Date: 14 June, 2022
Greetings Sisters and Brothers,
Since we last met with you on the 8th of February, 2022, we have continued to work on your behalf trying to negotiate a fair collective agreement with your Employer. We met with them on the 10th and 15th of February, the 8th and 10th of March, the 2nd and 3rd of May and the 14th of June. Despite our best efforts we have not been able to make any significant progress toward a collective agreement. Apart from some small, superficial changes the Employer hasn’t budged from their original positions. Also, we have not been able to get them to meet more often. We don’t expect to do any better in the future either at the table or in getting them to the table unless something changes.
What we want to change is the Employer’s attitude to bargaining with you and the way we want to do that is to deliver your message to the Employer. And we hope that message is that you are not going to agree to what they are proposing for a collective agreement. It doesn’t address the issues that brought us to the table in the first place and it doesn’t offer very much else. The Employer doesn’t seem to be listening when we tell them they have to do better, and they have to deal with the issues that brought in the Union to begin with. So we want them to hear it from you.
The Union has tabled a lot of proposals that match the conditions in the provincial health care agreement. We don’t expect the Employer to agree to all of them, but we are surprised at how few they are willing to consider. For example, they have offered nothing for paid family illness leave or medical care leave. There are more examples, but the real issues are in seniority, access to vacation, shift trades, leaves of absence, and Union representation. The Employer is not willing to agree to seniority that applies everywhere in Spruce Manor and wants to keep it department specific. They refuse to consider language that makes it easier to trade shifts and they want to maintain limits on access to vacation. What they’re offering will do nothing to change the frustrations that have plagued Spruce Manor for so long.
We don’t think we will get any change from them by continuing to bargain this way. We also know that you are tired of waiting. The only way forward we can see is to give you the chance to reject the Employer’s proposal package so we can move on to the next step of bargaining. If you say no to the Employer that step will be to write to the Minister of Labour and the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board to say we are at an impasse, and we need assistance to resolve bargaining. And, in fairness to you, a lot of time has gone by while you wait for a collective agreement, and you should have your say. You may feel that waiting longer is worse than accepting a collective agreement that doesn’t have what we hoped for. The Employer’s proposal package does have some things in it that are improvements and it does offer the chance to come back to bargaining in less than two years in a slightly stronger position than we are in now. But there is a note of caution; once they’re in a collective agreement some things are harder to change than others. If bad seniority provisions go into the agreement now they will be very hard to change next time round.
We will be providing more details in the near future. We will be holding information meetings via zoom in the morning and afternoon of the 5th of July, and we will be holding a vote on the Employer’s proposal package via email on the 5th and 6th of July. Please watch your email and bulletin board for more information about what’s on the table, how to attend the meetings, and how to vote.
We thank you for your patience and support throughout this and we look forward to seeing you on the 5th or hearing from you anytime. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to send them to us either directly or through the Member Resource Centre.
Your SEIU-West Spruce Manor Special Care Home Bargaining Committee:
Brenda Morrison (Unit Chair) • Mildred Braun (Unit Communicator) • Brenda Soiseth (Unit Vice Chair) • Staff: Cam McConnell (Northern Negotiations Officer) • Tracy Goodheart (Union Representative)