Health care provider unions concerned about new health care recruitment Crown: more red tape is not the answer

The unions representing health care providers in Saskatchewan are questioning the creation of the Saskatchewan Health Care Recruitment Agency.

“This is just another layer of bureaucratic smoke and mirrors. The government is under pressure to do something – but instead of implementing actual programs they created this Crown corporation,” said Bashir Jalloh, President of CUPE 5430. “The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) already has resources and a robust out-of-scope workforce, some of whom are dedicated to workforce planning and human resources. They are funded by and directed by the Ministry of Health. Why do they need another structure to do the job of recruitment and retention?”

This entity is “new”, but the people assigned as Chair and Vice-Chair are Tracey Smith, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Health and Andrew Will, CEO of the SHA. This does not seem independent of the parties that should be charged with recruiting and retaining health care workers.

Continue reading

Henley: Moe bucks won’t address Saskatchewan’s affordability crisis

The following statement by Judy Henley, President of CUPE Saskatchewan, was released in response to the announcement by the provincial government.

Scott Moe’s attempt to buy votes ahead of the Meewasin byelection is a cynical move by a government desperate to distract from the many scandals and controversies this government is facing. This thinly veiled attempt to distract voters from this government’s failures will not work.

CUPE is also questioning how the money is being distributed, with high and low-income adults receiving the same amount, and no additional funds for adults with dependents.

The estimated $450 million could be allocated in a more equitable fashion. Not everyone needs a rebate. This money could have been targeted for the people who need it most: families with children, seniors on a fixed income and workers that are struggling to get by on the lowest minimum wage in Canada.

Furthermore, our public services are the greatest equalizers we have. This government should be investing in education, childcare, senior’s care, and reducing utility costs. Finally, they should be supporting real cost of living wage increases for all workers.

Continue reading

CUPE 5430 demands more transparency around health disruptions: $9,500 for a Freedom of Information request is unacceptable

Communities across Saskatchewan are facing health care service disruptions, Emergency Room shutdowns, bed closures and an exodus of health care staff.

“Information around closures and service disruptions should be available to the public and tracked. The government is not providing this information and wants to charge us almost $10,000 to process a Freedom of Information (FOI) request. This is completely unacceptable,” said Bashir Jalloh, president of CUPE 5430. “Saskatchewan people deserve to know the true state of our health care system without a price tag attached.”

The local submitted a FOI request to both the Ministry of Health and the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) to determine the exact location and date of the health care closures. However, the SHA did not respond by the end of the 30-day deadline, and the Ministry of Health is seeking an exorbitant fee for processing the request.

The SHA website only lists service disruptions if they are longer than seven consecutive days. Shorter term disruptions are posted on facility doors and may be shared through informal networks. Bed closures may not even be publicly announced.

“Health care service disruptions and closures are happening across the province, but this government seems allergic to transparency,” added Jalloh. “We have tried tracking online. We have tried filing a FOI request. Now we are going directly to the public.”

CUPE 5430 is taking matters into their own hands and has launched a public survey to gather the information the government is not providing. The survey will be open until mid-August.

Anyone who is concerned with access to health care is encouraged to fill out the online survey here. 

Continue reading

Shipping surgical patients out of province is unacceptable, says CUPE 5430

In a recent media release, the Sask. Party government announced it was moving forward with surgical privatization, including contracting out surgeries to for-profit providers, and shipping patients out of province for surgery in private clinics.

“Sixty years ago, the people of Saskatchewan came together to create universal Medicare. It is disappointing that our current government seems to be doing everything in its power to move the clock backwards and privatize our health care system,” said Bashir Jalloh, president of CUPE 5430.

“Contracting out surgeries is not a magic wand for wait times. In fact, there is little evidence to show that contracting out will result in shorter wait times. We point to Saskatchewan’s own MRI wait lists which have increased since the government implemented a two-tier system. Even in the case of private surgeries, these patients end up coming back to the public system for follow up. Home care and therapies are just a couple of programs that are also experiencing backlogs,” added Jalloh.

