We are entering another period of change, as we see the public health orders and restrictions lifted, as well as the state of emergency ended in our province. This all happened on July 11, 2021.
As was reported last time, the lifting of the state of emergency means that the temporary LOU regarding re-deployment, labour pools, cohorting, and supplemental workforce will expire 28 days after the state of emergency is lifted. The LOU will expire on August 8, 2021.
Relief workers who were cohorted in long-term care should have been allowed to return to all relief lists as of July 11, 2021. If you are one of these workers and were not returned or missed shifts that could have been scheduled prior to your return to the relief lists of facilities you were not cohorted to, please contact your region’s office for assistance.
We are in continued talks with the Saskatchewan Health Authority on the impacts of the removal of the temporary LOU, as we know that COVID is not gone. Testing and assessment, screening, immunization, surge capacity, contact tracing, and other COVID work streams remain and how that work will be done without the LOU is of interest to the unions.
We have received a number of calls and emails about screening and continuous masking for health care workers. This will continue at least in the short term and there was a safety bulletin in today’s SHA Rounds speaking to it. Here is the link.
CUPE SAHO Negotiations
We also want to update you on important talks taking place between CUPE and the Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations Inc. (SAHO). Some of you may remember that back in the 2008 round of bargaining the health provider unions took issue with some of the communication that SAHO was having with our members. What is called an unfair labour practice complaint was filed with the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board. After a hearing and appeal, the end result was that we still have a matter outstanding with SAHO that needs to be resolved. We were scheduled to return to the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board in late spring to have another hearing to finish resolving the complaint. However, we have been in discussion with SAHO to resolve it without a hearing.
In the course of this discussion, we also have addressed some of the changes that have occurred in health care. Specifically, that our employers that were the five health authorities (Sunrise, Sun Country, Regina Qu’Appelle, Prairie North, and Prince Albert Parkland) and the affiliate facilities are now the Saskatchewan Health Authority and the affiliated facilities. This has led to more formal discussions of changes to the collective agreement language to recognize this change. In addition, the discussions have been around changes to the collective agreement that would see the five CUPE bargaining units become one. This would see one seniority list for CUPE members, the ability to move into any CUPE job without the portability language, and changes around displacement in layoffs.
Collective agreement language changes are usually agreed to in bargaining and we are not in a formal bargaining period, nor have we, or SAHO, given notice to bargain as we have a collective agreement that goes to March 31, 2022.
What we are discussing is a possible additional extension to the collective agreement that would commence upon the expiry of the current collective agreement. This would include a monetary increase, a settlement to the unfair labour practice complaint, language changes relating to the one employer, and one bargaining unit.
Once the discussions are complete, and an agreement is reached, the terms of that agreement would come to you, the membership, for approval as they always do. We call this a ratification vote.
We would have information meetings, both in-person and virtually, to share the information and answer questions. Then, a vote would take place.
We will reach out again through our email system, Facebook, and website with further information about the talks with SAHO and to let you know about further information meetings on this.
If you are reading this message through the website or Facebook and would prefer to get these messages in your email, please contact your region’s office and get set up. Maybe you have never been set up, or maybe you have changed your email address and aren’t getting the regular updates. We do not email more than necessary and will only use your email address for the purpose of communicating with you and will respect your privacy.
- Main office: 306-546-2185