Your union bargaining committees met this week from Sunday, March 25 to Wednesday, March 28. We continue to remain focused on getting the best agreement possible.
There was a great deal of development work on both sides of the table to review, prepare and respond to proposals. We face many challenges, including grave concerns about short staffing protocols and processes, lack of investment in the provincial health care system, the threat of the -3.5% rollback, and the transition to the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA). Your bargaining committees are thinking about these and how they impact our members every single day.
There are real bread and butter issues that our members feel passionately about, which we are trying to address through bargaining. These include: recruitment and retention, workload, professional fees, electronic call back, maintaining our Extended Health and Enhanced Dental Plan (EHDP), and creating a joint trusteeship to ensure that the funds of the EHDP are invested for the plan’s long-term access.
We are also looking at long-term goals and strategies that will ease the anxiety of our members and create a sense of stability within the health care system. We are advocating for a formal structure to deal with issues arising from the transition to the SHA; we need to tackle what a provincial health authority means for our members’ ability to bid on jobs, transfer seniority, and maintain their benefits throughout the province.
We hope that the Government of Saskatchewan recognizes that it is health care workers who provide the care, keep the buildings running, and comfort the sick, vulnerable and dying. But health care workers are running on empty, and we need the support and investment from our government to make a difference.
The SEIU-West, CUPE and SGEU bargaining committees want to thank all of you who have written, called or visited your MLA to talk about the work you do and the importance of a fair collective agreement. We are calling on you to continue to reach out to get the message out to the Government of Saskatchewan, which funds health care. Our next bargaining dates are April 5, 6, and 7. So ring those phones, send those emails, and pay a visit to your MLA to tell them health care providers need a raise.
Your SEIU-West, SGEU and CUPE bargaining committees