By Barbara Cape – January 29, 2014
In response to Murray Mandryk’s article published on January 28, 2014, I am disappointed that Mr. Mandryk did not consult with anyone from SEIU-West or organized labour to get the factual background on this issue. Why would he not want to hear out both sides of the story?
I’m not sure if his comments were meant to be laudatory or insulting, but his comment that “unions are now fighting on the Wall government’s terms” is really rather offensive to all of us who are doing our best to represent the interests of our members through our internal democratic processes. The sad reality is that working people, whether unionized or not, often feel undervalued and disrespected. Yet as a leader within SEIU-West, I know that we, as an organization, recognize the true worth of our members’ contribution to the public services they deliver.
SEIU-West members have given direction & provided commentary that as a union, we need to reach out to the decision-makers and the policy framers to get the facts from the work floor into their hands.
Facts about healthcare workers working with unsafe staffing levels and being called back to work while recovering from a surgery or an illness.
Facts like Summary Offence Tickets introducing financial penalties to workers who are left to do the work without adequate training or equipment.
Facts like front-line workers in education, healthcare, community-based organizations sector are paid low wages to look after the most vulnerable in our communities (children, the sick, elderly, and those with addictions or mental health issues) without enough support from our provincial government.
That is right, Mr. Mandryk, whether or not we voted for them, they are still our provincial government. Admittedly, we face obstacles in achieving fair resolutions at public sector bargaining tables in this province, but it is not a spectator sport. The practicality is that we must provide information, seek consideration and attempt to exchange in meaningful dialogue with our government in order to have our members’ interests heard.
I’m happy to talk about the challenges being faced within SEIU-West, by our membership or to share my perspectives about labour. Just talk to me first; you really do need to get out of the Legislature Rotunda in order to gain an understanding of what the working people in Saskatchewan are experiencing!
Barbara Cape – SEIU-West President