(Prince Albert) Workers from Prince Albert’s Legal Aid Clinic, represented by CUPE Local 1949, met July 11, 2018 to discuss restructuring and privatization at Legal Aid and the impact changes will have on clients.
It was recently announced that Legal Aid would contract out most duty council and lay off six people in the Saskatoon Office. There is concern that more changes are coming which will impact the area offices, including the Prince Albert Office.
“Legal Aid Saskatchewan has been chronically underfunded, and staff have suffered from extreme, escalating workload issues in recent years,” said Deb Hopkins, Vice President of Local 1949. “Many of our clients are among the most marginalized and vulnerable people in society, and our staff are dedicated to serving their needs.”
(Humboldt) The Horizon School Division is cutting days for ten-month term education support staff for the 2018-2019 school year.
Education assistants, librarians, secretaries, occupational therapists, student counsellors, and outreach workers all lost between 4 and 13 working days. The Division also cut the only two speech pathologist assistant positions.
“With the provincial budget cuts to education and a mandate on wage restraint for public servants, our school division fell short of the commitment they made to their employees to honor the wage negotiated during our last round of bargaining. The reduction in days is a result,” said Marie Moore, President of CUPE Local 4799. “The cut in days will mean less time for education assistants to prepare for students and work with teachers on individualized learning plans for unique student needs. Outreach workers, counsellors, and occupational therapists will have less time to gather resources to put programs and services in place for students before the school year starts.”
CUPE Local 4784, representing 270 education support staff in Good Spirit School Division, voted to ratify a new three-year contract on Wednesday evening. The agreement includes:
- a signing bonus of a maximum of $360 dollars ($30/month) for members who have worked 75% of the available hours for 2017/2018 (this works out to 1.15% of payroll);
- a 1.5% wage increase for 2018/2019; and
- a 1.75% increase for 2019/2020.
The Union also achieved parity with the GSTA (Good Spirit Teachers Association) LINC agreement for extra-curricular and noon hour supervision.
Last week, CUPE Local 1949, representing approximately 155 Legal Aid lawyers and administrative support staff across Saskatchewan, was informed that the Saskatoon Duty Counsel work was going to be contracted out.
Yesterday, the Union learned that as a result of three lawyer positions being contracted out to the private bar, two Legal Assistants and 1.5 Administrative Assistants would be laid off. In addition, the Union was informed that two Eligibility Officer positions were being eliminated in Saskatoon and redeployed to Regina.
There was no meaningful consultation with the staff who do the Duty Counsel work prior to these decisions nor were there discussions with the private bar.
“The Union is very concerned about the negative impact this will have on our clients,” says local president Wanda Towstego. “Many of our clients are among the most marginalized and vulnerable people in society, and our staff are dedicated to serving their needs.”
Photo credit: Prince Albert Fire Department
CUPE Saskatchewan joins the Prince Albert Fire Department in commending the rapid actions of CUPE member and school bus driver Mark Jenkins, who ensured the safe evacuation of 16 students from their bus before it was engulfed in flames on June 15. Jenkins is a member of CUPE Local 4195 representing education support workers in the Saskatchewan Rivers Public School Division.
“We salute Brother Jenkins on his dedication to ensuring the safety of these kids,” says CUPE Saskatchewan President Tom Graham. For more information on the incident, see the article published in the Saskatoon StarPhoenix and Regina Leader-Post.
Ile-a la-Crosse School Division has decided to sell off its fleet of school buses and contract out bus services to a private bus operator.
“The evidence from other school divisions shows that contracting-out is more expensive and is less accountable to the community,” said Tony Head, CUPE servicing representative for Local 4607. “Once the school division sells its buses, it has no control over price increases.”
A study by the Saskatchewan School Trustees Association reviewed bus transportation costs in the province and found that contracted services were about 18% higher than the cost of board-owned buses. Recently, the Chinook School Division in southwest Saskatchewan announced it was purchasing 22 buses from Rilling Bus this June and taking over bus operation in the city of Swift Current.
The local is also concerned about the six members who will be laid off.
Members of CUPE 4797 have ratified a new collective agreement with the Northwest School Division. The deal was signed by both the Board of Education and the Local’s bargaining committee on June 15, 2018.
National Aboriginal Day, also known as National Indigenous Peoples Day, on June 21 is an annual opportunity to honour and celebrate the diverse cultures of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples.
Indigenous peoples will be celebrating in their communities, and graciously sharing their ceremonies, customs, and heritage with others across the country. It is a day we can all stand in solidarity with Indigenous peoples striving to protect and strengthen their cultures, languages, and way of life.
There are public events across Saskatchewan to attend, several of which CUPE is helping organize:
- Weyburn: Join CUPE Local 5430 Region 4 at Jubliee Park (583 13 Street) from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm for cultural activities, Aboriginal dancers, a free barbeque lunch, and displays.
- Prince Albert: Join CUPE Local 5430 Region 2 and the Prince Albert Indian Metis Friendship Centre for an all-day celebration at Kinsmen Park. This event includes a barbeque, entertainment, tradition ceremonies, and displays.
- Regina: Join in the celebrations from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Victoria Park in downtown Regina.
Tom Graham, President, CUPE Saskatchewan
CUPE Saskatchewan questions the health care security review underway by an external consultant with a history of job cuts and contracting-out of public sector jobs to private firms.
On April 18th the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) issued a memo announcing a province-wide review of security services, using an external consultant named Tony Weeks. In announcing the review, Saskatchewan Health Authority vice-president Andrew Will told media, “Definitely we’re seeing more events where staff and/or patient safety is jeopardized.”
“There are thousands of front-line health care workers in Saskatchewan who can attest that incidents of violence in health care facilities are on the increase,” says CUPE Saskatchewan President Tom Graham.
Statistics also bear this out. Last August, the former Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region reported that “acts of violence increased from 2015/2016 to 2016/2017 by 254 incidents.”
Death threats have become routine and are experienced not only by security personnel but by nurses, continuing care aides, and other health care workers. “No one should have to endure threats on their life for going to work in health care,” says Graham.
“Everyone can agree with Saskatchewan Health Authority vice-president Andrew Will that increased violence in health facilities is a serious matter. However, safety concerns in some health facilities have been downplayed by management in recent years. This begs the question of why this security review is taking place only now, as part a top-down restructuring process that is driven by cost savings rather than public health,” says Graham.
Registration is now open for the Back to Batoche Canoe Trip 2018. During this annual voyage, participants navigate the waters of the South Saskatchewan River by canoe beginning at Clarkboro Ferry Crossing (formerly Warman Ferry Crossing) and arriving at the historic Métis community of Batoche—learning Aboriginal culture, history and traditions along the way. The CUPE Saskatchewan canoe trip coincides with the Back to Batoche celebrations of the Métis Nation in Saskatchewan.
After the canoe trip, participants are encouraged to attend the Back to Batoche festivities. Spaces are limited! Register today! Please provide your email address with registration.
View and download: