Justice Ball released his judgment today in the case of the SFL and Intervenor Unions (SEIU-West, CUPE & SUN) and the Charter challenge as against the provincial government and others (public employers including Regional Health Authorities).
A Victory For All Working People!
Saskatoon – We are pleased to advise that Justice Ball concluded that The Public Service Essential Services Act (‘Essential Services law’) is indeed an infringement upon your freedom of association under the Charter, and in a manner that cannot be justified under section 1 of the Charter. Therefore, the ‘Essential Services law’ is declared to be of no force or effect, with this declaration being suspended for the next 12 month period. This means that the Saskatchewan ‘Essential Services law’ has been found to be unconstitutional.
This decision confirms that government measures which interfere with the ability of workers to associate for the purpose of promoting work related interests is a violation of the guarantee of the freedom of association.
What does this mean for SEIU-West members who will soon be returning to a provincial health care bargaining process? We are hopeful that this decision will instigate the Sask Party Government, the Minister of Health, the Department of Health, the Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations and the Regional Health Authorities to take notice: in the prior set of provincial health provider negotiations, a fair collective agreement was not achieved. The imbalance to these negotiations came as a direct result of the ‘Essential Services law’.
An essential services plan should not provide a HIGHER complement of STAFFING than what is experienced any other day in health care. Essential Services should not effectively eliminate any meaningful collective activities in support of your bargaining effort. It should not undermine the good faith that is a necessary component to collective bargaining.
We wanted to share our good news and we will keep you posted on all future developments!