'After 19 months at the bargaining table, it would be wonderful to have this agreement settled before Christmas.' - Bonnie Erickson, SGEU.
Regina (30 Nov. 2009) - The three unions representing Saskatchewan's 25,000 health care providers are hopeful a monetary offer presented to employer groups at a common bargaining table will move the parties closer to achieving a fair contract settlement by Christmas.
The health care provider unions – the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees’ Union (SGEU/NUPGE), the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and the Service Employees International Union West (SEIU-West) – are proposing a general wage increase of 5% annually for 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Bonnie Erickson, negotiating committee chair for SGEU, says health care providers are anxious to conclude a reasonable contract settlement. “After 19 months at the bargaining table, it would be wonderful to have this agreement settled before Christmas,” she notes.
Barbara Cape, president of SEIU-West, says the proposal addresses the need for "equal treatment with other public sector employees." It also deals with market staff recruitment and retention problems in specific classifications. The proposal asks for less than what some health region managers received, she notes.
Gordon Campbell, president of the CUPE Health Care Council, says health employers must recognize that negotiating a fair monetary package for health care providers is one of the best ways to retain existing staff and recruit new people to the health sector.
Contract negotiations at a common bargaining table took place last week and continue again this week. Health care providers include special care aides, licensed practical nurses, food services workers, laundry, housekeeping and activity personnel, maintenance, administrative, clerical, therapeutic and recreational workers, and medical technologists and technicians.
SEIU represents 11,000 health care providers in four health regions. SGEU represents 2,000 health care providers in three health regions. CUPE Health Care Council represents 12,600 health care providers in five health regions.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE