want an accurate diagnosis and an appropriate treatment plan. These technologists deliver safe and professional care by relying on the important skills and experience they’ve gained in their line of work and from their ongoing professional development – and their work is diverse!
They prepare and assess patients, insert and maintain IVs, prepare and use sophisticated computer software and equipment, perform diagnostic procedures, monitor patients during therapeutic procedures, administer contrast media and so much more!
All members of the health care team have been standing in front of the SAHO and government train that is determined to drive over them and make cuts to our public health care services providers and the system.
Technologists have recently been hit with a new, individualized and targeted cut due to education institution program changes and the shortcomings of our JJE program. They are the third family of classifications that have heard such bad news.
SEIU-West (together with CUPE and SGEU) has repeatedly asked SAHO to stop implementing these cuts and begin good faith negotiations to fix the shortcomings of the program through negotiations….but we cannot get this train to stop. We need your help to pull the emergency brake!
We are planning days of action to stop all the cuts…
Monday, November 6, 2017:
Let’s do a phone zap to our MLA’s. Make the message very clear.
– Technologists have been on the hard to recruit list since July of 2010.
– Vacancies cannot be filled now.
– So how will cutting wage rates help? It will only amplify this issue.
– Instead, let’s invest in a robust public health care system that can truly be patient first; one with safe staffing levels and fairly compensated staff who feel valued and respected for their professional skills.
Tuesday, November 7, 2017:
‘Who Wants to Meet?’ day for all MRTs and other Diagnostic Imaging Technologists. We have asked for info from the JJEMC assistant and we want to have a meeting once it has been received after November 7, 2017. Email [email protected] with your name, cell phone and email address. We will add your name and contact info to our list of invitees for a meeting that you will be able to join in person or by teleconference during which we will discuss:
– how we got here (what are the shortcomings of the JJE program)
– what we need to do to fix our problem
– answer your many questions
– strategize on how we share our info with others
– the negative consequence of continuing to allow our government and health sector employers to run with scissors, making rampant cuts to our system without regard for the consequences.
Wednesday, November 8, 2017:
Talk to a friend about the many layers of cuts that face Technologists day. From being overworked to the consequences of the current pay band decreases to the 3.5% proposed cut and the impact this would have on our health care system. Tell them what you do for a living and how important Technologists are to the public health care team.
Thursday, November 9, 2017:
Send a letter to the Minister of Health, Jim Reiter and Minister of Rural and Remote Health, Greg Ottenbreit. We have an online letter writing campaign and a PDF printable version here to help you out.
Share widely with your contacts and get them to participate as well.
Friday, November 10, 2017:
Send us a photo of a group shot of MRTs that participated in MRT week of action!
Every action you do equals another entry into a prize draw so let us know! Email [email protected] to be entered to win!
The JJEMC identified over a year ago that a whole host of classifications (including the MRT, MRI techs & Diagnostic Medical Sonographers) were going to be affected potentially through JJE due to education changes implemented at (Canadian) education institutions.
We are pleased that we have members speaking out at this time as we need your help to highlight the projected outward migration to Alberta or Ontario as a result of these decisions continuing to move forward.
Further, we need to emphasize that any planned recruitment for the Children’s Hospital will be significantly affected as a result of these decisions continuing to move forward.
Once again, we need you to contact your MLA and the Health Minister’s office to let them know that they will NOT be able to fill any vacancies moving forward and there will be more of them as technologists will certainly opt for higher pay in Alberta at the new Edmonton hospital.
This is what we know:
Finally, we would like to meet with our members employed in the Technologist classifications (including MRTs, MRITs & DMS) to have a more fulsome discussion. We have put a request forward to get copies of materials held by the JJEMC assistant so as to get added info prior to our meeting; she is on vacation until November 7, 2017.
As well, we are meeting with SAHO for negotiations all this week so we will need to look at dates next week or later.
