Federal Minister of Health tells Saskatchewan to pull to the plug on fee for service MRI

keep-mris-publicThe hard work by CUPE Saskatchewan and our allies to protect public health care from two-tier privatization has resulted in a win with the federal Minister of Health advising the provincial government its user-pay MRI scan legislation undermines public health care and should come to an end.

In 2014, the Saskatchewan government first announced it would be tabling legislation allowing for profit corporations to charge individuals for medically necessary MRI testing. They have since tabled legislation expanding privatization to allow for user-pay CT scans as well.

The Saskatchewan Party government claims that privatization is the answer for reducing wait times, but this contradicts evidence and expert opinion while striking at the foundational principle of Medicare: equal access to health care based on need rather than private wealth. Private clinics also hurt the public system by taking professionals and resources from the public system.

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Hands Off Public Services, says CUPE to the Sask Government

Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan_background_WEB

Tom Graham, President, CUPE Saskatchewan

REGINA – The government of Saskatchewan has announced a $1 billion deficit and is moving forward with significant cuts to health care and a hiring freeze across government.

“Public sector workers did not cause this deficit. Bad government decisions caused this deficit,” said Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan. “And now the quality of the public services that Saskatchewan families depend on is at risk.”

Front line staff in health care, universities, education and community based organizations provide invaluable services to Saskatchewan communities. Many sectors, such as health care and education, are already facing budget shortfalls.

“During the election, the government promised an investment in long term care. They promised investments in education,” said Graham. “Now they are implementing a hiring freeze on front line staff. It is essential that we properly staff education and health care.”

“We know we are facing challenges as a province, but it is about the choices the government makes,” said Graham.

“Will they choose to ensure that Saskatchewan people have access to quality public services? Or will they choose to move forward with more bad choices like costly P3 agreements, Lean consultants and selling profitable crown assets, like liquor stores and SaskTel.”


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CUPE and allies say no to for-profit plasma

press-conference-on-forprofit-plasma_nov-15-2016The federal government should stop private for-profit companies from collecting and selling our blood products, including plasma. This is the message CUPE and other blood safety and public health care advocates delivered Tuesday on Parliament Hill.

“We are asking for a moratorium on all licenses granted or pending to Canadian Plasma Resources so we can secure the safety and integrity of our Canadian blood supply, as it has been acknowledged that none of the plasma collected by these new private blood brokers will benefit Canadian patients,” said Kat Lanteigne, executive director of BloodWatch. “This is an urgent and pressing issue that Minister Philpott needs to address in an open and transparent manner.”

Speaking at a press conference with NDP Health Critic Don Davies, advocates including the Canadian Health Coalition and the Canadian Federation of Nurses expressed their concern with private, for-profit blood clinics, especially during a time when Canadian Blood Services is trying to expand their plasma collection sites.

Tom Graham, president of CUPE Saskatchewan, voiced CUPE’s concerns about Canada’s ability to secure our domestic supply of plasma. Saskatchewan is the only province where a private for-profit plasma collection clinic is currently operating, and it is important to prevent this bad idea from spreading.


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Rushed review of K-12 education system misguided

Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan_background_WEB

Tom Graham, President, CUPE Saskatchewan

REGINA – The announcement of a rushed one-month review of Saskatchewan’s K – 12 education system is another misguided step in the provincial government’s so-called transformational change agenda, according to CUPE.


“We don’t need a rushed review looking for pocket change because of the provincial government’s growing deficit. We need education support workers and resources for our children to receive the quality education they deserve,” said Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan.


Education Minister Don Morgan announced that the review will look to reduce and amalgamate school divisions and may even fundamentally remove the democratic system of elected school board trustees in favour of appointees.


“The Minister appears to be relying on anecdotes to justify a misguided overhaul of the education system instead of doing the homework,” says Graham. “There is no evidence amalgamations would achieve any cost savings, and clearly the government hasn’t learned from its past mistakes of failing to properly consult with those they will affect with their decisions.”


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WCB recommendations deserve full, timely implementation

Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan_background_WEB

Tom Graham, President, CUPE Saskatchewan

REGINA – CUPE Saskatchewan is calling for the full and timely implementation of the eleven recommendations made by the Workers’ Compensation Act Committee of Review in their final report released today. A Committee of Review, comprised of equal employer and employee representatives, is struck every four years to conduct a review of Saskatchewan’s workers’ compensation system by legislative requirement. The recommendations have the unanimous support of committee members.

