The fifth installment of questions and answers regarding the tentative agreement, asked as of December 20, 2020.
79. If a person moves between regions and therefore between unions during this conversion why is it that we cannot bring our seniority with us? I've moved regions and lost years of sick time of vacation credit & of seniority.
a. This conversion is just for SEIU-West members and SEIU-West seniority. What you are talking about moving around the provinces healthcare system and working for different provider unions. The issues raised because of that process is why we have a transition Letter of Understanding where we will talk with SHA, SAHO and our coalition partners about what that kind of movement looks like for a member’s seniority and benefits.
80. If we sign this 6 year agreement when we go to the next contract will it be 6 years as well?
a. We actually have two contracts here, one is for five years and the other is for one year. We will begin bargaining preparations again pretty quickly, along with our coalition partners, CUPE and SGEU. I don’t think we can say what length of time the next agreement will be, but there is nothing that guarantees that it would follow the same pattern as this contract.
81. How are they figuring out the percentages over the 6 years...can you explain from 2017 onward?
a. Starting April 1 of each of the following years: 2017-0%; 2018-0%; 2019-1%; 2020-2%; 2021-2%; 2022-2%.
82. Why are they wanting to change the way we calculate seniority?
a. The employer and SAHO have talked about streamlining their processes because most of the in-scope staff are on a seniority date system. They believe this will be more efficient.
83. Who benefits with this new calculation of seniority - do we benefit and is this just one of the steps in merging all the unions?
a. See question #82 for how the employer think they’ll benefit. For our members, its an easier process to manage as there will be one calculation that will set the seniority date. Our members do benefit in that there won’t be a loss of any seniority, but they won’t be able to pass others in seniority either.
b. We have created a bargaining association with CUPE and SGEU in order to commit our work together formally and avoid a need to merge the unions. We support each other and none of us wants to be forced into a merger. We would fight collectively against any move to merge the unions.
84. How do we go about making sure that the seniority date is correct if we don't know if the hours were correct in the first place?
a. You can check your paystubs; any schedules/calendars you have access to; you can also look back on any letters of appointment that can help guide your review.
b. Check the seniority lists that have been out and posted: in the former Saskatoon Health Region, the seniority list is available on Gateway Online; in the former Cypress, Heartland and Five Hills Health Region, you can find a paper copy posted in the workplace.
85. Wondering with the new seniority date calculation how will new OT be counted for seniority?
a. OT will still be called by seniority within the department and within the classification, only now it will be the seniority date instead of the seniority hours. Members will no longer have to earn seniority hours to be counted towards seniority. There will be a one time conversion to seniority date and that will set the seniority for all of those currently on staff.
86. Clause 11.10 c xi ... does this clause preclude the ER seconding of an EE to another site?
a. That article is specific to call-in shifts is specific to an employee initiative to drop a shift in one department and classification to work a shift in another department and classification. The employer is redeploying staff in homecare to facilities based on the language under the LOU on Labour Pool and Redeployment. I encourage you to call the Member Resource Center to get advice on this. 1-888-999-7348 ext 2298.
87. It has always been my understanding that vacation is based on years of service. What happens to vacation with this new seniority? What about pension?
a. That is correct: vacation, pension and sick time are based on years of service – not on your seniority. So there will not be a change to your retirement date or accrual of vacation.
88. So you said we will get a 3% for 2020 ...how does that work? Will they give us a lump sum amount or how will that work?
a. If the tentative agreement is ratified, members will receive 1% retro from April 1, 2019 +2% retro from April 1, 2020. This would be paid on an ‘off’ pay period cheque.
89. Are we not better off to accept this agreement and move on. Since Alberta is talking about privatization has this employer talked about this?
a. The bargaining committee is recommending acceptance. We believe that this is reasonable in the current economic climate, but also in light of the other healthcare and public sector unions agreeing to the same/similar terms. And while we are recommending this, we fully accept that members will vote how they feel this directly impacts them.
b. We aren’t aware of any discussions about privatization – but we are concerned when this government seems to mirror what is happening in Alberta. So we’ll keep a close eye on the question of privatization.
90. I'm just agreeing - I think it's wise to agree and move forward with this TA.
a. Members need to look at the agreement, evaluate the deal and mark their ballot.
91. For jobs that have been red circled will there be an increase?
a. Yes, those rates will be entitled to the general wage increase. We have what’s called ‘green circling’ – whereby all general wage increases are still applied to ‘red circled’ rates.
92. With regards to that Me too clause, if SUN settles and signs an agreement what if we haven't ratified anything yet? Does that still apply or does it become null and void?
a. It wouldn’t be null and void, it would still apply if it was within the period of March 2017-March 2022.
93. I have 35 000 hours and I am able to take early retirement -will the change in seniority effect my date I can retire?
a. The seniority conversion won’t change the date you are eligible for early retirement. Retirement is based on years of service not seniority.
94. Do I vote no to this Tentative Agreement if I don't want the seniority calculation to change?
a. You need to evaluate the whole agreement and make your decision to vote. If you vote no based on the seniority calculation change, then that is no for the general wage increases and other items in the tentative agreement.
95. Of course other unions such as SUN agreed on the 0 1 1 offer...in previous years they've been given upwards of 20% while we've settled for 3%.
a. I don’t know what is in the SUN tentative agreement – just that they reached one. But you are correct that they have achieved a large general wage increase when the Sask party first formed the government.
96. Please explain further the 100% employer paid benefits for 22/23 year. What page of the agreement is that on?
a. On page 69 of the tentative agreement is a Letter of Understanding that sets out that the 100% employer funding of the Extended Health and Enhanced Dental benefits (set out in the terms of Letter of Understanding#1 that’s on page 59 of the tentative agreement) will be extended to March 31, 2023.
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