Political Action Summit sparks conversations in Saskatchewan

CUPE Saskatchewan holds virtual Political Action Summit. 

Political commentator and Canadian icon Chantal Hébert kicked off CUPE Saskatchewan’s Political Action Summit with a riveting keynote speech on the shifting landscape of Canadian politics.

Over 100 participants joined in to listen to Hébert speak on a range of issues, including the trucker convoy and growth of far-right extremism in Saskatchewan and Canada.

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CUPE condemns Sask. Party government decision to end COVID-19 contact tracing in schools

Saskatchewan education support workers are extremely concerned that government direction to end contact tracing in schools increases COVID risks for students and staff.

“Moe has stripped away the paltry protections that were in place in our schools. It is completely unacceptable and shows this government’s total lack of regard for students and staff,” said Rob Westfield, chair of CUPE Saskatchewan’s Education Workers Steering Committee and a facility operator with Saskatoon Public Schools. “Many of our members work in close physical proximity with students – providing hands on support and guidance for students with complex needs. The mental toll of not knowing if you have been exposed to COVID is immeasurable. We all have loved ones who are at higher risk – whether it is small children who are not yet vaccinated, seniors or immunocompromised. We are drowning, and the government is leaving us adrift.”

According to the latest announcement by the Government of Saskatchewan, parents and caregivers are no longer required to notify schools about positive test results for the purposes of close contact notification.

“Given the current record-high infection rates during this Omicron variant wave of COVID-19 and high numbers of people in hospital, it is reckless for the Sask. Party government to relax safety measures in schools,” said Judy Henley, president of CUPE Saskatchewan. Our members in the education, health care and childcare sectors are exhausted and overwhelmed trying to protect our community and deliver public services,” said Henley. “The Sask. Party government continues its recklessness by relaxing measures at a time when frontline workers are calling for stronger measures to protect vital services.”

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Saskatchewan’s frontline workers call on government to protect vital services

On Thursday, January 20, 2022, CUPE Saskatchewan joined with other public sector unions representing more than 113,000 Saskatchewan workers to collectively call on the Government of Saskatchewan and Premier Scott Moe to immediately mandate the recommendations of the province’s Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab.

“Everyday, frontline workers are putting themselves at risk for all of us and this government is failing to protect them. The stress and uncertainty are impacting hundreds of workers in our schools, hospitals, long-term care facilities, childcare centres, and group homes and addiction treatment centers,” said CUPE Saskatchewan President Judy Henley. “My message to Premier Moe is respect frontline workers and do better.”

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Sask. Party refusal to delay school start is putting students and staff at risk

Education support workers are asking the provincial government to take immediate steps to stop the spread of the newest wave of COVID-19, including pausing in-class learning.

“Jurisdictions across Canada have paused in class learning as the next wave of the pandemic hits. Here in Saskatchewan universities have delayed the start of the winter term, but students and staff in the K-12 education sector are back in full force with no additional safety measures,” said Rob Westfield, an education support worker and chairperson of the CUPE Saskatchewan Education Workers’ Steering Committee. “We know there has been classroom transmission of COVID-19 – now you are putting children in crowded classrooms while an even more contagious variant of the virus sweeps across our province. It is unacceptable. We have already lost too many people to this government’s inaction.”

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Season’s greetings from the frontline of Saskatchewan’s public services

Before and since the pandemic first hit, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in Saskatchewan have been on the frontline and behind the scenes caring for you in health care, long-term care and home care – and delivering the many public services we all rely on to keep our communities safe, healthy and strong. As we face yet another wave with the Omicron variant of COVID-19, we know many challenges are yet to come in keeping our communities safe and to prevent further loss of life. We also know just how vital our public services and the workers who deliver them are in the fight against the coronavirus.

Click to read the full year-end message from CUPE Saskatchewan.

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CUPE Saskatchewan brings prairie solidarity to Local 1630 picket line in Minnedosa, Manitoba

Judy Henley, CUPE Saskatchewan President, and Kent Peterson, CUPE Saskatchewan Secretary-Treasurer, joined striking frontline custodians and cleaners on the picket line outside the Rolling River School Division School Board (RRSD) office in Minnedosa, Manitoba, on Thursday for a rally of support in their fight for a fair contract – together with CUPE National President Mark Hancock, Canadian Labour Congress President Bea Bruske, CUPE Manitoba President Gina McKay, and many more labour leaders and area students.

“CUPE Local 1630 can count on your CUPE Saskatchewan neighbours to be with you in solidarity as you fight for a fair contract and respect.”

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International Human Rights Day: Reducing inequalities, advancing human rights

Seventy-three years ago today, on December 10, 1948, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to recognize the inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family around the world. The declaration serves as a foundation for freedom, justice and peace, yet the pandemic has highlighted the devastating impacts of the failure to protect human rights and deep-rooted inequalities.

This year’s United Nations theme for the recognition of this day is: “Equality – Reducing inequalities, advancing human rights”, relating to Article 1 of the declaration which states: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. The theme highlights the principles of equality, inclusion and non-discrimination that must be at the heart of pandemic recovery and the UN approach to sustainable development.

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CUPE Local 5430: Private surgeries not a solution to wait time backlog

Throughout the pandemic, the Moe government has shown its reluctance to listen to medical experts to enact public health measures in a timely way. This mishandling has directly contributed to today’s current backlog of surgeries. CUPE Local 5430 is concerned about the backlog for surgical procedures and diagnostic services, but improvements can and must be made within our public and universal health care system.

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December 6, 2021: National Day of Remembrance and Action to End Violence Against Women

December 6 is the 32nd anniversary of the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre. We pause to remember all those who have lost their lives because of gender-based violence. CUPE Saskatchewan joins in renewing our resolve to stop sexual and gender-based violence in the workplace and in our communities.

Join the outdoor candlelight vigil at 5:00 p.m. in front of City Hall in Regina on December 6, 2021 (bring a mask and dress warmly). Facebook event link: https://fb.me/e/12y5t3CLo

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CUPE Local 5430 demands action on short staffing

Front line health care workers from CUPE Local 5430 attended Thursday’s session of the Legislature to call attention to the chronic staffing issues in Saskatchewan’s health care system.

“Short staffing was an issue before COVID-19, but the pandemic has made the situation much worse for health care workers,” said Bashir Jalloh, president of CUPE Local 5430 and a Nuclear Medicine Technician at the Pasqua Hospital. “Staffing shortages have an impact on patients and residents. We have seen a shortage of cooks result in weeks of soup and sandwiches for long-term care residents. We have seen patients in Prince Albert denied home care – even though they qualify and are facing medical needs.”

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