Date: November 6, 2020
Greetings Sisters and Brothers,
In the October 6, 2020 bargaining update, SEIU-West informed our members that we had served formal notice of impasse to the Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety after facilitated discussions with the Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations (SAHO) failed.
As part of the process set out in The Saskatchewan Employment Act (SEA), the notice must contain information about essential services that will need to be maintained in the event of a job action. Another part of the impasse process is that the Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety needs to appoint a third party as a conciliator to assist the parties in reaching a deal.
SAHO indicated that they were unable to bargain during the election period due to the requirements to adhere to their past practice in following the Caretaker Government Convention. While we dispute this requirement, we agreed to meet via video platform in order to engage in mandatory conciliation October 29 and November 2. The Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety appointed Peter Suderman to act as conciliator in this process. We also agreed to some ground rules that needed to be negotiated as SAHO voiced some displeasure with the amount of information we shared with our members in our last updates. To that end, while the parties engage in the conciliation process, we all will honour both a confidentiality and a media ban, so there will be no bargaining in the media.
In the conciliation process, we have exchanged proposals with SAHO a couple of times to find a way forward to reach a tentative agreement. We have been very clear about the importance of our current set of proposals to our members. Many of you have shared your thoughts, concerns and colourful language about our proposals and the employer’s reluctance to accept them – we shared this information, in general, with the Employer.
The substance of SAHO’s proposal hasn’t changed from what was discussed in our October 6 update. That proposal contained significant “last minute” concessions and takeaways which will cost our members, now and in the years to come. We are firm in our resolve that the proposal SAHO presented was a significant impediment in our attempts to find common ground to achieve a settlement.
SEIU-West’s proposal hasn’t substantially changed; we have put forward proposals that we believe will form the basis of a tentative agreement that we can bring to you for your consideration and a ratification vote. We all understand that the creation of one provincial health authority introduced, for example, the need for the portability of benefits including seniority and the need for a common way to calculate seniority for all provider unions’ members. We firmly believe that this discussion must include our partner unions, CUPE and SGEU, and the Employer, in order to find a mutually agreed to way forward on this and other transition issues.
Your bargaining committee is also aware that this delay in resolving our collective agreement is frustrating for you. Your patience and determination are clear to us and we have ensured that this message has been shared with the conciliator and SAHO.
We are continuing to work on preparing for essential services negotiations, as that is a necessary part of the impasse process in getting to a position where we can take job action. We continue to ask for members to submit essential services questionnaires to provide us with a more robust picture of the different aspects of your work. You can download that form here.
Our next dates for conciliation discussions are November 16 and 17. We will provide further updates at that time.
We encourage you to reach out to your newly elected or re-elected MLAs and let them know that you are done waiting for a fair collective agreement and demand that settling this contract should be their priority.
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