Sign up for CUPE Saskatchewan email updates to get the latest in union events and news delivered to you – even on your phone!
The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) is conducting a province-wide review of security services, using an external consultant named Tony Weeks. Weeks conducted a similar review in Alberta in 2010 and recommended a centralized, mostly-privatized security service, which was implemented in that province.
“We are extremely concerned that the goal of this review is to privatize health care security services,” said Sandra Seitz, president of CUPE Local 5430.
Legal Aid Saskatchewan provides legal services for the most vulnerable people in the province. The 150 CUPE members in CUPE Local 1949, representing legal aid lawyers and administrative staff, are fighting to preserve the organization from contracting out and threats of privatization.
Learn more and contact the Minister of Justice to express concerns.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Contact Minister of Justice Don Morgan to express concerns that Legal Aid Saskatchewan is being systemically undermined.
(Prince Albert) Workers from Prince Albert’s Legal Aid Clinic, represented by CUPE Local 1949, met July 11, 2018 to discuss restructuring and privatization at Legal Aid and the impact changes will have on clients.
It was recently announced that Legal Aid would contract out most duty council and lay off six people in the Saskatoon Office. There is concern that more changes are coming which will impact the area offices, including the Prince Albert Office.
“Legal Aid Saskatchewan has been chronically underfunded, and staff have suffered from extreme, escalating workload issues in recent years,” said Deb Hopkins, Vice President of Local 1949. “Many of our clients are among the most marginalized and vulnerable people in society, and our staff are dedicated to serving their needs.”
Education assistants, librarians, secretaries, occupational therapists, student counsellors, and outreach workers all lost between 4 and 13 working days. The Division also cut the only two speech pathologist assistant positions.
“With the provincial budget cuts to education and a mandate on wage restraint for public servants, our school division fell short of the commitment they made to their employees to honor the wage negotiated during our last round of bargaining. The reduction in days is a result,” said Marie Moore, President of CUPE Local 4799. “The cut in days will mean less time for education assistants to prepare for students and work with teachers on individualized learning plans for unique student needs. Outreach workers, counsellors, and occupational therapists will have less time to gather resources to put programs and services in place for students before the school year starts.”
- a signing bonus of a maximum of $360 dollars ($30/month) for members who have worked 75% of the available hours for 2017/2018 (this works out to 1.15% of payroll);
- a 1.5% wage increase for 2018/2019; and
- a 1.75% increase for 2019/2020.
The Union also achieved parity with the GSTA (Good Spirit Teachers Association) LINC agreement for extra-curricular and noon hour supervision.
Last week, CUPE Local 1949, representing approximately 155 Legal Aid lawyers and administrative support staff across Saskatchewan, was informed that the Saskatoon Duty Counsel work was going to be contracted out.
Yesterday, the Union learned that as a result of three lawyer positions being contracted out to the private bar, two Legal Assistants and 1.5 Administrative Assistants would be laid off. In addition, the Union was informed that two Eligibility Officer positions were being eliminated in Saskatoon and redeployed to Regina.
There was no meaningful consultation with the staff who do the Duty Counsel work prior to these decisions nor were there discussions with the private bar.
“The Union is very concerned about the negative impact this will have on our clients,” says local president Wanda Towstego. “Many of our clients are among the most marginalized and vulnerable people in society, and our staff are dedicated to serving their needs.”
CUPE Saskatchewan joins the Prince Albert Fire Department in commending the rapid actions of CUPE member and school bus driver Mark Jenkins, who ensured the safe evacuation of 16 students from their bus before it was engulfed in flames on June 15. Jenkins is a member of CUPE Local 4195 representing education support workers in the Saskatchewan Rivers Public School Division.
“We salute Brother Jenkins on his dedication to ensuring the safety of these kids,” says CUPE Saskatchewan President Tom Graham. For more information on the incident, see the article published in the Saskatoon StarPhoenix and Regina Leader-Post.
“The evidence from other school divisions shows that contracting-out is more expensive and is less accountable to the community,” said Tony Head, CUPE servicing representative for Local 4607. “Once the school division sells its buses, it has no control over price increases.”
A study by the Saskatchewan School Trustees Association reviewed bus transportation costs in the province and found that contracted services were about 18% higher than the cost of board-owned buses. Recently, the Chinook School Division in southwest Saskatchewan announced it was purchasing 22 buses from Rilling Bus this June and taking over bus operation in the city of Swift Current.
The local is also concerned about the six members who will be laid off.
Members of CUPE 4797 have ratified a new collective agreement with the Northwest School Division. The deal was signed by both the Board of Education and the Local’s bargaining committee on June 15, 2018.
Indigenous peoples will be celebrating in their communities, and graciously sharing their ceremonies, customs, and heritage with others across the country. It is a day we can all stand in solidarity with Indigenous peoples striving to protect and strengthen their cultures, languages, and way of life.
There are public events across Saskatchewan to attend, several of which CUPE is helping organize:
- Weyburn: Join CUPE Local 5430 Region 4 at Jubliee Park (583 13 Street) from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm for cultural activities, Aboriginal dancers, a free barbeque lunch, and displays.
- Prince Albert: Join CUPE Local 5430 Region 2 and the Prince Albert Indian Metis Friendship Centre for an all-day celebration at Kinsmen Park. This event includes a barbeque, entertainment, tradition ceremonies, and displays.
- Regina: Join in the celebrations from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Victoria Park in downtown Regina.