Childcare centres facing COVID-19 crunch; CUPE Saskatchewan calls for immediate action

The Saskatchewan Government’s approach to childcare centres amidst COVID-19 is causing widespread confusion for childcare providers.

“Saskatchewan’s childcare centres are struggling with the impacts of COVID-19 – including declining enrolment, loss of income and uncertainty about potential closures,” said Judy Henley, president of CUPE Saskatchewan. “And there has been no clear direction from this government to childcare centres, and the message they are delivering to our members is different from centre to centre.”

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CUPE stands with you during provincial state of emergency to reduce COVID-19 transmission

Statement by Judy Henley, president of CUPE Saskatchewan, for CUPE Local Unions.

On March 18, 2020, the province of Saskatchewan declared a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The large-scale impact of the coronavirus on our communities, our jobs, our families, and on our day-to-day life is unprecedented.

We all share the responsibility to do our part, in an effort to flatten the curve and to ensure that our health care system can provide life-saving treatments for everyone who needs it. Provincially, this means implementing drastic measures to reduce the spread of the virus. Closures to schools, universities, libraries, municipal facilities and other public sector infrastructure have been announced. Child care centres may be next to shut down in the near future.

Many CUPE members are facing economic uncertainty due to closures and strict public health measures. Many CUPE members are also working hard on the front line to support the delivery of vital public services such as health care and long-term care, group home caregiving for people living with disabilities, support services for vulnerable people and those with addictions, municipal services, and the often unacknowledged work of facility maintenance and environmental cleaning services in public buildings, workplaces and health facilities.

The work CUPE members do to deliver public services for our communities and neighbours is more important than ever to keep us safe. We commend all CUPE members for the important work they do to support our communities.

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CUPE members in Saskatchewan on the front-line of the COVID-19 pandemic have the support of their union

Statement by Judy Henley, president of CUPE Saskatchewan, for CUPE Local Unions.

CUPE members work hard every day to deliver quality public services that our communities can rely on across Saskatchewan. We want to thank all members who are working on the front lines of the current coronavirus outbreak. At this time, we know that public services and the workers that deliver these services are more important than ever as we face a global pandemic. CUPE Local Unions and CUPE Saskatchewan have been monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic closely. The situation is evolving quickly, and we know that this is causing stress and confusion for our members as facility closures, school closures and service restrictions are being put in place in an attempt to curb the outbreak.

We remind CUPE members and all workers that it is the responsibility of employers to ensure the health and safety of their employees, and that you have the right to refuse unsafe work. Your union’s resources and expertise are available to help you. Contact your CUPE Local Union or area CUPE office should you have questions.

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NDP leader Ryan Meili brings CUPE convention to its feet

Saskatchewan NDP leader Ryan Meili brought a packed room of CUPE members to their feet in Saskatoon on Friday morning, after a speech vowing to fight the Sask Party’s attacks on workers’ rights and public services.

Meili said an NDP government would put people first and focus on strengthening public services, innovating for a green economy, and working alongside First Nations and Metis people to close gaps in health and education.

“Putting people first is what our democracy is about. That’s what CUPE is about, and that’s what New Democrats are all about too,” said Meili. “We’re here to send a message loud and clear to the people of this province; New Democrats are in this for you.”

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P3s are dragging down public services in Saskatchewan: CCPA

Public-private partnerships (or P3s) don’t just cost the taxpayer more – they make delivery of public services more complicated, inefficient, and dangerous, according to Simon Enoch at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Enoch presented a glimpse of his findings, in a forthcoming titled “The Untold Truths of P3s in Saskatchewan”, to delegates at this week’s CUPE Saskatchewan division convention in Saskatoon. Enoch noted that the Sask Party government has shown a preference for the design-build-finance-maintain (DBFM) style of P3s. “It’s usually the F in there that gets the most attentions, because it means much higher financing costs for the public,” said Enoch. “But we should be paying more attention to the M, because these contracts last up to thirty years, and that has its own costs.”

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Judy Henley elected president of CUPE Saskatchewan; vows to keep up the fight for public services

Judy Henley, a health care worker and member of CUPE Local 5430 from Melville, Saskatchewan, has been elected as the new president of CUPE Saskatchewan.

Henley has been active in CUPE since 1985. In that time, she has served in many leadership roles within CUPE at the local, provincial, and national levels. Since 2000, Henley has served as secretary-treasurer of CUPE Saskatchewan. Driven by a passion for the rights of workers to retire with dignity and her conviction that all workers should have access to good benefits and injury compensation, Judy remains an active member of the CUPE Local 5430 Pension and Benefits Committee and subcommittees with the employer.

“I am humbled by the support. I will be working hard to represent our members,” said Henley as she accepted her new role.

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CUPE Saskatchewan President Tom Graham announces retirement after 22 years at helm of Saskatchewan’s largest union

“We can make a difference in our workplaces and our world by standing together,” said Tom Graham in his final report to delegates at the annual convention of the Saskatchewan Division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees being held in Saskatoon. Graham’s retirement announcement was feted with applause and recognition for his dedicated leadership by delegates and guests.

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Health care workers laid off at Regina Pioneer Village as government moves towards privatizing long-term care

The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) is sending layoff notices to CUPE members working at Regina Pioneer Village (RPV) and moving residents to private, personal care homes.

RPV has been plagued by mould and asbestos issues for years and has had to close beds twice before due to remediation efforts. Now residents are being moved into two private care homes in the Regina area.

“These layoffs are a direct result of the Sask Party government’s failure to address the crumbling infrastructure in our health care sector,” said Sandra Seitz, president of CUPE Local 5430. “Now patients are being moved into private, for profit care homes. We should all be concerned about the loss of jobs, the costs for residents and the quality of care.”

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