SEIU-West Uncovers SaskParty Government & Cypress Health Region Scheme to Reduce Capacity and Cut Public Services

Swift Current – Representatives of SEIU-West representing approximately 11,000 health care providers in Saskatchewan held a march on Brad Wall’s constituency office today. SEIU-West members who work in the Cypress Health Region were joined at their march by the organization’s leaders who were holding their regular monthly meeting in the City. The march was intended to share information and increase public awareness, and in particular, to clarify recent public comments made by Health Region representatives that are not reflective of what is actually occurring in community health care facilities.

“Although the Cypress Health Region advertises a budget surplus, many health care positions remain un-staffed resulting in a government-created health care crisis. This Region, which has self-proclaimed as a ‘Provincial Leader in Sick and Overtime Reduction’, has strenuously insisted that sick and injured health care providers must return to work, often when it is unsafe to do so,” said SEIU-West President Barbara Cape. “This comes as a result of a provincial government directive and funding cut of approximately $454,000 in this Region. We strongly suspect that this is a deliberate attempt to increase demands for privatized services. Our experience with the 2010-11 budget in all Regions is that government has manufactured a plan to reduce capacity in an attempt to weaken the public health care system.”

Special Care Aide, Judy Polsfut, added, “The public needs to know that while government is looking into private for-profit options, they are at the same time, cutting funds to the public sector which they like to call efficiency targets. Our experience as workers in this Region, is that the Employer is making all the wrong choices, not only for employees but more importantly for the patients, clients and residents we care for on a day to day basis. It’s like they do not want to retain or recruit health care providers. They have forced shift changes on our members; they consistently impose crushing workloads on our members and understaffing is commonplace. This compromises the quality of health care services that we can deliver.”

SEIU-West Secretary Treasurer, Janice Platzke, is a Swift Current resident who is employed by the Cypress Health Region. She believes upcoming changes to the call-in system will pose a further barrier for health care providers to balance work-family commitments. “The imposed changes to the call-in system come as a direct result of the Sask Party interference with the collective bargaining process through changes to labour legislation. Working in the long term care sector is physically stressful. This Region is making it extremely difficult for workers to provide the high level of care they want to provide. Now, new demands will be placed on workers to make command attendances to their workplace, even if they are ill or tired. How can that possibly attract employees to the sector, and how can that possibly be good for patient care?”

SEIU-West represents approximately eleven thousand health care providers across the province. They include special care aides, licensed practical nurses, diagnostic and therapeutic technologists, food services workers, laundry, housekeeping and activity personnel, maintenance, sterile processing workers, operating room technologists, maintenance personnel, and administrative and clerical staff, among others.



Barb Cape, President SEIU-West – 306-652-1011 |

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