Two addictions staff from Pine Lodge Treatment Centre, both members of CUPE Local 4670, appeared before the Resort Village of Fort San council in support of the treatment centre and to share their experiences of working at “a place of hope and courage.”
CUPE Local 4670 has already provided council with a written submission that addressed the concerns of some local residents with the possible relocation of Pine Lodge from Indian Head into their community. Pine Lodge has been without a home since December 24, 2020 when a fire severely damaged their facility. CUPE’s submission included a detailed explanation of the recovery process that clients face while at Pine Lodge, a program that has been recognized as one of the finest in-patient addiction’s treatment centres in western Canada.
This International Women’s Day, and every day, let’s #ChooseToChallenge gender inequality in our fight to do more to support women and gender diverse individuals during this pandemic and afterwards.
No recovery can be complete without paid sick days for every worker, universally accessible and affordable child care, and wage increases for the many unsung heroes on the frontlines of the pandemic in jobs that care for our seniors, our children, and our most vulnerable – most of these jobs are performed by women and have been underpaid for far too long.
The union representing workers at Pine Lodge Treatment Centre are raising concerns that the delay in relocating the facility from Indian Head to Fort San is putting lives at risk.
Pine Lodge Treatment Centre was located in the community of Indian Head for more than 30 years until a fire last December forced its closure. Although the facility was able to make plans to relocate to the Village of Fort San, the local Mayor and council have decided to delay approval.
Front line CUPE education support workers have been left out of the government’s latest announcement regarding plans to add additional health workers to phase one and two of the vaccine rollout.
“We are glad that the Saskatchewan government has added these essential health workers to the early vaccine list, but we don’t understand why education workers have once again been ignored,” said Rob Westfield, an education support worker and chair of CUPE Saskatchewan’s Education Workers’ Steering Committee. “Students will always be our priority, and we are dedicated to helping them get the education that will allow them to be successful in life. That’s why we want to be at work, but we just want to be safe.”
There are several reasons why education workers are concerned for their safety. Casual education workers were never given a bubble of schools to work in, and as a result, a regular work schedule could mean working in up to 40 schools in a month. Education workers have also been left out of the communication and contact tracing process. Over the past several months, there are a number of incidents where educational assistants were not notified that a student they were in contact with tested positive because public health did not consider them a close contact.
As the COVID-19 pandemic surges and our front-line heroes are under ever-greater pressure, the provincial government has ended the Saskatchewan Temporary Wage Supplement Program.
Now is the time for the Government of Saskatchewan to step up with more provincial funding and expand the wage top-up program for all front-line workers.
You can help: Add your voice by sending a message!
Visit this link to send a letter to your MLA and the Ministers of Finance and Social Services: www.sk.cupe.ca/wage-topup
CUPE Saskatchewan extends its condolences to the families and communities mourning the loss of Indigenous community leaders and Elders.
The following is a statement by CUPE Saskatchewan’s Indigenous Council.
As the new reality of the world has settled in, and we all have tried our best to come to terms with the challenges we all face, one of the most important things from which we all can gather strength is the teachings and leadership of our Elders and leaders.
Tragically, the past few months have been marked with the incredible loss of so many of our leaders and Elders in a very short amount of time. Sadly, due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, we as Indigenous people have had to try our very best to adapt and provide the very important spiritual, cultural and traditional ceremonies we have when it comes to the loss of loved ones. While we have been able to provide some of the traditional teachings and protocols to the families, there are many which can never be properly replicated via technology, such as a comforting hug, the holding of one’s hand, shoulders to cry on, and the most important one, the shared, in-person acknowledgement and mourning of a community’s loss.
During Teacher and Education Staff Appreciation Week in Saskatchewan, February 7 to 13, let’s recognize the vital contributions of all the unsung heroes among our many education support workers across the province that keep our schools and school bus transportation safe, and support students with in-class and remote learning, during this challenging coronavirus pandemic.
Throughout these most difficult of times, education support workers have shown their tireless dedication to student learning and wellbeing. Education support workers have been instrumental in keeping our schools and student transportation safe, while also facing increased risk of exposure and illness performing their jobs.
Take a moment to say thank you by sharing this message.
February is Black History Month, dedicated to recognizing, honouring, and celebrating the contributions of Black Canadians and the cultural diversity of our communities and our union, including many sisters, brothers, and friends of Caribbean and African heritage.
This year’s theme, The Future is Now, is a call to action for us all to build on the legacy of those who came before us, and to recognize the transformative work that Black Canadians and communities are doing now. It reminds us to continue our efforts as fellow union members to speak up against racism in our workplaces, online, and in our home communities. During Black History Month, we reflect on the hurtful history of Black enslavement and discrimination, we honour the resiliency and activism of Black leaders, and we acknowledge that much more must be done to challenge ongoing, systemic barriers to equality.
Judy Henley, President of CUPE Saskatchewan
Regina’s City Council will vote next week on a motion to amend a policy to expand restrictions on sponsorship or advertising on city property to include any group whose business is principally derived from the sale or production of fossil fuels. But it is Premier Scott Moe’s own advertisement of hostility and threats that are most detrimental to our democracy, according to CUPE Saskatchewan.
While the motion is certainly up for debate among elected councillors and the residents they represent, the Premier has decided to wade in with hostility and threats of funding interference from Crown Corporation sources, should council vote in favour of the motion and against the Premier’s wishes.
“The Premier’s threats on display in his statement are a troublesome red flag for our democracy at the community and provincial level,” said Judy Henley, President of CUPE Saskatchewan, in response to Premier Scott Moe’s statement of January 20, 2021. “Elected councillors should not have to face threats and bullying from the Premier over municipal decisions, and they should not be deterred from debating issues of importance to city residents.”
As the pandemic surges and hospital capacity is stretched to its limit, the Saskatchewan Temporary Wage Supplement Program is coming to an abrupt end. According to CUPE Saskatchewan, the government should extend the time period and include more front-line workers in the program.
“It is ridiculous that the second phase of the wage top-up program ends today, even though COVID-19 case numbers continue to rise and workers providing critical care face increased workload and strain,” said Judy Henley, president of CUPE Saskatchewan. “It is even more ridiculous how many workers are being forgotten about by this government in general.”