Date: May 5, 2020
Greetings Sisters and Brothers,
As you are no doubt aware, due to the State of Emergency declared by the provincial government on or about March 17, 2020, our bargaining dates for the weeks of April 6 and 14 were cancelled. The focus for the Employer side was on managing the pandemic planning and the priority for the Union was providing support and assurance for our front line members.
As our workplaces reach a new level of normal, we have been working to ensure our members have proper access to personal protective equipment (PPE), communicating constantly with our membership, and calling on our Premier to acknowledge the whole health care team and turn that acknowledgement into a wage top up for our members who are deemed essential. We’ve seen some limited success in this as the NDP Opposition put the call out at on April 27, and our provincial government has partnered with the federal government to provide a flat rate of $400/month to low wage workers. At this time there is no information available as to how this wage top up will actually be applied.
SAHO and the employer has committed to resuming collective bargaining. We are confirmed to get back to the (virtual) table with SAHO on May 21, 22, 28 and 29. We say virtual because we are unable as bargaining committees to meet in the traditional face-to-face manner because of the public health orders in effect. We are attempting to work with SAHO in implementing a virtual meeting platform that will allow us to continue our bargaining in a fair and efficient manner.
The health care landscape has changed significantly.
We have all been called ‘heroes’ and applauded…and that is incredibly gratifying and appreciated. We take heart in the fact that the people of this province have arrived at a crystal clear understanding about the incredibly vital and important nature the work of ALL members of the health care team.
That clarity needs to be transformed into purpose. We encourage you to write a letter to the Premier of Saskatchewan as many of your SEIU-West Sisters and Brothers have been doing. If you would like us to review your letter before you send it in, email [email protected] and we’ll help you out. We are posting letters on our website and our Facebook page and can share yours too – even anonymously – if you are willing.
“Front Line Workers Deserve Respect“ is the theme of these letters; we ask you to call on our Premier to recognize the value of our front line health care workers as we get back to the bargaining table.
We need you to raise your voice and help us lobby for a better collective agreement. Now is the time!
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