After two years of attempting to negotiate with an employer that has been stalling and demanding significant concessions, CUPE Local 1949, which represents the more than 130 lawyers and administrative staff who work at Saskatchewan Legal Aid offices across the province advised the Minister of Labour that negotiations have reached an impasse.
“From the start, our employer has been demanding concessions and moving painfully slowly through negotiations,” said Wanda Towstego, co-president of CUPE Local 1949. “After promising in April to come up with a more reasonable offer, the employer continued to use stall tactics. When we were finally able to meet in June, they didn’t come through with their promise. The employer only presented very minor changes and they’re threatening to make unilateral changes to our members’ hours of work without negotiating those changes.”
As a result of the impasse, the Saskatchewan Employment Act requires that a mediator be assigned to move things forward. The union is also considering further legal options in response to the employer’s refusal to make good on their commitment to remove concessions. This is a sign of bargaining in bad faith which is a violation of The Saskatchewan Employment Act.
“All along, our members have been committed to reaching a fair and reasonable agreement,” said Towstego. “We just need the employer to negotiate in good faith so we can focus on serving the people who rely on Legal Aid services across Saskatchewan.”