Saskatchewan’s largest union has launched a new documentary about the threats facing our public services from cuts and privatization. You can watch the full documentary, Meeting Human Needs – The fight for Saskatchewan’s public services, here:
Since 2007, the Saskatchewan Party government has sold over $1.2 billion in public assets and eliminated at least 1,227 public sector jobs via privatization and contracting out. The film, which was produced by Campaign Gears and Left Field Digital, looks at the loss of STC, the challenges with the Sask Hospital P3 and the ongoing erosion on public health care.
Together, we can fight to protect Saskatchewan’s public services.
Join Lori Johb, SFL President, and Sue Delaney, from Child Care Now Saskatchewan, for a webinar on Wednesday, September 28, 2022, at 7:00 p.m. to discuss child care in Saskatchewan and learn how the latest government decisions may impact workers.
- WHAT: Webinar on the Future of Child Care: Understanding the Federal Funding Agreement and the Impact on Workers
- WHEN: Wednesday, September 28, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. CST SK Time
Registration is now open for the annual CUPE Saskatchewan Indigenous Peoples’ Conference to be held in-person on November 21 – 22, 2022, at Wanuskewin Heritage Park, outside Saskatoon.
Open to all CUPE members, and members of other unions, the CUPE Saskatchewan Indigenous Peoples’ Conference seeks to build union activism with a focus on equality and rights for Indigenous people in our workplaces and in our communities.
Early registration deadline is October 21, 2022.
Contact your CUPE Local Union to approve sponsorship of your registration.
We have been closely monitoring the news coming from the James Smith Cree Nation and the village of Weldon with heavy hearts and deep sadness. On behalf of over 30,000 members across the province, CUPE Saskatchewan extends our deepest sympathy to all the families, friends and community members who have been impacted by this tragedy.
We owe Saskatchewan’s first responders, healthcare workers, and support staff a huge thank-you as they continue to support victims, families, and respond to a still unfolding and dangerous situation.
We encourage people who are grieving to reach out for support. The Hope for Wellness Helpline provides 24 hour a day, seven days a week service by phone or online chat to all Indigenous peoples across Canada (1-855-242-3310). There are also supports available through the Saskatchewan Health Authority.
Several events have been planned to show solidarity and support with the James Smith Cree Nation, including the following organized by the First Nations University of Canada:
- Wednesday, September 7 at 7:00 p.m.: the Regina, Saskatoon and Northern campuses are set to host simultaneous candlelight and prayer vigils. The Regina Campus vigil will be held on the front lawn of 1 First Nations Way. Free parking is available in lots 11 and 12.
- Friday, September 9 at 12:00 p.m.: the FNUC, University of Regina, Luther College and Campion College will host a prayer gathering for all faiths. The gathering will take place on the front lawn of 1 First Nations Way.
Together, in solidarity, we mourn the lives lost to these horrific attacks, and we wish a full and speedy recovery to those injured.
The unions representing health care providers in Saskatchewan are questioning the creation of the Saskatchewan Health Care Recruitment Agency.
“This is just another layer of bureaucratic smoke and mirrors. The government is under pressure to do something – but instead of implementing actual programs they created this Crown corporation,” said Bashir Jalloh, President of CUPE 5430. “The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) already has resources and a robust out-of-scope workforce, some of whom are dedicated to workforce planning and human resources. They are funded by and directed by the Ministry of Health. Why do they need another structure to do the job of recruitment and retention?”
This entity is “new”, but the people assigned as Chair and Vice-Chair are Tracey Smith, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Health and Andrew Will, CEO of the SHA. This does not seem independent of the parties that should be charged with recruiting and retaining health care workers.
The following statement by Judy Henley, President of CUPE Saskatchewan, was released in response to the announcement by the provincial government.
Scott Moe’s attempt to buy votes ahead of the Meewasin byelection is a cynical move by a government desperate to distract from the many scandals and controversies this government is facing. This thinly veiled attempt to distract voters from this government’s failures will not work.
CUPE is also questioning how the money is being distributed, with high and low-income adults receiving the same amount, and no additional funds for adults with dependents.
