Dear CUPE Health Care Member:
The CUPE-SAHO collective agreement expires on March 31, 2017.
Since December 2016, CUPE has been meeting regularly with our health provider coalition partners – SEIU and SGEU – to coordinate our approach to the upcoming round of bargaining with SAHO.
CUPE, SEIU, and SGEU had preliminary meetings with SAHO on January 13 and January 24, 2017 to discuss logistical issues for the upcoming round of bargaining in light of the provincial government’s decision to replace the existing 12 health regions with one single provincial health authority (PHA).
SAHO served CUPE, SEIU, and SGEU with its notice to bargain on January 27, 2017. All three unions will be meeting with SAHO on March 7 to discuss bargaining logistics, order of proceedings (common table versus individual union tables), and to confirm initial bargaining dates. The health provider unions and SAHO will not exchange proposals at this meeting.
In the meantime, we are hearing more and more about the provincial deficit and the impact this may have on public services and our members. Given the province’s “serious fiscal situation,” SAHO has been instructed to “work collaboratively” with all health unions to ensure that there will be no increased payroll costs for the fiscal year 2017-2018. The Premier of Saskatchewan has mused about laying off 4,900 health care workers to address the $1.2 billion provincial deficit. The Minister of Finance has suggested that the province may make all public sector employees take one unpaid day off per month (the equivalent of a 5% wage rollback). Other public sector unions, even those with closed agreements, have been asked to consider wage rollbacks, reduced employer contributions to pension and benefit plans, no increments, and reduced overtime and standby rates.
Your CUPE Health Care Council strongly believes that health care and other public sector workers are not responsible for the fiscal mess the provincial government finds itself in now. And we should not be threatened with layoffs, wage freezes, and sweeping concessions when the government has other budgetary alternatives it can consider.
CUPE will continue to stand up for our members and the public services we provide with every tool we can, including legal mechanisms. But now, more than ever, we are asking for the support, strength, and solidarity of members as we enter into what will be a very difficult round of collective bargaining.
If you want to take immediate action, please consider joining CUPE on March 8 for a rally to stand up for public services ( http://www.sfl.sk.ca/rally ).
CUPE will continue to keep you updated as collective bargaining proceeds. Learn more at www.cupesaskhcc.ca
Your Health Care Council Executive
Gordon Campbell, Pearl Blommaert, Sandra Seitz, Jim Carr, Scott McDonald, Helen Sawatsky, Donna Krawetz, Brian Manegre, and Wanda Edwards