International Day of Older Persons

International Day of Older Persons takes place on October 1st each year, and SEIU-West is proud to celebrate our senior community.

Many of our members provide care to seniors, and view them like family. Patients, residents, and clients are a big reason as to why people work in health care – it’s about bringing joy and improved wellbeing to those that require care, many of whom are older persons.

On the International Day of Older Persons, we must continue to advocate for the needs of our senior community. Initiatives like safe staffing in the retirement home sector is a must because we it’s vital we ensure the care needed as our population ages. Be sure to add your voice in the call to end understaffing in Saskatchewan health care at

With the election around the corner, it’s also important to ask your candidate what they’ll do to support older persons. Initiatives like Pharmacare are essential for seniors to be able to afford the medications they need.  Visit for more information.

To learn more about what initiatives older persons are focusing on and to add your voice, visit


SEIU-West celebrates Therapy Assistants Week September 15-21!

Therapy Assistants who are members of SEIU-West typically work as Occupational Therapy Assistants and/or Physiotherapy Assistants (OTPT).  These members of the health care team work to improve their client’s quality of life by supporting their ability to maximize movement, which contributes significantly to their client’s everyday activities. This vital part of their job rehabilitates their clients to their peak abilities. Another key skill that Therapy Assistants must have is their ability to communicate. Many of their clients have diverse needs, so it is important for Therapy Assistants to recognize these differences and accommodate accordingly.

Therapy Assistants utilize a variety of tools to assist their clients such as tilt tables, parallel bars and lifts, as well as pools due to the benefits of physical movement under water.

The work of Therapy Assistants is fundamental to the health care team as they help improve the confidence and lives of those who they care for.

To show our appreciation of the valuable contributions Therapy Assistants makes to our health care team, we are launching our Therapy Assistants Contest!

To enter, tell us why Therapy Assistants are important to you – whether you’re a coworker or a client, there are so many reasons Therapy Assistants bring value to our lives! Email your answers to [email protected] by September 26, 2019 for your chance to win one of several awesome prizes!

Celebrate Environmental Services Week - September 8-14!

For the week of September 8-14, SEIU-West is proud to celebrate Environmental Services Week!

Environmental Service Workers (ESWs) have a vital role on the health care team.  They provide professional services that ensure our health care environments are clean and safe. ESWs understand the importance of infection control for patients, clients, residents and staff, especially in a health care setting. They therefore have the skills to provide quality housekeeping while following infection control practices to reduce the risks to all those who live, work, and visit a health care environment.

The daily responsibilities of ESWs also involves heavy lifting and the use of dangerous substances. They know how to safely handle these everyday challenges while protecting themselves and those around them. We are proud to celebrate the health care heroes that are ESWs and in recognition, we are holding a contest so that you can nominate an ESW who really makes a difference in your workplace. Maybe it is the way they brighten everyone’s day, the incredible job they do, or the care and concern they demonstrate to residents, patients or co-workers.

Please send in your nominations, along with a sentence or two as to why they deserve to win to [email protected] by September 19, 2019. Your nominee could win one of several great prizes!


President's Message: What does Labour Day mean to you?

This President's Message will be featured in the Star Phoenix and Leader Post as a special feature for Labour Day. 

What does Labour Day mean to you?

For some people, this is back to school time; for others, it’s an unofficial end to summer; but for me, I reflect on the work of our members and the people we serve. I also reflect on the history of our labour movement – where we were, where we are today and what we want to do in the future.

Lately, it’s been a little too easy to vilify unionized workers. I think that’s a cheap and easy target. And it needs to stop.

The benefits that unions have negotiated didn’t happen overnight but over decades. And we work to ensure that the benefits we have negotiated are shared with those who don’t yet have a union: weekends; sick leave; disability insurance; domestic violence leave; improvements to minimum wage… all of these things (and so many more) come from years of negotiations and lobbying by unions of every stripe. All working people put their maximum effort into their job and that needs to be recognized and respected. 

