Trade Unions Accountable to Membership

November 9, 2011

For Immediate Release

Saskatoon – The members of Service Employees International Union – West (SEIU-West) question why Brad Wall and the SaskParty government are targeting trade unions on financial transparency and accountability when they don’t require it from other member-driven organizations. “I’m just angry that he would question our union’s accountability! I expect that accountability from our union and have seen it in action,” said Lisa Zunti, SEIU-West member.

“We understand the value of transparency and accountability. We share our annual budget and projections with our members on a regular basis” said Barbara Cape, President of SEIU-West. “What we want to know is why the working people of Saskatchewan, particularly those in health care, do not have the same right to this kind of disclosure when public monies are being spent by the Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations (SAHO)?”

“Our members endured twenty seven (27) months of collective bargaining – a process which was plagued with an expensive media campaign, compliments of SAHO, including television ads, radio ads, glossy posters, print ads and letters sent to their homes. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were obviously spent,” stated Cape.

“When our members asked us how many dollars were being spent by SAHO, we forwarded a request under The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, seeking an answer to this question. The government advised us that SAHO is a non-profit, non-government association which is membership based and not covered by the Act. However, there was an acknowledgement that the government does indeed provide funding to SAHO.”

Janice Platzke, Treasurer for SEIU-West commented, “Will there be the same reporting requirements for other member-driven organizations such as the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) or the Canadian Taxpayer’s Federation (CTF) or SAHO? Or is Premier Wall simply singling out trade unions based on intolerance?”

As the health care provider members of SEIU-West prepare to go into their next round of negotiations with SAHO, the leadership of SEIU-West is hopeful that things will go much better this time.

“We are hopeful that the SaskParty will not continue to pursue any more regressive labour legislation.  Our members are the backbone of the healthcare system and provide the best quality healthcare possible under some very challenging circumstances. Introducing legislation like this is a waste of time for the Legislative Assembly and distracts from the collective bargaining process. Let’s move on.”

SEIU-West represents approximately 12,000 Health Care providers across Saskatchewan.

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For more information, contact:

Christine Miller, Communications Coordinator – 306.652.1011 ext. 2250

Click on the following link for a printable PDF version of this release: Trade Unions Accountable to Membership

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