Inside the Fall/Winter Issue 2015 – Front Line


Inside the Fall/Winter Issue 2015 – Front Line
Fall/Winter 2015
Expanded Edition
In This Issue: Owning vs. Privatizing
By Christine Miller, Communications
But why has it gotten this way? Because
government in its infinite wisdom,
It’s no secret that SEIU-West supports
chipping away at our sources of
public services in Saskatchewan. Most
Yes that’s right our government
recently our government has decided
to let go of 40 cash generating
to open up private MRI clinics despite
under the guise of more
previous promises not to go down that
It seems so counterroad. The government has also authorized
the closure of 40 government liquor stores
is made to
across the province after the next provincial
These are just some of
Some people think that
reasons our Political
this may benefit them
and Awareness
personally. In the case of
has been
MRIs, some think this may
getting the
reduce their wait. Still
the OwnIt!
others look at convenience
and expanded choices
Duck Lake members OwnIt: Laurie
working people and
in the purchase of adult
Blanchard, Cindy Pilon, Dorothy
voters, we have the right
beverages. However, this
Parker and Monica Mamer
for the latest
to choose the government
may be short-sighted.
one that will make
SEIU-West represents over
Privatizing our treasured public health
guarantee our more
13,000 members across care services will only lead to longer waits
to put up the poster
Saskatchewan who work in the public system because the private
of this newsletter –
in healthcare, education, clinics often cherry pick procedures leaving
– on your Union
municipalities, CBOs and more complex cases to remain in the public
can see what
system and pilfer resources away from
various industries. We work
been doing to
the public system. Accessing MRI services
to improve the lives of
and weaken
in a private clinic will not be inexpensive
working people and their so only those with deeper pockets will be
our public services.
families and lead the way able to afford to access them. Welcome to
Don’t forget to keep an eye on our SEIUto a more just and
events calendar for upcoming OwnIt!
two-tiered health care everyone. (You can
humane society.
read SEIU-West’s submission on Bill 179 by
Cape’s Corner ............... p. 2
Did you Know?............. p. 2
MRC Quick Tip ............ p. 2
PAWS: Power ............... p. 3
Events .......................... p. 3
Farewell ....................... p. 3
Poster: OwnIt! ........ p. 4 & 5
Turtle Island ................. p. 6
Purple Gives Back ........ p. 6
Scholarship Winners .... p. 7
Teleserye Bida ............... p. 7
MOD ............................ p. 7
Community Sector ....... p. 8
Dear Rosie ..................... p. 8
Revera Bargaining ........ p. 8
The gift that keeps Contest!
If we’re able to reach 1000
on giving!
Facebook ‘likes’ by January 1st,
SEIU-West members! 2016, we will randomly draw three
who like our page, and
Text SEIU to 52267 to members
they’ll each win an amazing prize!!
In addition, we will give away
get regular updates,
one prize to a person who is not a
info on contests
member. Find out more:
and more.
Cape’s Corner
Words matter…we all know that. Whether it’s working through our collective agreements,
conversations between coworkers, an article in a newspaper or the vows we take when we
commit to another person.
Recently, I have noticed a lot of words of fear, hate and anger on social media and in the
By: Barbara Cape
regular media. And I am wondering if people are pausing to think about these words before
President, SEIU-West
repeating them. I have always been taught not to believe everything you read or hear – ‘do your
homework to get the facts’ is how I translated that.
When I look at the refugee crisis that is being faced on a global scale, I pause for a moment to express my thanks
that I am not in that situation, and I put myself in their shoes. How horrible to have to flee your country because you
are being bombed out of existence! How horrible to not be able to feed your children, read a book, or wear clean
clothes. But even more horrific is the thought that people a world away from you are afraid of your religion or your
I do not believe that we are those people who live in fear. I
believe that we are a province of immigrants. Our own families
SEIU-West provides retirement gifts
faced some of the same struggles and were accepted into
this land. I believe that we can make room for refugees in our
for its members?
province, our communities and our hearts to build our province
SEIU-West is proud to recognize the
into something that resembles our motto: from many peoples,
dedicated service of our members. So if you
know a member who has retired in the last
I call on all SEIU-West members to think about our words, how
year or will be retiring soon, let your Unit
we use them to console, persuade, love, hurt or strengthen.
Chair know so they can request a retirement
Think about the facts. Think about truth and justice. Think about
clock from their nearest SEIU-West office.
living without fear and welcoming new people into our circle.
Retirement clocks must be requested in writing
Think about all of this as we move into the holiday season;
whether you celebrate Hanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa or anything within one year from the date of retirement.
