Own it! project gives Saskatchewan people chance to say YES to public services



Sign the petition!

Is the privatization of Saskatchewan’s vital public services really happening?

You bet it is. It is real and it is taking place quietly all across our province — in our hospitals, schools, long term care facilities, and so much more.

Own it! Saskatchewan belongs to everyone is a new project that will give citizens a voice in a province-wide discussion about the future of public services and Crowns.

Saskatchewan’s public services belong to everyone. Let’s keep them strong!

Sign the Petition at OwnYourSask.ca and download and print the petition to get as many people as you can to say YES to keeping and strengthening our public services and Crown corporations.

Working together – we can make a difference!

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CUPE provides support for northern Saskatchewan communities dealing with the aftermath of summer forest fires

REGINA – Over the summer, northern Saskatchewan faced an unprecedented number of forest fires that, at its height, forced the evacuation of over 13,000 people from their homes for weeks over the summer. While the threat has since subsided and northern residents have returned home, efforts to provide relief and support for impacted communities continue. CUPE, Saskatchewan’s largest public sector union, has announced a donation of $20,000 to the ongoing relief efforts provided by the Prince Albert Grand Council for northern communities and reserves. The amount is the combined donation made by CUPE Saskatchewan, CUPE Health Care Council, and CUPE National.

“It’s important all of us continue to stand with and support northern communities dealing with the lasting impact of the devastating forest fires this summer,” said Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan. “CUPE, Saskatchewan’s community union, is pleased to make a donation to the Prince Albert Grand Council in support of ongoing efforts to assist northern residents impacted by forest fires.”

The donation made to the Prince Albert Grand Council will go towards the total expenses of providing emergency relief efforts for forest fire evacuees over the summer and additional support services coordinated through the Council. The Prince Albert Grand Council represents 12 First Nations including the reserves of Lac La Ronge and Montreal Lake that were evacuated due to forest fires.

“The Prince Albert Grand Council has over 38,000 members, many of which were affected and still recovering from the 2015 northern Saskatchewan fires and evacuation. On behalf of our PAGC membership, executive, staff and volunteers, I wish to extend my hand in gratitude to CUPE Saskatchewan for the good will shown in this time,” said Grand Chief Ron Michel. “The journey to recover in this tragedy has been made shorter by your good deed to us today! – Ekosi, Marsi Cho, Wasti-lo, Thank you.”

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CUPE members welcome students to new school year

Education workers_Feb 2013

CUPE represents nearly 8,000 education workers across Saskatchewan

REGINA – A new school year begins today across Saskatchewan, and CUPE represented education support staff are welcoming new and returning students to their first day of classes.

“CUPE education workers are dedicated to supporting the learning of Saskatchewan students throughout the school year,” said Jackie Christianson, Vice-President of CUPE Saskatchewan and chair of the CUPE Education Workers’ Steering Committee. “Students can count on CUPE members to help with the first day jitters and make time at school a successful and safe experience.”

CUPE represents nearly 8,000 education workers across Saskatchewan in the pre K-12 school system. From educational assistants to library assistants and technicians, custodians to trades workers, school secretaries to school bus drivers, social workers to computer technicians, CUPE members support Saskatchewan students each and every school day.

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Aboriginal Council Conference: November 19 – 20, 2015

AB COUNCIL CONF 2015Registration is now open for the Aboriginal Council Conference 2015 to be held November 19 – 20, 2015 at the Delta Bessborough Hotel in Saskatoon.

Open to all CUPE members, the CUPE Saskatchewan Aboriginal Council Conference seeks to build union activism with a focus on equality and rights for Aboriginal people in our workplaces and communities. This year, participants will explore the history of Aboriginal community health, rights, and activism with a focus on building a more just and equitable future.

Elections to CUPE Saskatchewan’s Aboriginal Council Committee will also be held at the conference.

Early registration deadline: October 19, 2015


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CUPE Saskatchewan supports Saskatoon’s summer snack program

CUPE_SDLC Summer Snack 2015

Photo (left to right): CUPE volunteers Kristin Trondson; Melvin Ngo; Carla smith; Scott Barrett; Shar-lee Mayers Haichert; Clayton Wilson & son, Dylan

SASKATOON – CUPE volunteers were on hand delivering lunches to children in
six core community parks in Saskatoon on Friday, August 7, 2015 as part of
the Saskatoon and District Labour Council’s Summer Snack Program. Lunch on August 7th was sponsored by CUPE Saskatchewan.

