Dear Health Care Member:

 Your SEIU-West, CUPE, and SGEU bargaining committees met with SAHO from July 25 to August 1 in Regina. We were originally scheduled to bargain from July 25 to 27, but we worked through the weekend and into August 1 in an effort to build on momentum that we believed was being generated.

As mentioned in our most recent joint update, we presented a comprehensive proposal package to SAHO, which included a letter of understanding (LOU) on the creation of a bargaining association for all three unions and articles designed to bring us to a collective agreement.

Unfortunately, we didn’t make it over the finish line this week. With more than eight days spent at the table, your bargaining committees focused on the question of “What would our members want?” in order to achieve a fair collective agreement for all. We believe we presented a proposal package that recognizes the needs of the provincial government, while also making real progress for our members. We have seen some movement on the part of SAHO, and we are hopeful that this will continue.

We have held the line on the issues of standby and callback; we have promoted the payment of professional fees for our members who need to pay these fees in order to remain licensed in Saskatchewan to do their jobs within the health regions; we have put forward articles that will build a more inclusive workplace for new Canadians; we have listened to our members as we seek to strengthen the language around scheduling and hours of work.

We want our collective memberships to know that we are keeping our eye on the impact of transitioning to one Saskatchewan health authority. How will this impact our jobs and what we do? Will our day-to-day work remain the same? If not, what will those changes look like? How will one provincial health region affect union representation and rights? These are questions that we are asking SAHO, the Transition Team, and health regions. We will continue to push SAHO for the answers.

We would like to thank all frontline health care workers for supporting the work of the bargaining committees. Your bargaining teams have seen a shift in the momentum at the bargaining table because of the work and support of our members: your engagement in bargaining; your calls, emails, and meetings with MLAs; and your knowledge and frontline expertise are evident in the meetings that are held with elected politicians. We need to keep up this work: continue to make phone calls, send emails, and meet with your MLAs. This pressure is making a difference at the bargaining table, and we mustn’t stop now: make another call; send another email; and schedule a follow up meeting with your MLA — and bring your co-workers!

Our next bargaining dates are scheduled for September 5 to 7 and September 14 to 24 (including weekends). Stay tuned for more updates!

In solidarity,

CUPE, SGEU, and SEIU-West bargaining committees