For more on the criteria, visit
in-between, we need to build a province that doesn’t answer to
and click on the retirement clock promo picture
the dog-whistle of hate and fear.
in the rotating carousel at the bottom of the
Merry Christmas to you and your families!
In Solidarity
page (or go to:
Barb Cape
Did You Know?
MRC Quick Tip
Have a question related to your contract?
Call us toll free province-wide!
1.888.999.SEIU (7348)
Health care workers will not be confronted by an Immunize or Mask policy this flu season. The enforcement of
the Health Region policies has been suspended this season and compliance is voluntary only. Last flu season was the
first time an “immunize or mask” policy was implemented. The policy was based on a ruling from a BC arbitrator who
concluded such policies were legitimate, based on scientific testimony from expert witnesses.
In Ontario a recent arbitration decision was released on this issue which concluded the Vaccinate or Mask
provisions of the Employer’s policy were an unreasonable exercise of management rights. The Award did not make any
determination about the merits of influenza vaccination.
We had heard from a number of members about their concerns regarding this policy; about the overall safety
of vaccines; and also the efficiency of vaccines when they are based on a predictive/assumption model about the
predominant flu strain.
SEIU-West, amongst other unions, wrote to the Ministry of Health to ask how this latest ruling affects or changes the
Health Regions Immunize or Mask policy. Due to these inquiries and the Ontario arbitration, the Ministry and the Health
Regions are reviewing the Saskatchewan policy.
SEIU-West believes that influenza immunization is overall effective; we also believe our members should have a
choice on whether or not to vaccinate and should not be coerced. With that choice, come responsibilities to co-workers,
clients and patients. Those responsibilities should be based on transparent, reasonable and practical direction given by
the Employers for the purposes of effective infection control.
We are encouraged to see the health regions are taking the time to reconsider their policy. Such reflection will only
help to enhance the quality of our health care system.
For the full article see link Power
By Catherine Gendron, Project
The SEIU-West Aboriginal
Committee is excited to announce
the launch of PAWS, a new campaign
aimed at spreading awareness and
smashing myths about Indigenous
Peoples in Canada. The ultimate goal
is to enhance our relationship with
Indigenous Peoples and movements.
PAWS is short for Power, Air, Water
and Safety. In each SEIU-West
quarterly newsletter, the Aboriginal
Committee will focus on one branch
of PAWS. In this issue we will talk
about Power.
Canadian Indigenous movements
exercised their power and made the
issue of launching an inquiry into
Missing and Murdered Indigenous
Women an election issue that
all candidates had to face. Our
committee is calling on our newly
elected Prime Minister to move
forward with their inquiry process.
Your Aboriginal Committee firmly
believes that knowledge is power.
Often, myths and stereotypes
are spread on the basis of a lack
of information. The Truth and
Reconciliation Commission (TRC)
report is an important part of
dispelling myths about Indigenous
people in Canada. To read the full
report, visit You can
also listen to the report by going
to the Aboriginal Committee page
on or going to
the #ReadTheTRCReport YouTube
It is important to remember
that power does not come through
government. Power comes from
the people. Governments are only
compelled to act because of pressure
pcoming Events
Alzheimer Awareness Month
Jan 11
National Human Trafficking Awareness Day
Jan 22
Political Action & Awareness Committee Meeting (ST)
Jan 22 Karaoke & Potluck (ST)
Jan 27
Family Literacy Day
Jan 30 – Feb 6 National Therapeutic Recreation Week
Feb 4
SEIU-West Executive Board meeting (SC)
Feb 9 – 10
Together We Strive For Fairness Conference
Feb 11
Wave Training (Tentative)
Feb 14 Cardiology Technologist Day
Feb 15
Family Day
Feb 24
Pink Shirt Day (Anti-Bullying)
Feb 29
Nursing Care Committee Meeting (ST)
National Nutrition Month
Mar 1 – 4
Unit Leadership Courses (MJ, SC & ST)
Mar 2
Education Committee Meeting (ST)
Mar 2
Young Workers Committee Meeting (ST)
Mar 8
International Women’s Day
Mar 8 UN Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace
Mar 14 – 18
Health Information Professionals Week
Mar 21
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
Mar 22
UN World Water Day
For more information, contact your Unit Chair or visit
coming from peoples’ movements.
Lobbying is just one device in the tool
box for social change. What is most
important is building people power
in our communities. Indigenous
peoples demonstrate their power
through their voice, their song, their
dance, their drum, their elders and
their teachings. What is particularly
powerful is the ability to fight
colonialism and attempted genocide;
the unwavering commitment to
Indigenous identities, cultures, and
sovereignty has secured their power,
and we the Aboriginal Committee
hope to contribute to this power.
