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Access to clean and safe drinking water and wastewater services are essential to human life and health, and clean water supplies sustain our environment and planet. On World Water Day on March 22, CUPE renews its commitment as public sector workers on the frontline to protect and defend water and wastewater (sewage) services from privatization that takes away public ownership and control of water, including from commercial exploitation through trade agreements or bottled water. Sustainable management of our water systems and water supply can only be possible through public ownership and control to ensure that human need and responsible environment stewardship are always a priority.
Yesterday’s provincial budget is balanced in favour of bureaucracy, at the expense of front line care, says CUPE Local 5430.
The merger of 12 health regions into the Saskatchewan Health Authority was predicted to save $20 million annually, with all savings being directed to front line care. But there is little evidence to show that such cost savings were realized.
“Where are all of the savings we were promised from the amalgamation? Where is the support for front line workers who deliver hands on care?” said Sandra Seitz, President of CUPE Local 5430. “This budget shows us that executive salaries have continued to grow, while front line workers are doing more with less.”
CUPE members are facing unprecedented workloads due to understaffing, underfunding and higher patient acuity and resident care needs. This results in more exhaustion, workplace violence and injuries.
“The reality is that patients and residents in the health care system are not seeing the improved care the government is claiming,” said Seitz. “We need a government that invests in providing quality, hands on care for patients and residents – not more investment in health care executives and consultants.”
Today’s budget delivered disappointment and disrespect for working people and public services of Saskatchewan, says CUPE Saskatchewan.
“This budget continues the drastic underfunding of our public services while corporations and high-income earners continue to get off the hook by not paying their fair share,” said Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan. “And let me be crystal clear: It was not this government that balanced the budget, but the working people of Saskatchewan who have had to pay more and get less.”
“The budget was balanced on the backs of our kids in our schools who are dealing with larger classes and less support. It was balanced by public sector workers who had to give up a wage increase, the municipalities who had to raise property taxes and user fees and the universities who had to raise tuition and cut programming.”
March 21 is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. It’s a day to renew our commitment to confront and end discriminatory treatment and intolerance wherever it exists, and it’s a day to recognize the human suffering caused by the injustice and stigma of racism. It’s a day to renew our efforts to make our workplaces and all levels of our union reflective of diversity, and it’s a day to renew our efforts to advocate for fair and equal rights for all members, regardless of race or ethnicity.
The University of Saskatchewan is trying to eliminate the local’s secure Defined Benefit Pension Plan and replace it with an inferior Defined Contribution or Target Benefit Plan. In addition, they are pushing an insulting five-year wage offer of 0-0-0-2%-2% and a signing bonus of either $1,500 or $3,000 depending on which substandard pension offer the local agrees to.
“The Board of Governors has the decision-making authority to move the University away from its regressive and insulting wage offer. They have the power to make a deal and avoid strike action,” said Craig Hannah, President of CUPE Local 1975. “To date, they have refused to meet with us, and we are here today to tell them loud and clear: Our members deserve a secure retirement and a fair wage increase.”
The local was joined by CUPE National President Mark Hancock and over 500 delegates from CUPE’s National Bargaining Conference, which is taking place in Saskatoon from March 18 to 21.
Applications are now being accepted for positions on Standing Committees of CUPE Saskatchewan. In odd years, one position on each Standing Committee is appointed for a two-year term following the Annual Convention.
More than a dozen people from the communities of Grenfell and Broadview joined the NDP at the Legislature today to call on the government to restore publicly funded, publicly delivered long-term care in Grenfell. This call has been consistently made in the nearly seven months since the long-term care centre in Grenfell was shut down because it was riddled with mold and asbestos.
Delegates representing over 30,000 members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees in the province gathered at the annual convention of CUPE Saskatchewan on March 6 to 8, 2019, at the Delta Hotel in downtown Regina.
View the Convention 2019 Photo Albums:
Thank you to all the delegates and guests of CUPE Saskatchewan’s Convention 2019 for all the solidarity, discussion, resolve to fight for fairness and build a stronger union, and fellowship with members across the province.
Check back for more highlights from Convention 2019.
Grenfell and area residents are invited to join CUPE health care workers on March 11, 2019 for a field trip to the Legislature. Speak up for long-term care in Grenfell and get on the bus!
Participants will attend the formal legislative question period where the official opposition will ask the government questions about long-term care in Grenfell. In addition, participants will meet with the official opposition and hopefully attend a meeting with government representatives.
REGINA – Delegates representing over 30,000 members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees in the province will gather at the annual convention of CUPE Saskatchewan on March 6 to 8, 2019, at the Delta Hotel in downtown Regina.
CUPE is the largest union in Saskatchewan, representing employees working in a variety of public service occupations including: health care, K-12 school system, universities, libraries, municipalities, community-based organizations, and various boards and agencies.
Highlights of the three-and-a-half-day convention include: a panel discussion on the privatization of public services and the provincial government’s push for a P3 privatization bonanza at the expense of Saskatchewan residents, solidarity with CUPE Local 1975 in demanding the U of S take their paws off members’ pensions and negotiate, the centennial anniversary of the Winnipeg General Strike, and debunking the myths of a representative workforce after government cancellation of partnership agreements to increase Indigenous employment.
The annual convention also includes reports from provincial and national union officers, elections to union leadership positions, and resolutions on a variety of issues affecting public sector workers in Saskatchewan.