Dear CUPE Health Care Member:

Your CUPE Bargaining Committee resumed collective bargaining with SAHO July 4-6, 2017 in Saskatoon.

CUPE told SAHO that there is absolutely no justification for the provincial government’s draconian mandate of a 3.5 per cent reduction in public sector compensation costs followed by three years of zero per cent increases. Your Bargaining Committee provided SAHO with a list of positive economic and financial indicators, most of which are highlighted by the Government of Saskatchewan’s own news releases and provincial budget.

Your Bargaining Committee told SAHO there is a disconnect between the severe concessions and rollbacks that the provincial government is demanding and the good news that the same government is trumpeting in their own news releases. For instance, Saskatchewan is forecast to have the second highest economic growth rate in Canada this year, recently reported the second highest increase in average weekly earnings among the provinces and boasts the second lowest debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio in the country – a key indicator of financial health.

CUPE also pointed out that public sector wages did not cause the financial situation the government now finds itself in. As noted in a recent report by CUPE’s senior economist, average public sector wage increases in Saskatchewan have trailed both private sector wage increases and inflation over the last five years.  

The Provider Coalition received some answers to our questions this week. In general, SAHO said the various monetary concessions were put forward simply to meet the government’s mandate. SAHO acknowledged that some of their concessions may have an impact on recruitment and retention, but did not specifically address the impact on employee morale. 

Little progress was made this week. Much of the face-to-face discussion at CUPE’s individual table was related to housekeeping issues.

Our next bargaining dates are set for July 25-27 in Regina. Our Coalition partners SEIU-West and SGEU will also resume negotiations with their respective SAHO bargaining committees at that time.

We thank the membership for your continued support by wearing CUPE swag during collective bargaining dates with SAHO. If you haven’t done so yet, please contact your MLA to let them know that the government’s regressive mandate is unjustified, unfair, and completely unacceptable. 

CUPE will continue to keep you updated with further developments as they become available. Learn more at www.cupesaskhcc.ca.

In solidarity,

Your CUPE Health Care Council Bargaining Committee

Sandra Seitz, Pearl Blommaert, Jim Carr, Nancy Black, Scott McDonald, Helen Sawatsky, Donna Krawetz, Brian Manegre, Wanda Edwards