Q&A No. 1: SAHO Tentative Agreement Information Sessions

This post covers questions asked as of December 2, 2020. If you are an SEIU-West/SAHO member who wants to sign up to take part in the Video conferences, please visit our events page to RSVP.

  1. Does the seniority change mean a full time employee in the future will not be able to surpass a part time employee that was hired before him?
    • Everyone will have a seniority date established for the purposes of seniority only.
    • If the FT and PT person were hired before the conversion date, their hours of seniority will be reflected in their new seniority date.
    • If the FT and PT person were hired AFTER the conversion date, then the person with the earlier hire date will be higher on the seniority list.
  2. In the previous talks they were thinking of upping the insurance for massage, eye care, etc. Is that going to happen?
    • We don’t bargain those benefit amounts at the bargaining table with SAHO. We address them as part of an Extended Benefits working group with the other participating unions (SGEU, SUN, HSAS, CUPE).
    • In 2019, the amounts for benefits were increased in specific areas. Please contact 3sHealth in order to get the specific services and the amounts that are now covered.
  3. Regarding Pharmacy Techs - we're newly regulated since 2018 the licensing is now $800/year. Are we going to be getting more than $200? And how does this compare to other techs?
    • The $200 is the minimum paid, not the maximum.
    • All regulated/licensed staff will receive the amount of their licensing fee that was in effect in April of 2017. I believe that this will address the concerns with coverage for the Pharmacy Techs new licensing fees. Each regulatory body establishes their own licensing fee with input from their membership. The Pharmacy Tech fee is quite high as compared with other regulatory bodies. The pharmacy Tech fee includes the cost of insurance to cover member liability for any professional error.
  4. As an X-Ray Tech I get the professional fee paid at 2014, why would we not have it at the current rate when the contract is signed?
    • We need to remember that we’ve been bargaining this agreement for over 3 ½ yrs, so when we came to agreement on the 2017 rates, it was current at that time. Because we had agreement on that proposal, we don’t get a ‘do over’ unfortunately.
    • Your fees will be increased to cover the amount you were paying as of April 2017.
  5. How can someone who is a part time employee have more seniority than a full time employee? Why are we switching to someone else's system?
    • That would depend on how many hours they have worked throughout their time in the health care system. For example, someone may have started as a casual, then bid on a FT position…whereas someone may have a part time position, but regularly work up to FT hours.
    • The question of changing our seniority is primarily due to the health system becoming one employer. SAHO believes that this would be easier to administer and it would simplify the processes for calculating seniority because other unions are on this system.
    • The choice for making this change is up to the membership when they vote on the tentative agreement.
  6. If we go for the Part b) does that mean we have an extra year on our contract? Do we still have access to the coalition for bargaining next time around?
    • Yes, we would have an extra year (a total of 6 years from 2017-2023) on our contract. And we will be bargaining with our coalition unions again.
  7. Have they changed anything on the language about mandating? There used to be some proposals on that.
    • SEIU-West does not have mandating as an option in the collective agreement. There is a process to offer OT against someone’s wishes that directs the employer to start at the bottom of the seniority list. And that language has not changed.
  8. If the CBA is ratified how long before we get our wage increase?
    • We should have the results of the vote by late January and will notify the employer of the results after we have shared the info with our members.
    • The process for calculating the retro should have already begun, but we can’t predict how long that will take.
  9. I had an LOA for 2 years of my 18 years of service; will this new seniority calculation effect my years of service for my pension?
    • No it will not. Your converted seniority date is for seniority ONLY. All other benefits such as pension use your actual hire date for calculations. If you did not earn seniority hours for that period of time of your LOA, your current seniority hours on the seniority list already has been adjusted. Your current hours of seniority will be translated into a seniority date.
  10. Regarding the seniority: I was wondering if you were hired PT and after a few years work FT will your position on list change?
    • If you are a current employee, your position on the list would not change. Your seniority hours would be converted to a seniority date. So all of your hours both as a PT and FT will be calculated into your converted seniority date.
    • For future employees, their hire date will be the same as their seniority date and will not change.
  11. Recent retiree - are we going to get the $200? Also will we get the retro in one or two lump sum payments?
    • Retirees will receive the $200 lump sum payment.
    • Retro will be on one cheque off the usual payroll period.
  12. Will people in SGEU and CUPE who have always been date of hire and have worked Part time be at an advantage over someone who worked all they could in SEIU-West?
    • The short answer is no they will not be at an advantage.
    • SGEU health care providers are a hours based system.
    • This conversion is only for SEIU-West members seniority – not CUPE and SGEU. What you are referencing is the transition issues that are still to be negotiated – and we will not allow our members to be disadvantaged.
  13. Has the stat pay process for part timers changed with their ability to put it in anywhere rather than payroll or the manager dumping it in?
    • There has been no change to the process for accessing stat holidays for other than full-time employees.
  14. Will there be retroactive licensing fees as well?
    • We encourage all those members who have been paying licensing fees during the period of the tentative agreement to apply for payment of the retroactive licensing fee.
  15. They'll calculate your seniority date - does this affect your retirement date?
    • No it does not affect your retirement date. Your seniority date is for seniority purposes only.
  16. Re Seniority: I've been full time for 20 years but have been very casual for two years and then I plan to go back full time. Will I be behind on the hours now?
