Every summer road crews are out across Saskatchewan working hard to build and maintain public infrastructure. These workers are often at risk from motorists who do not obey the rules of the road.
The City of Saskatoon has launched a campaign to highlight the risks drivers pose to work crews throughout the city. The Respect Workzone campaign features interviews with three members of CUPE 859, who represent outside workers with the City of Saskatoon.
CUPE 859 is proud to stand behind these members and the City’s campaign.
“Every day CUPE 859 members work hard to provide valuable public services for the people of Saskatoon. We are pleased to play a role in the Respect Workzone campaign as health and safety is an essential part of our everyday work,” said Mike Stefiuk, President of CUPE 859.
“We remind drivers to please slow down and respect the work we do and the Workzones we do it in. One injury in the workplace is one too many and we all play a role in keeping everyone safe.”
Chronic understaffing and increasing workload are two of the most pressing issues in health care. CUPE 5430 member and Region 1 facility representative Sid Hall has seen the impact of both issues on patient care and health care workers first hand.
Hall is a Continuing Care Aid at River Heights Lodge in Battleford, and a Battlefords Area Representative for the union. He represents both River Heights Lodge and the Battlefords District Care Centre.
Hall consistently observed that staff had challenges meeting the many needs of residents in a timely manner. There just wasn’t enough time or enough people to provide the quality of care residents deserve.
REGINA: CUPE Local 5430 is concerned that the province wide review of health care security services will open the doorway to privatization of security and other services.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) is conducting a province-wide review of security services, using an external consultant named Tony Weeks. Weeks conducted a similar review in Alberta in 2010 and recommended a centralized, mostly-privatized security service, which was implemented in that province.
“We are extremely concerned that the goal of this review is to privatize health care security services,” said Sandra Seitz, president of CUPE Local 5430.
Legal Aid Saskatchewan provides legal services for the most vulnerable people in the province. The 150 CUPE members in CUPE Local 1949, representing legal aid lawyers and administrative staff, are fighting to preserve the organization from contracting out and threats of privatization.
Learn more and contact the Minister of Justice to express concerns.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Contact Minister of Justice Don Morgan to express concerns that Legal Aid Saskatchewan is being systemically undermined.
(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.