The estimated $450 million could be allocated in a more equitable fashion. Not everyone needs a rebate. This money could have been targeted for the people who need it most: families with children, seniors on a fixed income and workers that are struggling to get by on the lowest minimum wage in Canada.
Furthermore, our public services are the greatest equalizers we have. This government should be investing in education, childcare, senior’s care, and reducing utility costs. Finally, they should be supporting real cost of living wage increases for all workers.
Communities across Saskatchewan are facing health care service disruptions, Emergency Room shutdowns, bed closures and an exodus of health care staff.
“Information around closures and service disruptions should be available to the public and tracked. The government is not providing this information and wants to charge us almost $10,000 to process a Freedom of Information (FOI) request. This is completely unacceptable,” said Bashir Jalloh, president of CUPE 5430. “Saskatchewan people deserve to know the true state of our health care system without a price tag attached.”
The local submitted a FOI request to both the Ministry of Health and the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) to determine the exact location and date of the health care closures. However, the SHA did not respond by the end of the 30-day deadline, and the Ministry of Health is seeking an exorbitant fee for processing the request.
The SHA website only lists service disruptions if they are longer than seven consecutive days. Shorter term disruptions are posted on facility doors and may be shared through informal networks. Bed closures may not even be publicly announced.
“Health care service disruptions and closures are happening across the province, but this government seems allergic to transparency,” added Jalloh. “We have tried tracking online. We have tried filing a FOI request. Now we are going directly to the public.”
CUPE 5430 is taking matters into their own hands and has launched a public survey to gather the information the government is not providing. The survey will be open until mid-August.
Anyone who is concerned with access to health care is encouraged to fill out the online survey here.
In a recent media release, the Sask. Party government announced it was moving forward with surgical privatization, including contracting out surgeries to for-profit providers, and shipping patients out of province for surgery in private clinics.
“Sixty years ago, the people of Saskatchewan came together to create universal Medicare. It is disappointing that our current government seems to be doing everything in its power to move the clock backwards and privatize our health care system,” said Bashir Jalloh, president of CUPE 5430.
“Contracting out surgeries is not a magic wand for wait times. In fact, there is little evidence to show that contracting out will result in shorter wait times. We point to Saskatchewan’s own MRI wait lists which have increased since the government implemented a two-tier system. Even in the case of private surgeries, these patients end up coming back to the public system for follow up. Home care and therapies are just a couple of programs that are also experiencing backlogs,” added Jalloh.
The Minister of Education announced a one-time $20 million funding increase to school divisions to help cover the rising cost of inflation.
“We appreciate the government walking back their insistence that schools don’t experience inflation. This one-time funding increase will help cover some of the inflationary increases, but what is really needed is a permanent funding increase,” said Rob Westfield, chair of CUPE Saskatchewan’s Education Workers’ Steering Committee. “These temporary funds won’t hire back the permanent staff that were laid off. It is just a drop in the bucket of this government’s continued underfunding of education.”
School divisions across the province have already announced cuts, layoffs, and introduced new parent fees. Many school divisions have been vocal in their call for a permanent funding increase.
“School divisions need predictable and sustainable funding to provide quality education for all students. As it stands, school divisions will face similar shortfalls next year,” added Westfield.
The funding announcement comes on the heels of a tough week for the Sask. Party government, who have come under fire for their questionable use of private planes to travel across the province.
CUPE health care workers joined the Kamsack community calling for immediate steps to stop bed closures at the Kamsack Hospital. As of July 13, 2022, all acute care beds at the Kamsack Hospital have been shut down, and the Emergency Room will only operate from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. until August 31.
“Our health care system is fraying. Communities across Saskatchewan no longer have access to reliable health care services, and the provincial government is doing nothing to address the growing concerns,” said Bashir Jalloh, president of CUPE Local 5430. “The lack of respect from this government is impacting morale, and patients, residents, and clients are feeling the impact.”
Are you a library worker? Have you been impacted by violence and harassment at work in the library? CUPE Saskatchewan has launched a province-wide survey of library workers to gauge the extent of violence and harassment in the workplace and on the job. The online union survey takes only 5 – 10 minutes to complete, and responses are kept confidential and anonymous.
CUPE member library workers are asked to complete the survey by September 2, 2022.