Date: July 15, 2020
Greetings Sisters and Brothers,
SAHO continues to refuse to meet to bargain, and has not responded to our last letter. Your SEIU-West bargaining committee requested a special mediator from the Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety, Don Morgan to try to break this deadlock.
The Saskatchewan Employment Act (SEA) has a couple of provisions by which we can request mediation services: one is via the impasse process and another is with a ‘special’ mediator to provide assistance to the parties to reach an agreement.
We believe because of the size of our bargaining unit (approximately 12,000 people) and the length of time we’ve been working to achieve an agreement (over three years), that a special mediator with the experience, impartiality and reputation to help the parties reach an agreement is in order.
To recap, the SEA requires us, by law, to go through a process of bargaining to impasse (aka: there’s absolutely no progress at the table; the parties are deadlocked).
Then we need to complete mandatory conciliation and negotiate an essential services agreement before we can take job action!
Failing to complete these requirements means that we (SEIU-West) as a union, and you (our members) as individuals, can face significant fines.
Staff within the Ministry of Labour have engaged the Union in some informal discussions regarding our positions on several issues, including our seniority system. We have discussed what our members want to see in a bargaining proposal, but have not heard anything on that subject. Because SAHO continues to refuse to bargain, and that stance does not appear to have been challenged in any meaningful way, there seems to be little motivation to move both parties along.
We will be writing again to the Minister to reiterate our request that he appoint a special mediator to assist the parties in bargaining.
While the above process has been playing out, SEIU-West has been working on our initial opinion regarding what essential duties must be maintained in the event of job action. We will be ready should the special mediator not be able to successfully assist the parties in reaching a tentative agreement.
We all understand that we are now in an informal election season in advance of the October provincial election. But we don’t think that the Government of Saskatchewan understands the power of our members’ determination to get a fair collective agreement. They’ve heard from some – not all – of our members… but are they getting the message?
Your SEIU-West bargaining committee wants to demonstrate for the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) and the Government of Saskatchewan what happens when they refuse to bargain in good faith and disrespect health care workers.
We are planning a protest march – call it a ‘practice for job action’ – in August in Saskatoon.
In order to comply with the public health order in effect, we will physically distance and wear masks – more details to come.
We want our members all across the province to march on the SHA to show what can happen when you fail to take the demands of health care workers seriously.
#DoneWaiting #Ready2Go #PowerToThePeople
Should you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact the Member Resource Center by phone 1-888-999-7348 ext. 2298 or through our contact form on SEIUWEST.ca.
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