Today, all workplaces are changing. There are efficiency efforts; automation; downsizing; or ‘transformational change’ that affects everyone’s ability to bring home a pay cheque, support our families, or even simply to have meaning to our lives. Change is inevitable, but it needs to be thoughtful. Working people are not widgets but they are invested in their workplaces and loyal to their employers. We need to remember that they are a vital resource that is being overlooked in many cases; there needs to be consultation with front line staff who are the experts in their area and can provide valuable insight into improvements.

Trade unions must embrace new forms of technology and new forms of worker organizations to create space for the gig economy and a changing demographic. As a union leader, I believe that there is a way to celebrate and acknowledge our historical work, while embracing a more culturally diverse and technologically advanced workforce.

The future of our province and our labour movement is in the hands of working people. We have an opportunity to join together, have a voice in our workplaces, lobby for improved safety legislation and to improve the minimum wage for both young workers and the under employed. The principles of solidarity, understanding and being our brother’s and sister’s keeper need to be re-affirmed by all of us. These are core values of the labour movement, and the province of Saskatchewan.

I’m personally inviting you to join us in our efforts to improve the lives of working people and their families. Help lead the way to a more just and humane society that welcomes all people, champions dignity and respect, and allows everyone to have a voice on the job and in society.

We’re Stronger Together.

Happy Labour Day!

In solidarity,

Barb Cape 

Purple Organizes a Donation Drive in Swift Current!

SEIU-West health care providers in Swift Current are organized a food and donation drive for their local food bank and crisis centre in late August. Our members not only provide care to those in need, they volunteer their time to support organizations that address the gaps for access to basic needs due to the vast inequality that exists in our society – it’s vital that we join together because when unions and community work together for social, environmental, and economic justice, we can achieve our common goals in making our communities better places to live and work.

International Youth Day: August 12

Each year International Youth Day is recognized August 12 and SEIU-West is proud to share that we stand with young workers in our union and communities. We know they are experiencing soaring rent, tuition, inequality, and the growth of precarious work among many other struggles. Our Young Workers Committee is very active in raising awareness and taking action on these issues -  we're proud of the work they do and are excited for their future efforts! Check out the Young Workers Committee page to read their latest 'Shining A Light On' articles which focus on issues like mental health:

Experiencing Prairie School for Union Women

This letter was written by SEIU-West member, Lyse. She was one of the lucky members to be selected as a delegate to the 2019 Prairie School for Union Women - you can read about her wonderful experiences below: 

Prairie School for Union Women (PSUW) is something all women should have the privilege to attend. A strong objective of the school is gaining knowledge in many different areas, it is also a place where women support and raise each other up in a safe environment.

My experience started when I picked up a union sister in Regina. It was refreshing to connect with someone who was not only involved in her union, she was also very positive. Our journey continued to Saskatoon where we met the PSUW bus that would be taking us the school in Waskesiu Lake, located in beautiful Prince Albert National Park.

After checking in and meeting my roommate for the next four nights, we made our way to the community for dinner and the official opening of this year’s school. I was amazed to see many enthusiastic women of all ages and backgrounds.

The following three and a half days, I participated in the session “Women Speaking Up”. As someone who lacks confidence to share her ideas and speak up, this session was a great fit and allowed me to get out of my comfort zone and take part and something that I would normally avoid, Public Speaking.

At the end of each day I was able to connect with many of the participants along with participating in all that the location had to offer. From an interactive talk about bison, to a pontoon tour of some lakes and even the viewing of a yet to be released movie about the strike in Winnipeg that occurred 100 years ago.  There was always something valuable to do.

The closing banquet was held on the last evening. It was great to see all the women participating and cheering each other on. It was a very emotional and an empowering evening. Besides my experience with Girl Guides, I have never seen an environment where women support each other at that level.

I thank SEIU-West for this opportunity. From the great arrival package provided to the great women I was able to meet from our union, I am truly appreciative. Moving forward I can’t wait to see the opportunities in learning, networking and supporting what SEIU-West has to offer.

Your Union Sister,


Be sure to look out for 2020 Prairie School for Women opportunities! 

Member of Distinction: Summer 2019

Our Summer 2019 Member of Distinction is Brenda Coben!

