We are CUPE Local 5430 and now more than ever our essential workers are needed to keep Saskatchewan’s health care system going. We have met this challenge head-on. With continued courage, commitment and compassion, our workers have held the frontline during these dangerous times.
The Government of Saskatchewan has provided additional information about their temporary wage supplement program (STWSP). We did not negotiate this program with the government. The government claims that this program will help 35,000 workers in the province. Notable is that this is a cost shared program with the federal government. The total cost to provide the program is $56 million, with the province’s share being only $3 million. We appreciate that the lowest wage earners in the province are receiving a top up; however, we remain concerned and will continue to advocate for recognition pay for all health care workers in Saskatchewan.
To be eligible, a worker must:
Earn a wage less than $24.00 per hour, at an eligible essential care facility, in the four-week period for which the worker has applied for the STWSP; Have total gross earnings less than $2,500, including earnings from work outside an eligible essential care facility, in the four-week period for which the worker has applied for the STWSP; and
Be employed by an eligible essential care facility, including:
Public and private senior care homes;
Integrated health care facilities; and
Home care workers providing care to seniors in their own home. [The page indicates that this is Saskatchewan Health Authority home care workers.]
Acute care facilities, such as hospitals, are not eligible facilities. Eligible essential care facilities are listed alphabetically by region in the online application form (see drop-down menus under “Employer Information”).
REGINA: CUPE Local 5430 is deeply troubled by misleading claims made by Deputy Labour Minister Donna Johnson regarding workers’ rights and workplace safety.
Minister Johnson claimed that COVID-19 doesn’t pose an unusual danger and that, “If there’s no reason to say that the workplace is unsafe, then the employee essentially does not have any ability to refuse work…” These claims were made in an article which appeared on the 650 CKOM website on May 15, 2020.
Troy Winters, CUPE’s Health and Safety Senior Officer, says that by making these claims Ms. Johnson demonstrates a clear misunderstanding of how the law works. In fact, when an employee believes their workplace or the task they’ve been asked to perform is unusually dangerous they then have the right to refuse. “Every situation is unique, and a blanket statement about what is dangerous, is in itself very dangerous,”
There are few of us who can say they have been unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic, but the impact on our seniors has been absolutely devastating. Over 600 nursing and retirement homes across Canada have reported COVID-19 infections, with Quebec and Ontario being the hardest hit provinces. At the privately-run Résidence Herron care home in Dorval, Quebec, 31 residents died over a three-week period, after residents were largely abandoned in response to a COVID-19 outbreak that wasn’t properly reported.
Altogether, those residing in seniors’ homes account for up to 80 percent of Canada’s COVID-19 deaths.
This is a national tragedy.
It is shameful that it takes a pandemic to shine the light on the quality of care in our long-term care facilities. While Saskatchewan has not yet witnessed widespread outbreaks in seniors’ homes like other provinces, CUPE, family advocates and others have been raising concerns about the quality of care for years.
Last fall, our union commissioned a report of Saskatchewan’s long-term residential care system. This report by Carleton University researchers, entitled Crumbling Away, revealed that provincial government policies are contributing to crumbling and neglected infrastructure, a shift towards private care homes, increasing workloads and short staffing in our public long-term care facilities.
In private personal care homes, jobs require significantly less training for care staff, and, in contrast to special care homes, there is no requirement for nursing oversight, either on-site or on-call.
The Crumbling Away report concludes that for-profit provision of long-term residential care leads to lower-quality care, lower staffing ratios, higher rates of hospitalization and mortality, escalating costs, lower accountability and financial transparency.
REGINA: Saskatchewan’s largest health care union, CUPE Local 5430, is concerned that the government’s cohorting policy is disproportionally hurting almost 6,000 CUPE relief workers.
Introduced on April 28, cohorting in long-term care means that workers can only work in one facility, which is helping make facilities safer, but could also have a devastating impact on the health care workers who depend on shifts at multiple facilities to help make ends meet. Relief workers have no guaranteed hours and must often work at multiple facilities to cobble together enough work to make a living and support their families. Part-time workers usually also hold a relief position to make up full-time hours.
“Relief workers are providing critical support during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Sandra Seitz, president of CUPE Local 5430. “But they haven’t been spared the burden of job insecurity. The government has to act right now so that our front-line heroes in health care aren’t being left behind.”
CUPE Licensed Practical Nurses and Continuing Care Assistants are key members of the nursing team. It is an important time to recognize the tremendous work CUPE members do every day to deliver high quality patient, resident, client care as part of the nursing team.
CUPE strongly supports multidisciplinary teamwork and full utilization of all team members’ skills and training. We will continue to advocate for our members and promote the amazing work you do.
Thank you for all the work you do today and every day! CUPE Local 5430 will continue to fight for a public health care system that allows for every team member to engage fully in providing high quality care.
(SASKATCHEWAN) The unions representing health care providers in Saskatchewan are calling for the Premier to follow in the footsteps of almost every other jurisdiction in Canada and provide a wage top-up for health care workers.
Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta have all taken steps to enhance the wages for health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. CUPE Local 5430, SEIU-West and SGEU Health Providers have written a letter to Premier Scott Moe, asking the provincial government to take steps to lift up the wages for health care workers.
SASKATCHEWAN: On May 19th the province will be reopening a variety of health care services that were closed due to the public health emergency and the public health order. CUPE Local 5430 is concerned that there will not be enough staff to properly respond to needs.
“Cases of COVID-19 continue to rise, and new outbreaks are emerging,” said Sandra Seitz, CUPE Local 5430 president. “Now is not the time to be resuming services and taking staff away from the areas in which they are needed during this pandemic.”
Many of the staff at provincial testing and assessment centres were redeployed from services that were closed or slowed down. If these services open, CUPE is very concerned that the resources to address the needs of COVID-19 will be significantly reduced.
During this COVID-19 pandemic and the disruption that it has caused, the Health Care Provider Unions want the Government to recognize the healthcare care workers who are working tirelessly and with personal risk to themselves and their families, to return those in their care to their families. This letter was sent to Premier Moe by the Provider Unions today asking for that recognition.
TOPIC: COVID 19 and the impacts on health care workers
When: Thursday, May 7, 2020 at 6:50 p.m.
We know that many members have questions about the recent LOU on redeployment and cohorting, as well as ongoing concerns about the impact COVID-19 is having on health care members. As such, we are organizing a telephone town hall on this topic.
During the town hall, you will be able to ask questions of your CUPE Local 5430 Executive and put forward your comments.
All you have to do to participate is make sure we have a current phone number for you and pick up the phone when we call you.
We hope you’re able to join us on May 7, 2020 for this important discussion.
CUPE Local 5430 is the largest health care union in Saskatchewan, representing over 13,600 members. We represent a wide range of health care providers in five major classification areas: clerical, technical, nursing, support and plant operations. Together, we each contribute to the well-being of hospital patients, long-term care residents and home care clients.