Delegates representing CUPE locals from across the province will gather in Regina on March 8 – 10, 2017, for the Annual Convention of CUPE Saskatchewan. During the three-day convention, delegates will set the direction for the year ahead, elect members to leadership positions, approve financial statements, hear reports about the work being done by our union and engage in discussions about issues facing CUPE members and the public services we provide.
All events will be held at the Delta Hotel (1919 Saskatchewan Drive, Regina, SK) unless otherwise indicated.
ADVANCE REGISTRATION: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. on March 7, 2017
REGISTRATION: 8:00 – 9:00 a.m. on March 8, 2017
The Annual Convention will Call to Order at 9:00 a.m. on March 8, 2017.
Convention Office on-site at the Delta Hotel: Campania A
Annual Convention 2017 information:
**ELECTION NOTICE: Please note an additional By-Election will be held March 10, 2017. Standing Committee By-Elections will be held for the Environment Committee and the Committee Against Racism and Discrimination. One (1) member only; one (1) year term to fill position vacancies.
REGINA: This week the CUPE Saskatchewan Health Care Council launched an ad promoting the important role of frontline health care workers and the impact that more cuts and privatization will have on the quality of patient care across the province.
“As frontline care providers, we are worried about what the March 22 provincial budget will have in store for health care,” said Gordon Campbell, president of the CUPE Saskatchewan Health Care Council. “We know that frontline staff are already working overtime, with a shortage of staff, and struggling to do more with less. We have already seen layoffs, and now the government is suggesting laying off up to 4,900 health care workers.”
CUPE is also concerned about the impact the creation of one province-wide health care provincial authority will have on workers, patients, and quality of care.
“Public health care is one of our most valued public services. Our government needs to step up to the plate to ensure that every resident of Saskatchewan has access to quality care,” added Campbell.
Tom Graham, President, CUPE Saskatchewan
REGINA – The Saskatchewan government’s latest scheme to force workers to take unpaid days off to balance the books illustrates a complete lack of respect for working people.
“The provincial government’s latest attack on workers’ income will do little to balance the budget, but will hurt the working people of this province, and the people who depend on the public services we provide,” said Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan. “Cuts to working people’s wages are just going to mean less spending money in the pockets of Saskatchewan families and won’t actually help the economy recover.”
One unpaid day off per month equates to a five per cent wage roll back for working people. This tops a long list of wage freezes, other roll backs and threats of layoffs and cuts in health care, education and social services that the government has already threatened.
“We have a revenue problem today because of this government’s reckless spending,” said Graham. “They have sold off or given away sources of revenue, buried us in expensive P3 and lean contracts, and now the only solution they have for a situation they created is to punish frontline workers.”
Close to 40,000 public sector employees in Saskatchewan, including 24,000 CUPE members, have collective agreements that have expired or soon-to-be-expired.
“This government seems determined to create an atmosphere of uncertainty and fear for public sector workers by musing about significant layoffs, cuts and rollbacks in the media,” said Graham. “CUPE will continue to stand up for our members and the public services we provide with every tool we can, including legal mechanisms.”
CUPE, SGEU & SEIU-West call on the provincial government to properly invest in front line staff
REGINA – Yesterday, the provincial government released the reports from the 2016 Regional Health Authorities CEO Long-Term Care Facility Tour. The CEOs of each regional health authority reported serious issues facing residents in long-term care, such as infrequent baths, sub-par food options, and desire for enhanced recreational opportunities. In response, the three health care provider unions, SGEU, CUPE and SEIU-West, are calling on the provincial government to properly invest in front line staff.
“We all know that we need more staff in long-term care,” said Bonnie Erickson, SGEU’s Health Sector Vice-President. “The question is, what is this government going to do to ensure that every senior in our province has access to the quality of care they deserve? Any additional cuts or layoffs in health care in this province will put even more stress on already over-taxed workers.”
Front line care providers in Saskatchewan are facing uncertainty from proposed budget cuts, privatization, and the looming merging of all of the province’s health regions. Now the growing provincial deficit calls into question whether the government will put needed resources into the system.
“Understaffing and workload are critical issues in continuing care in Saskatchewan,” said Gordon Campbell, President of CUPE Health Care Council “With more staff time, workers can be more attentive and provide better care to their residents. All of our members care deeply about the residents, and provide a high level of care – we need the government to adequately fund seniors’ care.”
CUPE Saskatchewan Submission to Advisory Panel on K-12 Education
REGINA: The public comment period to the advisory panel on education reform has ended, but CUPE vows to keep voicing its concerns about the proposed restructuring.
“Frontline workers, who have already had hours reduced because of government funding cuts, are concerned that restructuring will remove community accountability, create unstable labour relations, and most importantly, lower the quality of education for students,” said Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan. “CUPE supports the status quo of maintaining the existing 28 elected school divisions. Perrins’ report has not provided any evidence or rationale for further amalgamations.”