Brenda is a long- time member of SEIU-West. She works as a Continuing Care Assistant at the Elrose Health Center. She is the current Unit Chair and does a fantastic job of representing and engaging her co-workers. She is also an important part of our member facilitator team who delivers our internal training program for SEIU-West members.

Recently, Brenda was approached by one of the current Elrose Town Councillors and asked if she would run in the by-election. Brenda was no stranger to community involvement as a former School Board Trustee and volunteering with the local Lioness Club but had never thought about being a Town Councillor. She credits her involvement with the Union, especially facilitation, for giving her the confidence to “give it a shot”. Not surprising to us, she was overwhelmingly elected in the by-election held March 27th and is already serving in this new role. Brenda will definitely be rolling up her sleeves soon because she was appointed to two committees at her first town meeting!

The town of Elrose will benefit from Brenda’s enthusiasm to branch out and learn new things. We are sure she will prove to be a great asset to the Town Council. Congratulations Brenda! We are proud of you.

Do you know a Member of Distinction? Email: [email protected].

Celebrate Unit Support Workers and Unit Assistants Week June 9-15!

SEIU-West is proud to recognize the vital role Unit Support Workers (USWs) and Unit Assistants (UAs) have on our health care team.

USWs, like SEIU-West member Indira, provide assistance to a Unit or Department by portering patients and residents, maintaining inventory, and ensuring the area is clean. They ensure supplies are well stocked by both ordering and organizing supplies – this responsibility is crucial to the success of the provision of good care. Cleaning patient/resident equipment and disposing of unsanitary items is also required as health care environments must be as sanitary as possible to prevent infection. Indira especially loves interacting with patients and families from all walks of life – she appreciates the daily learning she gains from these interactions. It is clear USWs have a role that everyone in the Unit or Department relies on, and we can’t thank them enough for their incredible work on the health care team!

UAs, like SEIU-West member Wanda, are often the first people you see when members of the public enter a Unit or Department in a health care environment. UAs will greet you and answer the telephone when you call. They often book appointments and provide travel coordination for patients. UAs process physician orders as well, such as sending paperwork or filing requisitions. UAs are excellent multi-taskers as they perform many levels of clerical duties such as report distribution, the maintenance of various health care manuals, and data entry. They are regularly called to help with cleaning, ordering supplies, and portering as well. Wanda especially loves the clerking part of her job, and appreciates the work she does with to support doctors. Thank you for your daily efforts to ensure our health care environments are well taken care of!

In recognition of USW/UA week, we encourage you to participate in our contest! Tell us why USW’s and UA’s are important to you – email your answer to [email protected] by June 17 and you’ll be entered to win some amazing prizes:

  • Frontier Days: Swift Current (sponsored by the SEIU-West Young Workers Committee!)
    • 4 June 26th Passes: (Includes general admission, Fresh Air Cinema Dumbo Movie in the Grandstand)
    • 2 June 28th Passes: (Includes general admission, Rodeo, Colter Wall & Nitty Gritty Dirt Band)
    • 2 June 29th Passes: (Includes general admission, Mini Chuckwagon & Heavy Horse Pulls)
    • 2 rodeo Passes
    • A large gift basket (pictured here)
    • One of two $50 giftcards to Rock Creek Tap and Grill
Celebrate Paramedic Services Week!

SEIU-West is proud to acknowledge the incredible work of those who work in Paramedic Services as we recognize Paramedic Services Week May 26-June 1. Often, they’re the first to care for those who need emergency medical attention, and they do not take this important role lightly.

The Paramedic Services team works in a stressful and demanding environment; our members respond to calls that range from heart attacks to collisions – in every situation, immediate medical attention is required. It is therefore vital for those who work in Paramedic Services to function well under pressure and be highly organized.

Members who work in Paramedic Services must also have a reliable, supportive team. By working with partners, the Paramedic Services team can count on each other for assistance in providing a safe work environment, as care is being provided to the person(s) in need.

Our communities depend on those who work in Paramedic Services and their ability to ensure quick, calm and competent care under pressure.  Thank you for providing such a fundamental service within the health care team!

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