PAWS Logo: The paw print
chosen, as part of the Aboriginal
Committee’s PAWS Campaign logo, is
a rendering of a wolf print. The clear
print with no claws indicates a wolf
who is on stable footing – an animal
taking it’s time before proceeding –
pausing before reacting too quickly.
Wolves are social animals that
structure themselves in packs. This
is also true of this committee which
thrives by working toward the same
goals. There is strength when we
work together.
It is with regret SEIU-West has
to announce that two very
dedicated staff members will
be leaving us
over the next
short while.
Union Rep Ivette
Gonzalez has
resigned to
pursue other life
adventures and will be leaving
in mid-December. Negotiations
Officer Andy
Iwanchuk will
be retiring in
February of
2016. Though
we are sad to
see them leave,
we are confident that their new
paths will lead to great things. All
the best Ivette and Andy!
New projects in Saskatchewan – like schools, the North Battleford Hospital and the Regina bypass – are being developed as public-private
P3 pitfalls: high costs and lack of transparency
Selling off hospital laundry services to Alberta-based K-Bro Linens means the loss of more than 350 good, family-supporting jobs and the
benefits they bring to communities. The company’s business model is to slash wages and cut jobs, a move that will drain up to $42 million in
income from Saskatchewan people over ten years. Meanwhile millions in profits go to a big Alberta corporation.
Laundry that is already being sent to K-Bro’s Alberta-based plant is too often coming back soiled and stained, according to hospital staff.
Selling off hospital laundries hurts communities
Private clinics are getting paid to provide day surgeries and CT scans. This means scarce health care dollars are diverted to pay profits to
private owners, instead of paying for much-needed medical services. Private clinics have been operating in Regina and Saskatoon since
Private, user-pay MRIs have gotten the go-ahead so those who can afford to pay will get fast-tracked for diagnosis and treatment,
undermining the very basis of Medicare. The rationale is to reduce wait times, but the wait for an MRI is nearly three times longer in heavilyprivatized Alberta than in Saskatchewan.
Health care can be improved by expanding the public system, but government has reneged on its promise to build an outpatient surgery
centre in Regina, and says the medical centre would only go forward as a private project.
Health care dollars diverted to profits for private owners
Fact Sheet
A project to keep and strengthen public services.
So our kids can own, and benefit from, all we’ve built.
Costs skyrocket when highways work is transferred from the public to the private sector. Consulting costs have increased by a whopping 404
per cent in the Ministry of Highways from 2009 to 2014. In contrast, the ministry’s total budget is up by only 12 per cent.
Private companies charge hourly rates that are often two to four times higher than a public service worker would be paid to do the job. That’s
not good news for Saskatchewan families, who foot the bill for the extra costs of contracting out.
Highways costs skyrocket with privatization
When smart meters started catching fire in summer 2014, much of the blame belonged to private-sector consultants. SaskPower’s overreliance on private contractors instead of its own staff led to confusion, ignored warnings, and a disregard for safety, according to a report by
the Crown Investments Corporation.
Consultants dismissed warnings that the smart meters had allegedly caused similar fires before, and failed to even identify catastrophic
meter failure (i.e., catching fire) as a potential risk.
Privatization and smart meters
Saskatchewan people are missing out on billions in lost revenues from potash. In 1989, the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan (PCS) was
sold off for just $630 million. That sale cost the province enormously – by 2010, the privatization of PCS cost Saskatchewan people from $18
to 36 billion in lost revenue.
The Sask. Party government sold off the local public broadcaster, the Saskatchewan Communications Network (SCN), in 2010 for $350,000.
Just two years later, the new owner resold it to Rogers Communications for almost nine times more. In the process, the channel’s locallyfocused content was largely replaced by U.S. programming.
Selling Crowns costs Saskatchewan people
By allowing four new private – rather than public – liquor stores to open, our government is handing millions to large corporations. The
financial loss to us, the people of Saskatchewan, could be as much as $7.5 million per year.
That is money that should be spent on improving our health care services, schools, provincial parks and so much more.
How much more do we stand to lose in revenue and public services if the government goes through with privatizing 40 more of our public
liquor stores?
Private liquor sales take profits away from us
partnerships (P3s). Having private corporations run the show means less accountability and higher costs. Ontario’s auditor general found
that P3s have cost the public at least $8 billion in unnecessary spending over the last decade.