As I write this, we are in the middle of Health Care Providers week and I couldn’t help thinking about all of the opportunities I’ve had to talk with members over the past days, months and years…
I have toured RUH with our tradesmen; I have received a primer on labs in the old Moose Jaw hospital; I have had lunch with a number of Continuing Care Assistants; I have lobbied with Licensed Practical Nurses; I have walked through dietary departments in transition; I have talked for hours with Environmental Service workers; I have asked a million questions of cardio techs and sleep lab techs; I have tried to understand the ‘voodoo’ that is scheduling with our schedulers; and I have recently heard from a whole bunch of our members who are experiencing retention and recruitment issues in diagnostic imaging… for everyone in between, we have thought about you, fought for you, lobbied with you and done our best to ensure that you know you are incredibly important to our union, to our health care system and to our province.
We will not stop fighting to make sure your voices are heard.
And because you do not hear this nearly enough – THANK YOU for your incredible skill, professionalism, and service to providing high quality health care in Saskatchewan every single day.
Following up from our previous editions of the questions from our virtual town hall(these are continued from the Oct. 13, Oct. 17 and Oct. 24 posts): here is the next edition for your reading pleasure:
12. A member is concerned about the additional steps being proposed. “her position was already lowered in steps (office coordinator – renamed to officer supervisor). New hires are at a lower rate. Why is this employer making this demand again? – Bonnie, Saskatoon.
This question highlights two distinct processes that have the potential to effect rates of pay. The officer coordinator job description was reviewed through Joint Job Evaluation (JJE). The JJE process may have affected/lowered the final pay band of the position, however this is different than adding two additional steps as the Government is proposing. The simple answer to this is that the Government of Saskatchewan has directed this initiative of 2 lower pay steps as a way to save money towards the -3.5% cut. But we all know (and have explained in incredible detail to employers and government) that we cannot attract and retain skilled staff now – let alone if we are forced to add additional lower steps to the pay bands.
13. Member from a small area and wonders what classifications the cuts are most likely to affect? – Sherri, Biggar.
The cuts being proposed will have a general effect upon everyone. The lower steps being proposed to all pay bands impact everyone. The proposed reductions to overtime affects everyone. The proposal for wage reduction would affect everyone. Cuts to standby and callback would likely effect more members within the technologist and trades/maintenance areas…but really, when you consider how much we rely on those services throughout the whole health care system…the would affect all of us. To summarize those classifications that participate in unsociable hours, weekend work, standby and callback would shoulder a disproportionate burden compared to those who work predominately a Monday to Friday, straight days schedule.
14. A member wishes to suggest that all members and managers should be treated equally with regard to cell phone reimbursement – Dorothy, Saskatoon.
In a completely fair world, that would be the case. But we don’t negotiate on behalf of the OOS managers. I think it’s fair to say, especially for those members like homecare staff, who rely on their cell phones as a way to get their clients scheduled – let alone many others who get call-in via text or cell – that it’s about equity when it comes to cell phone reimbursement.
15. There are SGEU members from the past and now with one Health Region, would they be given back those seniority hours with SEIU? Is there any way possible that they could increase the money for therapies and not specific to one practice? – Carmen, Swift Current.
For part one, if members were merged or voted to move to another union, under a Labour Relations Board vote, then they should have been able to take their seniority with them. But if they were with another union, quit and then came back to work as a SEIU-West member, then they likely won’t be able to get their seniority back.
For part two, we are always working on how to improve our extended health and dental benefits outside of collective bargaining. We normally don’t bargain the terms of the individual benefit plans. We have a benefits working group that meets regularly and in an effort to reinforce how important investing in and improving benefits. We are also aggressively seeking a joint trusteeship of our benefits plan…just like with our pension plan to ensure that the best possible benefit plans are provided within the resources allocated. That being said, benefit improvements are a work in progress, but I will pass this request onto our benefit working group members.
I was at the Rally to Reverse the Cuts on the front lawn of the provincial Legislature building on October 25, 2017. I spoke about respect for all health care workers and how we need to reverse the cuts to our public services. I shared your voices and your experiences; as a result, we will be setting up a meeting with the Minister of Health in December. But we need you to step up; we need you to contact your MLA – phone them, email them, set up a meeting to tell them what you have told me. Make sure that they know that without you, without your skills, without your work, health care will fall apart.