“The recommendations of the committee make a lot of common sense to improve the workers’ compensation system for injured workers in our province, and they should be implemented without delay,” said Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan. “Injured workers are, in fact, still waiting for some recommendations to be implemented from past reports made in 2011 and earlier. This delay should not be the case moving forward including those recommendations requiring amendments to legislation for implementation.”

Among the eleven overarching recommendations made in the final report of the Committee of Review includes the need for a significant change to customer service and culture of the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) to better serve injured workers, the addition of part-time members to the Board, a 30-day benchmark to address a backlog of board-level claim appeals, and improved coordination of benefits to ensure no worker is disadvantaged in a work-related motor-vehicle accident.

“We are encouraged to see the government already move forward on the aspects of one recommendation calling for an enhancement to policy and amendments to legislation addressing psychological injury coverage,” said Graham. The recommendation also notes the need to have caseworkers dedicated to psychological injury claims, which remains unaddressed. “We hope to see the same level of commitment to implement the full aspects of the remaining recommendations in a timely manner.”

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Former laundry staff speak out over quality concerns

PRINCE ALBERT: Workers laid off from Saskatchewan’s public laundry facilities last fall are concerned that laundry services now provided by the private company K-Bro Linen are inadequate.

Monday’s Leader-Post article, “Sharps and debris found in hospital laundry lead to staff safety concerns” confirmed these workers’ fears about the quality of laundry services being provided to hospitals and nursing homes under the privatized model.

These public employees, laid off when Edmonton-based company K-Bro Linen was granted a province-wide monopoly on health care laundry services, say they were disappointed but not surprised to hear that processed laundry has been returned with sharps and other debris in it.

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Graham: Kelley Moore’s plan for cuts foolhardy

Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan_background_WEB

Tom Graham, President, CUPE Saskatchewan

CUPE Saskatchewan President, Tom Graham, responds to recent comments made by Saskatoon mayoral candidate Kelley Moore.

Message from the President

With the Saskatoon civic election just around the corner, it is concerning that mayoral candidate Kelley Moore has stated she plans to address a budget shortfall by delivering a tax break to business and won’t rule out job cuts to city staff.

Unaffordable tax breaks at times of needed investment and cutting jobs and therefore services for citizens are the same tired errors of the past, and create a worsening financial position over the long term.

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Vote on October 26 – Saskatchewan Community Elections 2016

vote-on-oct-26-2016_main-pic_finalElections for municipal officials and school board trustees are taking place in communities across Saskatchewan on Wednesday, October 26, 2016.

Your vote on October 26 can decide the future of your community.

The decisions, policies and budgets made by local elected officials affect our everyday quality of life and determine access to public services. As CUPE members, it’s important that candidates support the work we do to deliver public services that strengthen our communities and enrich people’s lives.

Click here to find out when and how to vote.

Click here for profiles of progressive candidates running for election.

Click here for the local union boards poster.
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Building Strong Locals – 2016 CUPE National Leadership Survey

CUPE National is conducting a Leadership Survey. The 2016 CUPE National Leadership Survey seeks to understand the challenges local unions experience in engaging members in union activities.

All elected CUPE local leaders are invited to participate in the survey. For the purposes of the survey, elected CUPE local leadership includes the following: President, Vice-President, Secretary-Treasurer, Recording Secretary, Chief Steward, Unit Chair, and/or other elected positions on the local union executive.

This is an online survey which will expire Sunday November 6, 2016. It should take approximately 45 minutes to complete.

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Young Workers Pub n’ Learn: Nov 17, 2016 in Regina

young-workers-pub-n-learn_nov-17-2016_final-posterOpen to all CUPE members and free to attend, the CUPE Saskatchewan Young Workers’ Committee is hosting a Pub n’ Learn on Thursday, November 17, 2016 in Regina beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Copper Kettle Restaurant. The topic of the night will be: Keeping young workers safe and building a new generation of safety activists.

Join the Pub n’ Learn discussion with free appetizers and non-alcoholic beverages provided.



To RSVP your attendance and more information, contact the CUPE Saskatchewan office: 306-757-1009 or cupesask@sasktel.net

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