The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on how important well funded, public, long-term care is for residents and their families. Today we are featuring the hard-working members of CUPE Local 5430 who are the backbone of our long-term care system.
Long-term care homes have been at the forefront of COVID-19 outbreaks in other provinces and account for the majority of deaths attributed to the virus. Seniors are the most at risk from the virus, and long-term care homes across the province have been locked down to visitors and volunteers.
“Everyday, CUPE Local 5430 members are caring for your aging family members. During the best of times, long-term care is understaffed and under resourced,” said Sandra Seitz, president of CUPE Local 5430. “COVID-19 has created a stressful situation for health care workers, and their families. Our members are going above and beyond to provide hands on care to our most vulnerable citizens.”
CUPE Local 5430 is the largest health care union in Saskatchewan, representing over 13,600 members, many of whom work in long-term care.
CUPE Saskatchewan is concerned that the Re-open Saskatchewan Plan does not provide enough clarity when it comes to front-line workers.
“This plan was clearly designed with business interest in mind, and it does not address the concerns facing working families,” said Judy Henley, president of CUPE Saskatchewan. “There is no solution for parents who require childcare to return to work, no solution for workers who have exhausted their sick leave benefits, and there is no solution for protecting front-line workers.”
Provincial and international shortages of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be a major hurdle in ensuring the province can re-open safely, said Henley.
Public sector workers are the backbone of our communities. CUPE Saskatchewan wants to shed a light on the hard work our members are doing during the COVID-19 pandemic. If your local has a story they would like to feature, please contact your national staff representative.
Today we are highlighting the members of CUPE Local 8443, who are education support workers with the Saskatoon Public School Division.
After weeks of pressure from CUPE and other health care unions, the Government of Saskatchewan has finally announced a continuous masking policy for health care providers, and a transition to single site employment for workers in acute and long-term care. This move puts in place protections for the at most risk demographic: long-term care residents.
“Long-term care homes have been at the centre of major COVID-19 outbreaks in other provinces and account for the majority of deaths attributed to the virus,” said Sandra Seitz, president of CUPE Local 5430. “Halting multi-site work will help stop the spread of COVID-19 by limiting movement between seniors’ care facilities.”
COVID-19 has put a spotlight on some of the most serious issues in health care: underfunding and short staffing.
Public sector workers are the backbone of our communities. CUPE Saskatchewan wants to shed a light on the hard work our members are doing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today we are highlighting the members of CUPE Local 47, the local representing 130 workers at Saskatoon’s meter shop, water and wastewater treatment plants as well as environmental protection officers.
“Our members in the CBO sector provide vital services to some of the most vulnerable people in our society. During the COVID-19 pandemic, our members are still working on the frontlines, putting themselves at risk to provide these services to Saskatchewan residents who need them,” said Bob Bymoen, SGEU President. “We need to recognize these workers for their dedication and ensure they have access to proper personal protective equipment (PPE).”
CBOs are non-profit agencies that fill in the gaps when direct government programs don’t meet the needs of Saskatchewan people. They provide services in areas such as addictions counselling, group homes, women’s shelters, daycares and mobile crisis agencies.
CUPE Local 4797 is welcoming new members into its ranks after a successful organizing drive in the Northwest School Division.
CUPE’s organizing drive, which started in November, has added 43 workers in numerous classifications at the Turtleford Community School and wellness coordinators across the school division to the CUPE Local 4797 bargaining unit.
“In these uncertain times, it is more important than ever that workers have a voice in the workplace,” said Tony Head, CUPE National Organizer. “By joining CUPE, our new members will benefit greatly from being part of Canada’s largest union with job security, enhanced benefits, and many other collective agreement rights.”
According to CUPE Saskatchewan’s Education Workers’ Steering Committee, the patchwork approach to staffing that Saskatchewan’s school divisions are taking is putting support staff at risk from COVID-19.
“As of Monday, March 30th, there will be more than 200 different scenarios on how education support staff will be reporting for work. Some are being allowed to work from home, some have to physically report to schools, and in some cases, it is completely up to the discretion of the principal,” said Jackie Christianson, Chair of CUPE Saskatchewan’s Education Workers’ Steering Committee. “It puzzles me as to why some school divisions in our province insist on using their local autonomy to have their education support workers’ physically report to work during a pandemic.”
The Saskatchewan Government’s approach to childcare centres amidst COVID-19 is causing widespread confusion for childcare providers.
“Saskatchewan’s childcare centres are struggling with the impacts of COVID-19 – including declining enrolment, loss of income and uncertainty about potential closures,” said Judy Henley, president of CUPE Saskatchewan. “And there has been no clear direction from this government to childcare centres, and the message they are delivering to our members is different from centre to centre.”
The Sask. Party approach to the COVID-19 pandemic is leaving front-line workers behind, says CUPE Saskatchewan.
The union is concerned the latest hastily announced changes to The Saskatchewan Employment Act’s regulations will only hurt workers during this state of emergency and add to the ongoing financial difficulties facing workers.