Date: December 21, 2023
Sisters, Brothers and Friends,
Your SEIU-West bargaining committee met with SAHO and representatives of the Saskatchewan Health Authority (the SHA) on December 19 & 20.
When we last met, we asked a number of questions to get clarity about the intent and application of the proposals that SAHO had put to SEIU-West. Our time together at the bargaining table was spent getting those answers and then clarifying the information presented. The employer struggled to explain how their proposals would actually be applied in the workplace.
The Employer’s proposals are extraordinary in their attempt to undo most of the gains we have achieved over 60 years of collective bargaining.
The Employer has admitted the intent of their proposals replace significant portions of our collective agreement language with another union’s collective agreement language. The rationale for such a monumental shift is that it would be more operationally efficient for the Employer. The impact of their proposals is that advantages and benefits in our current collective agreement, won after hard battles and at a cost to you would be lost, without any recognition of the cost of those concessions to our members. Precedents gained through arbitration decisions that benefit members would be lost.
Examples of the changes are:
• Eliminating our casual language and electronic call in. The Employer’s proposal is to use ‘relief workers’ who must bid on the potential hours that they might be scheduled for—but there are no guarantees – only that people must wait by the phone or check their on-line schedule constantly on the off chance that they are being assigned work.
• Eliminating the guarantee of where you work and what you do. The Employer proposals would give them the right, once you report to work, to assign you to different classification and in different locations without notice and without any compensation for the changes.
• The Employer wants to be able to contract in workers at their discretion, with no restrictions on what the contracted in workers would do or what they would be paid. The Employer wants to contract out work without any restrictions such as offering the work to bargaining unit members first. Current language setting out the rules on contracting out would be eliminated.
• After winning an arbitration that confirmed members who were not offered overtime work when they should have been, must be compensated for the employer’s mistake by being paid for the missed hours, the employer now wants to make employees pay for the Employer’s contract violation by having to work an additional shift as supernumerary in order to get paid, no matter how long it takes to schedule that correction shift.
These are just a few examples of the scope of the concessions the Employer-side bargaining committee has tabled. Your bargaining committee has significant concerns about these proposals and their disruption to your work environment without recognition that such changes come with a cost. We are concerned that the confusion within the Employer bargaining committee regarding the intent and application of their proposals is a small example of the chaos that would engulf our workplaces as the Employer tries to figure out what they are supposed to be doing.
We are looking for additional bargaining dates in 2024. And we will be updating the membership on next steps.
If you have collective agreement questions or issues, contact the Member Resource Center at 1-888-999-7348 Ext 2298 or [email protected]
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, Jeanne Javinal, Carla Saworski, Charlene Sarafin • Extendicare: Kevin Martin • Staff: Bob Laurie (Dir. of Bargaining and Contract Enforcement), Russell Doell (Deputy Dir. of Bargaining and Contract Enforcement • President: Barbara Cape