As I sit with our bargaining committee, I am reminded that I didn’t introduce them to the members who joined us on the virtual town hall conference call. If you attended any of the roadshow meetings in August, you would have met some of the members of the bargaining committee, but here is my introduction of who they are:
These are front line health care workers who not only share their experiences in their workplaces, but everyone on this committee has hands-on experience with what is happening in our health care system.
Onto the next series of questions (these are continued from the Oct 13 and Oct 17 posts):
8. Are they proposing to take away health benefits (dental, eyeglasses, etc) – Linda, Shaunavon.
There is no proposal to take away current benefits. And in fact, there have been some modest increases to some of our benefits recently. What is being proposed by SAHO and the government of Saskatchewan is a contribution holiday, for the employer, on their required contributions to the Extended Health and Dental (EHD) Plan to reduce the surplus in our plan…to a point. They are also proposing that members co-pay 25% of the benefit contributions which is another rollback.
9. In past bargaining tables, monetary items are discussed at the end of bargaining, have the non-monetary items been concluded? – Carrie, Saskatoon.
No they have not. You describe the past process correctly, but this round has been odd from the very start, with the Minister of Finance’s ‘invitation’ for front line workers to take -3.5% (a direct and obvious intrusion in the negotiation process by government). We are also facing their arbitrary deadlines imposed on us to get a tentative agreement. We had begun to work on the non-monetary items specific to SEIU-West (as did CUPE and SGEU), however SAHO pushed to get the health care coalition to a common table where monetary items are usually dealt with, before we had finalized those issues.
10. Is bargaining right now hearing any risk to pensions? – Barb, Rockglen.
There is no discussion at bargaining regarding pensions. Remember, SHEPP (Saskatchewan Healthcare Employees’ Pension Plan), is a jointly trusteed plan; with representatives from both union-side and employer-side.
11. Is the rollback at 1% and is there any wiggle room to move them down more? – Dave, Saskatoon.
The general wage decrease currently being proposed by SAHO is a 1% reduction. The process of bargaining is to try to find that ‘wiggle room’. As well as other reductions and cuts, it amounts to about -3.65%. Keep in mind that this is only what SAHO/Government of Saskatchewan has proposed…we don’t accept that any cuts or rollbacks; we don’t accept them because it is disrespectful of the incredible work and skill of our front line experts…YOU!
If you want to stand against these cuts, if you want to voice your objection, then come to the rally with workers from across the province at the Legislature in Regina on October 25. Register for the bus by going to this link [email protected].
We need your voice, your strength, your solidarity and your continued engagement.
We all have those stories of a time when we or our loved ones were vulnerable and needed health care.
Someone greeted us with a smile, someone sat and explained the needed procedures to us, someone helped us with personal care, or someone held your loved ones hand as they were passing. Sometimes it’s a simple gesture like getting you ice water or a warm blanket, and sometimes it’s more difficult like having someone else bathe your spouse or assist on your surgery. T
hose gestures come as second nature to health care frontline staff but to the one receiving the care, it can mean the world of difference to have that compassionate care.
Often we find that our members work short staffed, without supplies and equipment needed and with an ever increasing day to day workload. They do this with a smile on their faces and kindness in their voices. Interestingly, when asked, most health care workers will report that their greatest satisfaction as a care provider is a recollection of how a patient, client or resident made their day by sharing a story or a laugh.
Health care providers work in dietary, housekeeping, laundry, nursing, administrative support, technologies, operating room, pharmacy, recreation, rehabilitation, maintenance and in supplies, processing & distribution and many other areas. They work in public health, in home care, in long term care and acute care. Our members are providing essential support to people throughout their lives, from their first breaths to their last.
SEIU-West would like to say thank you to all our members that provide care. You are essential pieces of the health care team.
Greetings Sisters and Brothers,
Your SEIU-West bargaining committee met with our coalition partners, CUPE, SGEU and SAHO for three days in Moose Jaw this week.
