9.5% in wage increases over four years but frustrations with SAHO remain.
Regina (28 Sept. 2010) - Approximately 2,000 health care providers have voted to accept a new collective agreement with the Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations (SAHO). It contains wage increases totalling 9.5% over four years.
"While eighty-eight per cent of members voted in favour of the agreement, many have been vocal about their dissatisfaction with the bargaining process and its outcome," says Bonnie Erickson, chair of the bargaining committee for the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees' Union (SGEU/NUPGE).
"While SAHO spokespeople may claim that this shows support for their bargaining position, it is simply a reflection of the frustration and weariness of health providers, who felt backed into a corner by an uncompromising employer," Erickson adds.
"At our ratification meetings, members told us that they felt they had no choice but to support the deal. However, they were clear that their 'yes' vote in no way meant that they accepted the unfair treatment and lack of respect shown in this round of negotiations. SAHO, backed by the provincial government and its essential services legislation, ran negative ad campaigns and circumvented the established collective bargaining process in order to force our members to accept a deal that is less than they deserve," she says.
"The work our members do is not being adequately valued. That is not only an injustice to dedicated health professionals, but it is also a disservice to the people of Saskatchewan, who rely on our qualified and caring health providers," she argues.
"We will continue to work to improve wages and working conditions for health providers, so that we are able to recruit and retain staff in order to meet the health care needs of Saskatchewan people."
SGEU represents the health providers in the Kelsey Trail Health Region, the Keewatin Yatthé Health Region and Mamawetan Churchill River Health Region.
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