Building schools through public-private partnerships (P3s) has been tried in other provinces, and they always cost more than a traditional
public build. Alberta canceled its last batch of P3 schools because it would have cost $14 million more. But Saskatchewan is still carrying out
a plan to build nine new joint-use P3 schools – while keeping the project costs a secret.
Unionism on Turtle Island
Dennel Pickering, SEIU-West Board Member
SEIU-West recently held a course about Unionism on
Turtle Island, and I want to share my report with all of you.
There was much to learn throughout this course, but
by far, what impacted me the most was from our
members. We had a woman who was deeply hurt
by the damage done to her mother and herself
when she entered residential school at age 4. We
heard the impact it had on her. We cried with her.
We laughed with her. She was truly an inspiration.
I heard from a woman who saw neglect among
Indigenous children and didn’t understand why. I
heard from a refugee who had similar cultural beliefs to
those of Indigenous Peoples and said that had Indigenous
Peoples been able to keep their varying cultures, maybe
she wouldn’t be so homesick.
We discussed how even now, Indigenous Peoples are
under attack. Changes to The Navigable Waters Protection
Act are a threat to Aboriginal land rights, affecting their
environment and ignore the voice of Indigenous Peoples
opposing the pipelines. Fracking is a huge threat because
it brings toxic chemicals to the surface of the earth and
causes earthquakes to occur. What happened by
our government in the past is done but what
continues to happen today can be stopped, if we
all join together and demand better from our
I deeply feel that unless and until society
understands the pain and the history of aggressive
assimilation and the attempted genocide that
Indigenous Peoples have endured, no one can heal. We
need to stand up and demand better. My heart was so
happy to see that everyone in the group “got it” and
committed to share their knowledge with their community.
This is how we create change. This is how we heal.
Purple Gives Back To Our Communities!
By Catherine Gendron, Project Coordinator
During the holiday season, members of SEIU-West have
come together with a goal of growing their community’s
generosity and good heartedness.
Members on the SEIU-West executive board made a
decision to purchase, prepare and serve a turkey dinner with
all the fixings at Ronald McDonald House in Saskatoon.
The Ronald McDonald House is known for providing
accommodation for families of sick children who must
stay in the hospital. There were ten SEIU-West volunteers
who worked to ensure the families have a wonderful
supper in their ‘home away from home’.
The Young Workers Committee have made a number
of generous donations to organizations in need. They sent
socks and underwear along with Tim Horton’s gift cards to
The Lighthouse Supported Living, a non-profit organization
that assists with emergency shelter. In order to support
refugees upon their arrival, the young workers have donated
several gift cards to the Open Door Society in Saskatoon
and Regina. Also, they are sending the Moose Jaw Transition
House, an organization that works toward ending the cycle
of abuse and violence, a supply of diapers, wipes and baby
SEIU-West members from Moose Jaw Home Care also
made a decision at one of their Unit meetings to gather
donations for the local Food Bank. In three short
weeks, the group was able to collect 78 pounds of
food for the Moose Jaw Food Bank.
At each SEIU-West office in Swift Current, Moose
Jaw, and Saskatoon, toy and food drives are being held
throughout December; these donations will contribute
to Denny Carr’s Secret Santa Foundation, an organization
that provides food and toys for over 700 families in
We hope these acts of kindness will encourage others to
do the same. Enjoy the season of giving!
More photos on the
SEIU-West Facebook
Winners 2015
By Kelly Harrington, Deputy Director
of Political Action & Education
Each year, SEIU-West accepts
applications from members who are in
good standing (dues paying members)
to win one of ten scholarships of $750
to assist with their post-secondary
training or education. A second
category gives children of SEIU-West
members a chance to apply for one of
ten $750 scholarships.
The Education Committee reviews
each and every application in order
to determine the winners. It is always
difficult to select the 20 winners
because the essays on the topic of
‘how unions contribute to a fair and
just society’ that are submitted with
the applications are all very well
thought out! Thank you to all who
applied and for those of you who did
not receive a scholarship this year, we
encourage you to apply again in 2016!
Stay tuned to our website for updated
scholarship information.
