'Our members have waited 17 months to see a reasonable monetary offer from SAHO and ... they’re still waiting.' - SGEU negotiator Bonnie Erickson.
Regina (24 Sept. 2009) - The Saskatchewan Government and General Employees’ Union (SGEU/NUPGE), the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and the Service Employees International Union West (SEIUWEST) say the Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations (SAHO) has presented an "insulting" offer at the bargaining table. The three unions represent a total of 25,000 health care providers across the province.
"SAHO was not prepared to present a reasonable monetary offer at their common bargaining table," the unions said in a joint release. "Instead, SAHO tabled an offer of less than 10% over four years. It falls short of other public sector settlements in the province."
“Our members have waited 17 months to see a reasonable monetary offer from SAHO and ... they’re still waiting,” says Bonnie Erickson, negotiating committee chair for SGEU. “It’s very discouraging.”
“It’s hard to believe we’ve waited so long for so little,” adds Gordon Campbell, president of the CUPE Health Care Council. “This type of second-class treatment is deeply insulting to our members.”
“It’s a real kick in the teeth to be offered less than every other group of public sector workers in the province,” says Barb Cape, president of SEIUWEST. “It’s difficult to imagine that SAHO and the SaskParty government thought this offer would lead to a contract settlement.”
Beyond the paltry wage proposal, SAHO continues to insist health care providers accept concessions.
"The three unions have worked diligently in prior sets of negotiations to expand opportunities to members who are entering a workforce characterized by too many casual and part-time jobs. Now SAHO has tabled rollbacks which would eliminate or reduce such expanded opportunities," the release says.
"The province’s health care provider unions continue to point out that employees who are well-rested and working in safe, healthy work environments and who are engaged in full-time, meaningful job opportunities will be able to provide quality and timely health care services. SAHO and the SaskParty government have confirmed, in this offer, that there is no respect for the vital services provided by health care providers and that there is no shared value in addressing wait list issues through the attraction and retention of health care providers."
The CUPE Health Care Council received a strong strike mandate (88%) from its membership in June over SAHO’s continued demands for concessions. SEIUWEST and SGEU have not yet taken a strike vote.
The province’s 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 1,800 health care providers in three health regions; Kelsey Trail, Keewatin Yatthe and Mamawetan. 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