Date: September 1, 2023

Sisters, Brothers, and Friends,

Your SEIU-West Bargaining Committee was unable to meet over the summer due to scheduling conflicts.

A subgroup of your Bargaining Committee met with SAHO, along with SGEU and CUPE in a pre-bargaining planning meeting. We had discussions regarding SAHO’s proposal about the style of bargaining: rather than using a traditional exchange of proposals style, the parties consider using a solutions focused style where the concept is for the parties to identify and discuss their concerns and ambitions around what are the gains wanted in bargaining, what can we identify as problematic collective agreement language, and what concerns and resolutions can the parties create mutually in this collegial, collaborative process. The concept is like the interest-based bargaining but with some significant variances. Interest based bargaining requires a commitment by the parties, prior to commencing bargaining, that the interest-based model will be used for all issues in bargaining. This proposal is that, if the solutions style is not working with some issues, then we revert to the traditional adversarial positions-based style of bargaining for those outstanding issues. We discussed the pros and cons to this new approach.

There is a concerted push by SAHO to move all three unions to one common table right away with the hope for one common collective agreement. SEIU-West is hesitant to do so. Through our surveys, calls to the MRC, union representative reports, and communications with our members, the Bargaining Committee has identified issues and proposals specific to SEIU-West members that need to be addressed. We do not want to lose sight of SEIU-West issues in a rush to get to a common table. However, for this round of bargaining, SAHO has established only one bargaining committee to bargain with all three healthcare provider unions – and this strategy severely limits SAHOs availability to bargain with all three health provider unions in a timely manner. We have already discovered scheduling bargaining dates is going to be extremely difficult and frustrating.

The parties did agree that besides negotiating individual issues and traditional monetary based common issues, we also need to address outstanding transition issues resulting from the creation of the provincial Saskatchewan Health Authority, such as how do members of one union pursue employment and career opportunities in another union without losing their seniority, benefits, and accruals because the Employer demands they terminate for one job to apply for and get another job in a different bargaining unit but with the same Employer.
This month the Bargaining Committee is adjusting our SEIU-West proposal package to include our transition issues and to sort which issues we see as individual and specific to SEIU-West members only, or common and/or transitional and are applicable to all three unions: SEIU-West, SGEU, CUPE.

We have had broad conversation with other public sector unions across the province, including getting an update on what is happening at the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation (STF) bargaining table. SEIU-West members have no doubt noticed billboards around the province posted by the Government of Saskatchewan, which claim is that 7% over 3years is sufficient – we would expect that the mandate for all public sector bargaining is within that window. That is not to say we find this claim or mandate acceptable.

Our first bargaining dates are set for mid-October: October 17, 18, 19, 2023.

If you have collective agreement questions or issues, contact the Member Resource Center at 1-888-999-7348 Ext 2298, by email at [email protected] or by using the Contact form on our website.

In Solidarity on behalf of the SEIU-West Bargaining Committee
Barbara Cape, President of SEIU-West
Your SEIU-West SAHO Provincial Bargaining Committee:
CHR: Janice Platzke (SEIU-West Treasurer) • FHHR: Brenda Berry, Barbara Bubyn • HHR: Colleen Denniss • SHR: Rhonda Bzdel, Chris Clark, Jean Javinal, Carla Saworski, Charlene Sarafin • Extendicare: Vacant • Staff: Bob Laurie (Dir. of Bargaining and Contract Enforcement), Russell Doell (Deputy Dir. of Bargaining and Contract Enforcement • President: Barbara Cape

Click here for a printable copy of this bargaining update.

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