Sisters and Brothers:
Since our last update your SEIU-West bargaining committee has continued to work to secure a fair resolution to collective bargaining but we have been met with strong resistance from the Employer.
The last offer the Employer made at conciliation was 0% for all the years that the contract has been open (2015 to present) and a $50.00 signing bonus for full time employees, pro-rated for part time and casual employees. They also offered a pay increase of “up to” 2% in 2018 but only if they got new funding to cover it. The Union did not make a counter offer since we cannot respond to a hypothetical offer. There is no clarity on how much an increase would be nor was the employer able to guarantee that there would be an increase; it was dependent on securing increased funding from the Government of Sask.
The Union has since informed the Employer that if they do not return to the bargaining table with a concrete offer to resolve collective bargaining we will have to resort to job action. The employer wrote to the Union to say that any job action would be illegal because, according to them, staff are to be deemed an essential service. The Union wrote to the Employer advising that they don’t meet the definition of a ‘public employer’ covered by essential services legislation. They provide valuable services… but they don’t provide essential services according the legal definition and job action is not illegal.
Because we want to be cautious, SEIU-West gave the Employer time to enforce the claim that they provide essential services. Instead, all they have done is threaten SEIU-West and our members if we take any action. This is against the law.
SEIU-West has, as always, invited Elmwood to return to the bargaining table. They have said they are willing to return to the table but will not offer anything when we get there. What’s the point? That’s not bargaining!
Our patience is exhausted. Stay tuned for notice of targeted withdrawals of services. New announcements will be made regularly on SEIUWEST.ca. Notice to members will be provided via email and text. Posters will be placed in the worksites and you can contact the members of the strike committee or the bargaining committee. You can also contact the Member Resource Center (MRC) at 1-888-999-7348 ext. 2298 for more information.
Your SEIU-West Bargaining Committee:
Roger Schmitz (Unit Chair), Jessica Eastveld, Ramona Logan, Barb Landry (Union Representative), Cam McConnell (Negotiations Officer)