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Bargaining Bulletin No. 4: Southeast Cornerstone Public School Division
Greetings Sisters and Brothers,
Members of your Bargaining Team met with the Employer’s representatives on January 11 and 12, 2017 to begin negotiations towards a revised collective agreement.
At the outset of bargaining, the Employer made it clear that given the direction of the Provincial Government, they are in a cash-strapped situation and must curtail costs where possible. To this point they have decided to operate at a sizeable deficit. They have also made the decision to not allow the deficit, at this time, to negatively impact any current positions or benefits. To demonstrate this intent, the Employer tabled an extremely thin proposal package that did not contain any concessions.
Hearing of the Employer’s current financial situation, your bargaining team took a sober second look at our proposals and pared them back considerably. We removed almost everything that would incur a substantive cost increase. Ultimately we presented the Employer with a package that included several improvements to the language provisions of the collective agreement as a two-year agreement with a modest wage increase in the second year. We presented this revised document as a complete package designed to bring a swift conclusion to this round of negotiations.
The Employer sounded appreciative of our efforts and committed to take the Union’s proposal back and discuss it with the Board. Unfortunately, we are now hearing that the Provincial Government is providing intrusive direction to the School Divisions which will likely prevent the Employer from accepting our package.
Given this serious situation, your Bargaining Team must seek your input and direction. We are scheduling membership meetings as follows:
- Estevan: January 31 – 7:00pm at Legion Hall, 1317 – 4th Street
- Weyburn: February 2 – 7:00pm at Legion Hall, 150 – 3rd Street
All members are strongly encouraged to make the effort to attend one of these meetings as we will be discussing the potential impacts of the Government’s plans regarding Transformational Change in the Education Sector as we understand them. At this time, we believe their plans have serious negative implications on both your Union representation and your ongoing employment security.
You should be aware that we have now finalized and signed the Letter of Understanding bringing the Casual employees into the scope of the Collective Agreement. The Casuals became members of SEIU-West at the beginning of the 2016-2017 Academic Year. We then had to determine how they would be handled under the provisions of the collective agreement (e.g. seniority, call-in, leave of absence, etc.). A copy will be made available on request. We will also post a copy of it on our website www.seiuwest.ca.
As always, we will keep you advised as bargaining proceeds. Bargaining Bulletins, such as this one, along with membership meetings, email and text blasts (text the word SEIU to the number 52267 and follow the prompts – standard messaging rates apply) are important avenues of communication. We strongly encourage all our members to keep an eye out for any bulletins posted electronically or in your workplace by SEIU-West.
If you have any questions or concerns about negotiations, feel free to discuss them with any of the members of the Bargaining Team. Your Bargaining Team thanks you for your support and understanding.
Your participation in your Union makes your Union strong.
SEIU-West/South East Cornerstone Bargaining Team
Patti Langedahl (Unit Chair) * Bonita Brenner * Kerrie Boyd * Maureen Jackiw * Armond Hauglum * Rob Schultz
Staff: Rebecca Kram (Union Representative) * Kerry Barrett (Negotiations Officer)