Before we get too far into the details, we want to salute our members at Leader Hospital and Western Seniors Home in Leader. This week the town of Leader was evacuated because of the grass fires spreading across southwest Saskatchewan due to hurricane force winds. These members assisted with the safe evacuation of residents and patients from Leader to Swift Current. Thank you all for your incredible patience, skill and dedicated efforts in the care of residents of Leader. I would also like to thank the first responders, volunteers, RCMP, firefighters and all those who worked so hard to get the wildfires under control. Thanks to everyone for their dedication in service.
We had a fair bit of discussion with SAHO this week. We are still some ways apart in our positions. Your SEIU-West bargaining committee has continued to push the message you have sent us – NO cuts, NO rollbacks, Pay us what we’re Worth! And Treat us with Respect! However, at this point, it does not appear that the Government of Saskatchewan is feeling enough pressure to move off the rollback of 3.5%. So we need you to amplify the message and add more pressure by contacting your elected MLA so that we can get this mandate changed. Find your MLA by visiting: http://www.legassembly.sk.ca/mlas/. Lost for words? Here is a letter template for your use.
We have now (this week) developed a set of principles that underline the priorities for our members and the full range of professional skills we bring to health care. Our principles include things like: a reasonable general wage increase, joint trusteeship of our benefits plans and no employee co-pay of Extended Health and Enhanced Dental Benefits plan premiums. We want security of our union representation rights and our collective agreements as we move to a single health region and a ‘me too’ clause for any future public sector union bargained improvements that the provider unions did not get. We still have workload and short-staffing issues our SEIU-West members have identified that need to be addressed.
The response from SAHO and the Government of Saskatchewan was they believe that what our members told us they need in a Collective Agreement is not acceptable. They asked that we re-examine our proposals. We continue to reiterate that our members are serious in their demands for safety and fairness in the workplace, in their demand for the removal of the regressive and punitive Government proposals as well as about protecting our health care system and the quality of service we provide to our patients, clients and residents each day. Let’s face it – we cannot provide patient first health care services if the Government and SAHO continue to put us last!
We do need your help to get the attention of our Government about changing this mandate. As we have asked before – and we will keep asking – call your MLA, send an email, ask for a meeting. Tell them how serious you are and how serious this round of bargaining is. Let them know how they seriously need to change the current mandate. Please watch the website and Facebook for future updates.
We encourage you to share your questions and concerns about bargaining with your SEIU-West bargaining committee by contacting us through the Member Resource Center (MRC) at 1-888-999-7348 Ext 2298 or contact us on SEIUWEST.ca.
Barbara Cape: President of SEIU-West & member of the Bargaining Committee
October 20, 2017
Dear Health Care Member:
Your CUPE, SEIU-West, and SGEU bargaining committees resumed bargaining with SAHO October 16 to 18 in Moose Jaw.
The Provider Unions have communicated clearly to SAHO that our memberships will not accept the proposed rollbacks. We continue to insist to SAHO and the Employers – No cuts, No concessions, and No rollbacks. Pay us what we’re worth! Treat us with respect! We also continue to send a strong message to SAHO and the government that increasing workloads and continuing with short staffing is a threat to the quality of care we provide to our patients, clients and residents, and their families.
The parties acknowledged that while the position of the provider unions (CUPE, SEIU-West and SGEU) and the position of SAHO/Government remain far apart, there is a continued willingness on the part of the unions to negotiate as we recognize the importance of achieving fair and reasonable collective agreements for our members that don’t include concessions.
CUPE, SEIU-West and SGEU will resume bargaining with SAHO on October 30 through to November 3 in Saskatoon.
Thank you to all health service providers for your ongoing support for your committees. Call/write/email your MLAs to protest the cuts, be active within your respective unions, and stay strong.
Remember: we are in this together and we can, and will, win against these rollbacks.
Don’t forget to come out to the Rally to Reverse the Cuts on October 25 at the Legislature in Regina – visit: https://www.rallytoreversethecuts.org/
I want to continue to share the questions from our recent virtual town hall meetings. And as I do that, I want to point out an interesting piece of information: these questions are focused on the health care sector, but our education sector is being pressured to accept these cuts as well.