The Government of Saskatchewan tasked a six person advisory panel to review the recommendations of Perrins’ report and set a course of substantial change to K-12 education in a matter of weeks. Many of the options presented in Perrins’ report will drastically reduce the number of school boards and replace democratically elected and accountable school boards with government appointees who will be accountable only to government.
WEYBURN: The proposed review of emergency medical services (EMS) in the province of Saskatchewan could offer a solution for challenges that communities throughout the south east corner of the province are facing with emergency medical services.
“It is clear that there is an issue across the whole province, and it is good that the provincial government is finally taking leadership on this file and committing to improve emergency medical services,” said Sandra Seitz, president of CUPE Local 5999.
The Saskatchewan Advisory Panel of Health System Structure Report identified EMS as a focus area for improvements, specifically recognizing the important role of emergency medical responders (EMR) in rural EMS. Emergency medical responders are often local residents who staff the local ambulance on an on-call or casual basis. In CUPE’s experience, the lack of recognition and adequate compensation for EMRs is leading to challenges responding to emergency calls in a timely manner.
REGINA: The Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board (LRB) has dismissed the Saskatoon Public Library’s application to remove employees with supervisory duties from their union, Local 2669 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). In this test case of a controversial provision in The Saskatchewan Employment Act (SEA), the LRB ruled that section 6-11(3) of the SEA, SS 2013, c S-15.1 applies only when a union seeks to represent a newly organized group of workers. The LRB also ruled that it has no jurisdiction to hear an employer’s application to remove supervisors from an existing bargaining unit.
The LRB noted that the SEA prohibits employer influence in employees’ choice of a union, any employer coercion that may affect an employee’s choice to belong to a union, and any employer interference in the administration of a union. Finally, the LRB stated that permitting employers to exclude supervisors from existing bargaining units would deprive these employees of their union representation and their rights under negotiated collective agreements, including such fundamental rights as seniority, negotiated wage rates, holiday and sick leave, insurance benefits, and pensions.
“This decision illustrates what CUPE has been saying for a long time: Working people have the right to belong to the union of their choosing,” said Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan. “We are pleased that the LRB has recognized this right.”
Tom Graham, President, CUPE Saskatchewan
REGINA: The Government of Saskatchewan has sent a letter to all public sector employers calling for wage reductions. This move is a step back for public services and the working people who provide them, says CUPE Saskatchewan.
“Public sector workers did not cause Brad Wall’s billion dollar deficit – Brad Wall and the Saskatchewan Party government did,” said Tom Graham, president of CUPE Saskatchewan. “Wages for public sector workers barely keep up with inflation, and in many cases they have fallen behind. Many CUPE workers in education, health care, and social services have seen their workload balloon while their wages stagnate. Asking these workers to pay the price for Brad Wall’s fiscal mismanagement is unfair.
“Every resident of Saskatchewan should be concerned about what this means for the quality of public services in this province. In the name of balancing the books, are children going to lose their educational assistants or librarians? Are seniors going to lose hours of care?” added Graham.
REGINA: CUPE has serious concerns about how the creation of one province-wide health care superboard will impact workers, patients, and quality of care.
“Health care restructuring will disrupt the established systems and relationships of providing health care in the province,” said Gordon Campbell, president of CUPE Health Care Council. “Today’s announcement creates more uncertainty for frontline workers and for rural communities across Saskatchewan. It is also questionable that any cost savings will result.”
Past experiences from across the country raise several flags when it comes to reorganization. Alberta has faced many challenges since merging all of its health regions into one. A report written for the government of Alberta raised several concerns with the larger system, including that the structure is confusing to navigate for patients and the general public and that staff do not know who they report to or who they can go to for assistance and support.
“We are concerned that one central superboard will be less responsive and harder to navigate for patients and communities,” said Campbell. “Will this lead to reduced services and a loss of decision making in communities, especially in rural communities? What will this mean for access to health care in communities like Preeceville, Wawota, or Grenfell that have already been experiencing issues?”
Tom Graham, President, CUPE Saskatchewan
Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan, responds to recent comments made by Premier Wall about the provincial deficit and potential public sector cuts.
Message from the President:
Brad Wall is suggesting that the key to remedying the province’s economy lies in taking money out of the pockets of hard working Saskatchewan public servants. He also hopes that the provider unions and others will show good will and good faith in what I assume from his comments is accepting job loss and lower wages.
Public sector workers did not cause Wall’s billion dollar deficit – Brad Wall and the Saskatchewan Party government did. Public sector workers, at least those I’m privileged to represent, have seen their wages barely keep up with the inflation rate, and in many cases they have fallen behind. Now we are expected to show good will when the Premier has not had the decency to talk to those affected before making his public musings.