Date: June 28, 2023
Sisters, Brothers and Comrades,
Your SEIU-West Bargaining Committee hasn’t had much to report on the bargaining front because of the excessive periods of time SAHO takes before it provided responses to our requests regarding setting up a meeting to discuss logistical issues prior to setting dates for our bargaining sessions.
To recap, the Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations (SAHO), is the bargaining agent for the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA). SHA is the Employer for all SEIU-West members in the former regional Health Authorities and affiliates, as well as being the successor Employer for the five former Extendicare (ECI) facilities. That’s why we have a member from the former ECI facilities on the SAHO union bargaining committee.
We had been corresponding to arrange a meeting to discuss the process for bargaining, locations, frequency of meetings and exchange information regarding bargaining committee participants. We finally met on June 20 in Regina to discuss these issues.
There are on-going issues related to the SHA’s transition to one provincial health authority from 12 individual health regions that are the current focus of the SAHO bargaining committee. Our focus in proposal development is on what our membership has identified via surveys, calls to the Member Resource Center (MRC), and our bargaining conference: wages, wage-related premiums, and the impact of the rising cost of living on our paycheques.
In the past, SAHO has had a bargaining committee specific to each union (SEIU-West, SGEU Health Providers, CUPE 5430) and the unions have been able to establish a reasonable bargaining schedule during the initial meeting. For this round of bargaining, there will be one SAHO/SHA bargaining committee for all three bargaining tables. This will impact the availability of dates to meet for bargaining.
We have been able to establish a commitment to begin bargaining at the beginning of October, though no firm dates have yet been established. This is not ideal but appears to be a result of the ‘one provincial bargaining committee’ for SAHO. SAHO has indicated that their intention is to utilize virtual meeting technology for their committee and wish to conduct bargaining sessions either in a hybrid fashion with some participants in person and some participating virtually, or totally online.
Your SEIU-West bargaining committee believes that bargaining sessions should be held in person and will be present in person to ensure that bargaining progresses quickly, efficiently, and thoroughly. Our members have been clear about their frustration related to the impact of the pandemic, the cost of living crisis, and the incredible pressures that have been experienced in the healthcare sector.
We have a proposal package that addresses SEIU-West issues and the common issues identified by SEIU-West, SGEU Health Providers, and CUPE 5430. We are looking forward to productive negotiations that create a collective agreement that works for you.
on behalf of your SEIU-West Bargaining Committee,
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: • Staff: Bob Laurie (Dir. of Bargaining and Contract Enforcement), Russell Doell (Deputy Dir. of Bargaining and Contract Enforcement • President: Barbara Cape