Since 1988, the Summer Snack Program has been serving nutritious lunches in
inner-city parks to those that would otherwise go hungry. With assistance from many volunteers and the support of affiliated unions and local businesses, the program is expected to serve approximately 6,500 lunches during the months of July and August.

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CCPA: Saskatchewan government seems doomed to repeat the P3 mistakes of other provinces

As the Saskatchewan government embarks on a major public-private-partnership (P3) school build, it regularly assures the public that it has learned from the P3 mistakes of other jurisdictions. Despite these assurances, the recent Saskatchewan Auditor-General report and the hiring of Partnerships BC as a P3 advisor to the government demonstrates that rather than learning from the P3 mistakes of the past, the government seems poised to repeat them.

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CUPE calls for more transparency around P3 schools

Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan_background_WEB

Tom Graham, President, CUPE Saskatchewan

REGINA – With the announcement of a selected contractor team to build nine joint-use schools as a public-private partnership (P3), CUPE is calling for greater transparency surrounding the costly P3 process.

“We have significant concerns about accountability and transparency when it comes to P3s and other forms of privatization,” said Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan. “The government has said they will not share the contracts and the full price tag of P3 schools with the public until negotiations are complete, but the public deserves to know the costs upfront.”

Earlier this month, the calculations used by SaskBuilds to justify proceeding with P3s came under fire from the provincial auditor. Furthermore, briefing notes obtained through Access to Information requests revealed that the Ministry of Education previously determined: “P3s are an expensive public procurement approach because they involve higher interest rates, a more expensive bidding process, third party advisors and a profit margin”.

“Across the country, we have seen many examples of the problems associated with P3s,” said Graham. “Nova Scotia’s provincial auditor found that its 39 P3 schools cost $32 million more than if they had been built publicly. In Alberta, the Calgary School Board opted out of the P3 process because the conventional way would be built faster.”

CUPE is calling on the government to demonstrate transparency and accountability by disclosing all contracts and costs related to public-private partnerships.


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Pride in our union and communities

PRIDE 2014Pride festivities across Canada and around the world held annually in June offer an opportunity to celebrate diversity, to promote inclusiveness and to highlight the human rights issues that affect Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, and Intersex (LGBTTI) members of our union and our communities.

In the workplace and in our communities, unions are at the forefront in protecting LGBTTI workers from discrimination and harassment, and supporting human rights, dignity and equality for all workers.

As Saskatchewan’s community union, CUPE proudly celebrates Pride and the role unions play in making our country a more fair and inclusive place for everyone.

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Reliance on out-of-province consultant points to more problems with P3 privatization push

Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan_background_WEB

Tom Graham, President, CUPE Saskatchewan

REGINA – CUPE applauds the Provincial Auditor’s report for highlighting concerns about SaskBuilds’ use of unsubstantiated numbers, but is raising red flags about their reliance on an out-of-province consultant with a biased approach to P3s.

“If the government claims Saskatchewan is going to have a different approach to costly P3s, then why is it adopting faulty advice from a BC crown corporation criticized by its own government?,” questioned Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan.

SaskBuilds is spending $5.6 million for advice from Partnerships BC, which has faced tough criticism from British Columbia’s Ministry of Finance for being biased in favour of P3s. Partnerships BC, established in 2002 to advise the government of British Columbia, receives all of its revenue from consulting fees. SaskBuilds has a comprehensive contract with Partnerships BC to develop four P3s: the Swift Current long term care centre, the North Battleford Integrated Hospital and Correctional Project, nine joint-use schools, and the Regina Bypass Project.

“We are beginning to see that the provincial government, through SaskBuilds, is exaggerating the costs of public sector procurement so it can push its expensive P3 model,” said Graham. “The track record of costly P3 mistakes across Canada should be enough evidence to show that P3 privatization is the worst way to finance the building of new infrastructure.”

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Graham: User-pay MRIs bad policy

Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan_background_WEB

Tom Graham, President, CUPE Saskatchewan

“Passing more costs to patients and draining the public health care system of resources and professionals is not about innovation or choice; it is the return to the days before Medicare,” wrote Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan, in a letter to the editor challenging the provincial government’s introduction of two-tier health care with user-pay MRI scan legislation.

Graham noted other jurisdictions that have experimented with private pay-per-use scans witnessed an overall increase in wait times, while investment in the public health care system has reduced Saskatchewan’s wait times.

“This [user-pay MRIs] is completely contrary to the founding principle of Medicare that need, not one’s ability to pay, should determine access to care.”

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