Continue reading

Education funding announcement welcome, but it won’t distract from the Sask. Party government record

The Minister of Education announced a one-time $20 million funding increase to school divisions to help cover the rising cost of inflation.

“We appreciate the government walking back their insistence that schools don’t experience inflation. This one-time funding increase will help cover some of the inflationary increases, but what is really needed is a permanent funding increase,” said Rob Westfield, chair of CUPE Saskatchewan’s Education Workers’ Steering Committee. “These temporary funds won’t hire back the permanent staff that were laid off. It is just a drop in the bucket of this government’s continued underfunding of education.”

School divisions across the province have already announced cuts, layoffs, and introduced new parent fees. Many school divisions have been vocal in their call for a permanent funding increase.

“School divisions need predictable and sustainable funding to provide quality education for all students. As it stands, school divisions will face similar shortfalls next year,” added Westfield.

The funding announcement comes on the heels of a tough week for the Sask. Party government, who have come under fire for their questionable use of private planes to travel across the province.

Continue reading

CUPE Local 5430 joins Kamsack community to call for immediate steps to stop bed closures at the Kamsack Hospital

CUPE health care workers joined the Kamsack community calling for immediate steps to stop bed closures at the Kamsack Hospital. As of July 13, 2022, all acute care beds at the Kamsack Hospital have been shut down, and the Emergency Room will only operate from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. until August 31.

“Our health care system is fraying. Communities across Saskatchewan no longer have access to reliable health care services, and the provincial government is doing nothing to address the growing concerns,” said Bashir Jalloh, president of CUPE Local 5430. “The lack of respect from this government is impacting morale, and patients, residents, and clients are feeling the impact.”

Continue reading

Library Workers’ Membership Survey

Are you a library worker? Have you been impacted by violence and harassment at work in the library? CUPE Saskatchewan has launched a province-wide survey of library workers to gauge the extent of violence and harassment in the workplace and on the job. The online union survey takes only 5 – 10 minutes to complete, and responses are kept confidential and anonymous.

CUPE member library workers are asked to complete the survey by September 2, 2022.

Continue reading

National Indigenous Peoples Day 2022: Action for truth, reconciliation and justice

National Indigenous Peoples’ Day on June 21 is an annual opportunity to honour and celebrate the diverse cultures, linguistic diversity, history and contributions of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. It is also a time to reflect on the ongoing harms of colonialism and the need for greater action for truth, reconciliation and justice. As Saskatchewan’s largest union and Canada’s largest union, CUPE stands in solidarity with Indigenous nations, communities and organizations and is committed to continuing to work towards reconciliation, justice and to respect our ongoing treaty relationships.

Continue reading

CUPE welcomes new members at Brightwater Senior Living of Capital Crossing

Over 175 workers at Brightwater Senior Living of Capital Crossing in Regina are the latest members to join the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

Brightwater Senior Living of Capital Crossing is a retirement community offering housing with healthcare services. Staff members include charge nurses, medication assistants, housekeepers, receptionists, engagement specialists, kitchen staff, and resident assistants.

The newest members of CUPE voted to join the union in a mail-in ballot that was counted on June 2, 2022. The Labour Relations Board issued the certification order on June 14, 2022.

Continue reading

CUPE education workers implore minister to increase funding and stop cuts

School divisions across the province have announced programmatic cuts and layoffs. On June 14, 2022, CUPE education workers met with the Minister of Education to demand an increase in education funding.

“Investing in education is an investment in Saskatchewan’s future. The current provincial funding levels are forcing school divisions to make cuts,” said Rob Westfield, chair of CUPE Saskatchewan’s Education Workers’ Steering Committee. “Our kids deserve better. We implore the Government of Saskatchewan to take immediate action to increase public education funding so our kids can access the supports they need to succeed in the 2022/23 school year.”

Westfield was joined by education workers from the Greater Saskatoon Catholic School Division, Good Spirit School Division, Chinook School Division, and South East Cornerstone Public School Division.

Continue reading