Think about this: the provincial government cut tens of millions of dollars from the education sector budget and is looking to find these savings by eliminating the positions of front line Education Assistants, bus drivers, maintenance and custodial staff, cafeteria staff and Administrative assistants. These are the very people who, through their actions, help teach our children strong values, fairness and achievement! Eliminating essential positions in any sector is a short sighted response and will ultimately defeat our ability to attract people to our province.
I was at a recent rally in front of Warren Michelson’s office (Moose Jaw Sask Party) protesting the cuts to the education sector with CUPE members and his response to the message to ‘reverse the cuts in the education sector’ was to claim that, while it was a tough budget, it was done so that future generations weren’t saddled with debt. We already know that argument is so full of holes even the Sask Party no longer runs the Brad Wall “Tim Horton’s lineup” ad. We all realize that the reversal of corporate taxes breaks could have assisted with that; the proper stewardship of our finances and resources could have assisted with that; even some oversight on Bill Boyd’s activities could have assisted with that… but instead, this government has determined to create a head tax on front line education workers (and all public sector workers) to shoulder a debt that we had no part in creating!
I am outraged at the sacrifices we are all being asked to make, while politicians willfully ignore the impact of the decisions they make.
Now, onto the next series of questions from the virtual town hall: (these are continued from the Oct 13 post)
4. How much do the increments affect part-time people? – Helen, Humboldt.
In SAHO’s proposal regarding the two lower pay bands, they indicated that it wouldn’t affect current staff, but would only affect those new staff hired after the Collective Agreement is signed… if it was agreed to.
5. How much does the government want employees to pay into the benefit plan? – Kara, Moose Jaw.
What is being proposed is 25% of benefit contributions would be paid by individual employees. Now the specific amount is different for each person, as our collective agreement sets out that funding for the Extended Health and Dental Plan is set at 3.1% of payroll. But further to this, think about it this way: we negotiated that percentage for EHD in previous years; we gave up other proposals, and monetary increases in past rounds of bargaining in order to get (and keep) this funding amount…so we’ve already paid for this EHD funding… I don’t think we should have to pay for it again via a co-pay of 25% of benefit contributions!
6. If the date goes by and we haven’t settled can the government impose their will with regard to cutbacks, etc? – Terry, Moose Jaw.
The Sask Employment Act (SEA) sets out that an employer can issue a last offer to a union, which would trigger a vote of the membership on that final offer. If it’s not an offer that we think is good, your SEIU-West bargaining committee would likely recommend against it. But you would still have a vote – and be able to decide. While other provincial governments have attempted to legislate collective agreement terms, most of these laws are challenged in the courts as violating the unions right to collective bargaining. To date, no provincial government has successfully legislated roll back terms for a collective agreement.
7. If they’re going to have smaller health division, the southeast corner is going to be shafted because they already are. It doesn’t make any sense. It didn’t work before, why will it now? I don’t feel we should be paying for MR. Wall’s mistake. – Kathy, Langham.
Well, the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) will be a province-wide health region, essentially. (This is the same model that Alberta and Nova Scotia went to). There will be ‘integrated service areas’ that outline general service areas where primary care teams will operate as outlined in the map.
I think we need to be aware that local, rural voices are being severely scaled back on their input into the direction of the SHA. With the integrated service areas, there may be some local working groups…but this has not been finalized. SEIU-West has reached out to towns and rural municipalities across the province to raise our concerns about the provision of funding and local health care services and make sure they are aware of future changes to the health system.
Thanks for your interest in these updates and the huge importance for all of us to support public sector workers – and workers in general – who are paying a huge price for these changes to funding, governance, and service provision. I’m proud of the engagement that our members have shown by reaching out to our elected MLAs…but the message is still the same, we need each of you to take the time to make one phone call, write one email, or better yet, set up a meeting with your MLA to talk about your job and why it’s important to our community and what a negative impact a -3.5% cut would have.
Together, let’s keep our message strong – NO cuts – NO rollbacks – PAY US what we are worth – TREAT US with respect! We need to step up the pressure and hold our politicians accountable for the decisions they make…and they made the decision to put this in front of the bargaining table.
Don’t forget to check in for the October 25 rally at the Legislature to Reverse the Cuts to public services… we need all of you there! There will be a free bus ride in it for you!