Date: January 17, 2020
Greetings Sisters and Brothers,
On behalf of your SEIU-West provincial bargaining committee, we want to wish all of our members a Happy New Year. We hope that 2020 brings you incredible peace and (of course) a fair collective agreement.
Our last post about SAHO bargaining was to advise our members that our membership voted overwhelmingly in favour of job action. This vote demonstrates your resolve to send the bargaining committee back to the table with a strong mandate of support in our negotiations with SAHO.
We have advised SAHO of the strong mandate and have had subsequent discussions to set up dates – January 27 & 28, 2020 – for more bargaining and to recap the outstanding issues.
We have also sent a letter to the Premier challenging him to provide SAHO with the resources and direction to bargain a collective agreement you will accept (www.seiuwest.ca/cba_saho for all related updates).
We have received some feedback from members who are concerned that we will be starting job action right away. The answer is NO.
We strongly encourage members to review the bargaining updates and remember that we are subject to the government’s essential services legislation. An essential services agreement needs to be in place prior to serving notice of any job action which may include a strike. Your bargaining committee talked about this component of job action in our virtual town halls and in the roadshow discussions.
The Saskatchewan Employment Act (SEA) requires the parties in public sector negotiations follow a number of rules in the event of job action. At the bargaining table, an impasse must be declared; the parties need to participate in mandatory conciliation with a Ministry of Labour conciliator; if no agreement is achieved, the conciliator issues a report to the Minister of Labour; a cooling off period must be served before any job action can be taken; and notice to take job action must be served. In addition, the parties must negotiate and agree to an essential services agreement. These required actions could take months.
Any sort of job action in health care is not like what people might think of in recalling other unions’ recent strikes (eg: UNIFOR Crown sector; UNIFOR v. CO-OP; UFCW v. CO-OP). The circumstances in health care are different than those sectors: we are in the public sector (not private); we are subject to the provincial SEA provisions (not federal); and health care has a different set of challenges than SaskPower or SaskWater faced.
Please don’t make any assumptions about when job action would commence or what it might look like. Your bargaining Committee will send out information to all affected members prior to any job action; if you have questions please call the MRC at 1-888-999-7348 ext. 2298 or forward them to https://www.seiuwest.ca/contact.
Let your MLA; the Minister of Health, Jim Reiter at (306) 787-7345 or email@example.com; and the Minister of Rural and Remote Health, Warren Kaeding at (306) 798-9014 or firstname.lastname@example.org know that health care providers have been waiting too long for a fair deal and that an adequate monetary package is necessary to recruit and retain quality staff. Tell them to put care first and end understaffing.
Your SEIU-West bargaining committee believes the best agreement is one that is negotiated at the table and that our members get to have the ultimate decision on by voting on it. We intend to do our best to make that happen.
Your SEIU-West SAHO Provincial Bargaining Committee:
CHR: Janice Platzke (SEIU-West Treasurer) • FHHR: Brenda Berry; Donna Gallant • HHR: Colleen Denniss • SHR: Judy Denniss; Rick Brown; Carla Saworski; 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