    • All of your hours earned will be converted to a seniority date. Your current seniority hours reflect when you went to casual and when you were working full-time. There will be no penalty to you for this change of status from FT to casual.
  17. Have been employed for 30+ years - how do the changes affect my early retirement and length of service awards?
    • These seniority changes will not change your early retirement date.
    • I’m not sure how the length of service awards are calculated, but I believe they are based on the date that you were hired…this should not change. Your date of hire will not change, only your seniority date.
  18. More of a concern if we extend this agreement to 6 years it seems like the government is giving us less for more years.
    • It would be the equivalent of a 7% general wage increase over 6 years as opposed to 5% general wage increase over 5 years. The bargaining committee believes it is better to lock down a further 2% general wage increase than to gamble on getting a better offer in these COVID pandemic-uncertain finances times. Remember, the term of the 5 year agreement will end in March 2022 – one year and four months from now! The first two years of 0% are a tough nut to crack because it’s the mandate that has been accepted and ratified by other public sector unions, including our coalition partners, CUPE and SGEU.
  19. In reading the TA - I noticed that the 7 shifts in a row has not been changed. And SUN is only 6. 7 days is a lot for our members. And I was wondering what the reason for changing seniority is?
    • So I’ll break this into 2 questions...
    • Part 1: you are correct that the number of shifts in a row has not changed. This wasn’t achieved at this round of bargaining.
    • Part 2: The seniority change was proposed by SAHO/employer to create a standardized process to calculate seniority across the majority of the unionized health care workforce. They believe that this will reduce calculation errors and simplify the processes related to seniority.
  20. With the deemed date of hire - how does this affect job postings and who gets granted them? Also in the kitchen we have to have food safe - would we now be reimbursed for that cost?
    • Job postings would be awarded based on the seniority date once if this is implemented. The person with the most senior date would be awarded the posted job.
    • The food safe certificate is a requirement of the employer – if you are hired and they require you to get it, they should be paying for that. But there isn’t a requirement to get your food safe certificate updated on a yearly or annual basis like other regulated professions.
    • Your date of hire doesn’t change, but you will have your seniority expressed as a date now, not by hours.
  21. I worked PT for a number of years and now FT but with this new calculation of seniority will it move me farther back in my vacation accrual rate? As well how would this effect my pension years of service.
    • This change in seniority date will not affect your accrual of vacation because it is based on your years of employment – not your seniority hours or date.
    • This will not affect your retirement date. Your years of service is based on your date of hire with the Employer and is not based on your seniority date.
  22. I've heard there is a link between this TA and the recent SUN TA - please explain that – is it a me too clause?
    • SUN has achieved a tentative agreement that they are presenting to their members.
    • We negotiated a letter of understanding that identifies if SUN/HSAS/Sask Cancer Agency negotiate a ‘better than’ in wages, lump sum payments, shift/weekend premiums, standby payments, vehicle allowance for the period between April 2017-March 2022 then we will get it too. We call that ‘me too’ language.
  23. I am on DIP and wondering if I will get retro and increases. Also how can I get access to the new TA. Also do I get to vote?
    • Members who are in good standing – meaning that they have paid up to October 2020 will be eligible to vote. If you are looking for information about pay outstanding dues, please contact the dana.sture@seiuwest.ca. Voting information will be coming out in the coming days.
    • All employees on staff as of the date we achieved the tentative agreement, will be eligible for retro for all paid hours since April 1, 2017 (not on DIP).
    • Depending on when you went on DIP, if your wage rate in the new (ratified) collective agreement is higher than your wage rate when you went on DIP, you may be eligible to have your benefits payments recalculated to take into account the higher wage rate.
    • You can request a tentative agreement by using the ‘contact’ link on the SEIU-West website.
  24. In the new agreement in the section of Market adjustment, is the $3.23 / hour added to pay band 14 for JJE job #300 a new adjustment or is it just a continuation of the old contract? As a CLXT am I getting the percentage increase and the $3.23 added onto my wage? Was there in advances on standby pay? Would this pay increase of $3.23 be retroactive or does it start at date of signing?
    • The $3.23 is added to the step 3 rate for CLXT’s. There are market adjusted wage rates for Step 1 rate and Step 2 rate as well.
    • It is a continuation of the old contract language as the market adjustment commenced October 25, 2010 – but we updated the classification to ‘technologist’ (there was a misprint in the old agreement that used the term ‘technician’)
    • CLXT’s will get the general wage increase and then the market adjustment on top of that. The market adjustment rate will NOT be reduced by the general wage increase.
    • There was no change to standby pay.
    • As the market adjustment has been in effect for some time and continues to be paid, there is no market adjustment retro pay owed.
  25. Two parts – whoever is in the system now – if they flip your seniority hours to a date and two employees with the same date bid on a position - how do they determine who gets it? And any new hires – one works every day and one works one shift a week, who gets the job?
    • Part 1: for current employees, if there is an identical date for two employees who bid on the same position, there would be a tiebreaker. Currently, we use tiebreaker language in the current collective agreement (see Article 11.10 c) vi) last paragraph in the subsection on page 47). We used earliest month of birth (e.g. January 25 would be ahead of August 4).
    • Part 2: for new hires, they would have a seniority date established based on their date of hire. If their dates of hire were identical, the tiebreaker language referenced above would also be applied.

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