Media Release: The Voices of Many on International Working Class Day

For Immediate Release – May 1, 2013

Regina – SEIU-West members delivered over 3000 signed letters from working people across the province to Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety, Don Morgan, today at the Legislature in Regina. People who signed these letters are asking the government to listen to the voices of working people and do all that they can to fix the many problems with Bill 85, The Saskatchewan Employment Act (SEA).

“We are receiving more signed letters daily,” said Janice Platzke, Treasurer of SEIU-West. “And these letters have not been signed solely by members of SEIU-West; rather there is a wide cross section of people represented within these many pages. We have letters from young people who are about to enter the workforce, and retirees who enjoyed good working conditions and just want the same for their children and grandchildren.”

Members of SEIU-West have been calling on the government to slow down their implementation plan on new labour legislation since the consultation process began in May of 2012 with a short 90 day window to review fifteen labour-related Acts.

“More consultation efforts have been afforded to other pieces of legislation, where the impact is a smaller portion of the population than this Bill, which affects every single working person and workplace in the province,” added Platzke. “The people of the province should be asking themselves, why is this government pushing this Legislation through so fast? If it’s such a great idea, why has there been no fanfare?”

Bill 85, as written, confuses the concept of an 8 hour day and does not guarantee 2 consecutive days off (a weekend) in the labour standards section, and will allow the government to force ratification votes of last offers upon our membership.  This coupled with the essential services law creates an overwhelming obstacle to achieve a fair collective agreement in the public sector.

“As we’ve been saying in our SEA campaign, this piece of legislation is like an iceberg, it may seem harmless but what lies beneath?” said Karen Trafford, SEIU-West member. “We have identified ten issues that are problematic, but the Red Flags are everywhere. We are just asking to slow walk this process and have meaningful consultation with the working class and it is no accident that we selected this date to demonstrate the weight of concern within our membership.”

SEIU-West represents more than thirteen 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. Visit www.seiuwest.ca for more information.

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For more information, contact:

Christine Miller, Communications Coordinator

Phone: 306.652.1011 ext. 2250

For a Printable PDF of this Media Release, click on the link below:

Media Release: The Voices of Many on International Working Class Day

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