Media Release: Healthcare Providers Question Priorities of Government

For Immediate Release – May 3, 2012

Saskatoon – Members and leaders of SEIU-West learned the specifics of the Sask Party government’s plan to renew labour legislation in Saskatchewan yesterday, May 2, 2012. Initial feedback was not positive.

“Though we are encouraged that this government is now engaging in consultation, we believe that The Public Service Essential Services Act appeal and revision should take priority over adjusting any other labour legislation,” said Barbara Cape, President of SEIU-West. “We remain committed to work with the Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety and the Regional Health Authorities, as a member of the coalition of all health care unions, with a singular purpose to design an essential services law that will protect the health and safety of the public together with our collective bargaining rights. We have been clear that we want to work together”.

The Provincial government plans on consulting with all stakeholders regarding future amendments including a potential overhaul of fifteen pieces of legislation. They framed specific questions to obtain feedback and set a deadline of July 31, 2012 for submissions.

“We do not believe that three months is enough time to engage in meaningful consultation, or to make thoughtful changes to legislation, particularly when you look at the fifteen different Acts referenced in their Consultation Paper with the broad spectrum that touches everything from health and safety to labour relations to health regions and the police,” continued Cape. “This is a sweeping review that requires considerable investment of time and research to match the value that we place upon it. Our members have expressed an urgent interest that we remain focused on establishing a fair process of reaching essential services agreements, as we return to the collective bargaining table. We have communicated that interest to the Minister. We do not want to end up with the same debacle created with the Essential Services legislation by rushing through these potentially massive legislative changes”.

Janice Platzke, Treasurer of SEIU-West adds, “Clearly, our members see the announcement as a further distraction as we prepare to enter into bargaining. Our focus has always been the health and safety of our clients, patients, and residents, which includes a stable work environment for our membership. At this point, the process laid before us seems to indicate that the government is far more interested in tackling other projects as opposed to fixing the essential services legislation that should be a priority in Saskatchewan”.

SEIU-West represents approximately twelve thousand working people in the province of Saskatchewan. They include members who work in healthcare, education, municipalities, community-based organizations, retirement homes and other sectors.

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For more information, contact:

Christine Miller, Communications Coordinator

Phone: 306.652.1011 ext. 2250

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Media Release: Healthcare Providers Question Priorities of Government

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