Here is a list of our recipients –
Member Scholarships:
• Jeremy Campbell, Luseland
• Amy Mastin, Saskatoon
• Renee McElroy, Saskatoon
• Sarah Muyers, St. Gregor
• Maurina Ann Nameth, Wynyard
• Paige Newmans, Moose Jaw
• Cassidy Rivard, Wood Mountain
• Mary Ann Trazo, Saskatoon
• Cheyenne Trytten, Kyle
• Debra Monk, Kyle
Members’ Children Scholarships:
• Sara Brown, Saskatoon
• Matthew Bussiere, Saskatoon
• Whitney Curtis, Saskatoon
• Riley Keller, Rockglen
• Jenessa McAuley, Drumheller
• Cassidy Siebert, Lampman
• Tyra Tkatchuk, Saskatoon
• Teigan Trew, Govan
• Rachel Weller, Saskatoon
• Amy Wong, Kerrobert
Teleserye Bida
By Stacey Lolacher, Organizer
On October 24th, the Teleserye
Bida concert was held in Regina. The
event was sponsored in partnership
by C-Mart (a Filipino grocery store
located in Regina) and the SEIU-West
Organizing Department. The show
was primarily presented in Tagalog
which is one of the
major languages
of the Philippines
and the most
common first
language of the
Filipino members
of SEIU-West.
Popular Filipino
Enrique Gil,
Enchong Dee,
Gerald Anderson,
Rayver Cruz,
Xian Lim and
special guest
Liza Soberano all
While getting our table ready at
the concert, we met many new faces;
faces that are new to us at SEIU-West
and new to our province. We were
there to answer questions about
who we are as a Union and general
questions about what a Union is. It
was an educational experience for all
We spoke with many members
of SEIU-West all of whom were very
excited to see that we sponsored this
concert. They told the organizers and
other concert-goers that the presence
of SEIU-West made them feel
recognized as a community that their
Union supports.
The near-capacity
concert included a
pre-show that was
hosted in part by
a very enthusiastic
SEIU-West member
from Regina
Extendicare and
showcased local
Filipino singers from
This major
sponsorship was
a new endeavour
for the Organizing
Department. It
was great to see
the SEIU-West logo on a 24’ x 24’
screen! The opportunity to reach out
to community members in a social
atmosphere was an experience that
SEIU-West looks forward to repeating
in the near future. It was a fantastic
evening, enjoyed by all!
SEIU-West is pleased to recognize our first
ever Young Worker member to the Executive
Board, Candace Curtis, as our member of
distinction. Candace has bravely taken her first
steps into a number of challenging leadership
roles. She will be the Workplace Communicator
at Providence Place in Moose Jaw where she
works to provide quality resident care. As well,
she is an active member of the Young Worker
committee – this is a strong group of activists
Fall/Winter 2015 who are going to light the world on fire.
Candace has been
Candace Curtis nominated
by our local
President, Barbara Cape, who is eager to have Candace
share her perspective in local decision-making. Cape
states: “We want to wish Candace a long and active
leadership in our great union and we want to afford her
the mentorship and learning resources that create such
opportunity, for her and the many other young workers
who will engage with us!” Congratulations Candace!
Do you know a Member of Distinction? Email: [email protected].
More Scholarship pictures at:
CBO Workers Activate!
By Carmela Verwimp – Executive
Board Member
In celebration of CommunityBased Organization workers in
Saskatchewan, we held a conference
in Regina on November 5th and 6th.
A total of 23 SEIU-West and SGEU
members came from across the
province to share their experiences
and learn from each other. Greetings
were brought by the Minister of
Labour Relations and Workplace
Safety, the Mayor of Regina, our SFL
president, our CLC Prairie Region
Director and both of the presidents of
SEIU-West and SGEU.
Those in attendance were
presented with information about
the most recent activities undertaken
by their unions in their sector.
Conference attendees, Andrea
Shad and Trish Patey, shared their
compelling work experiences with
their peers through the ‘CBO Live
Talks’ format.
Participants also heard from many
speakers. Norm and Annette Phillips
shared their experience dealing
with Norm’s Post-Traumatic Stress
Disorder (PTSD). They spoke candidly
about how important it is to take care
of yourself. They warned that not
practicing self-care techniques can
have harmful effects on your mental
health, your family and your career.
As a community leader and an
advocate for diversity, Santos Garcia,
described his experience as a political
refugee and the discrimination he has
faced. He spoke passionately about
the need for people to be aware of
their own prejudices, to be open
to others. He cautioned those in
attendance not to take our freedoms
for granted.
The last speaker of the conference
was our very own Member Action
Coordinator, Tom Howe. He motivated
the members assembled in the room
to take action through the Own It
campaign by drawing attention to the
risks of privatization of public services
in Saskatchewan.
The planning process for next
year’s celebration will start in the New
Year. To all CBO workers – Thank you
for all that you do and the differences
you make in other people’s lives!
Bargaining Update: Revera
By Kerry Barrett, Negotiations Officer
The three newest Revera units at
Marian Chateau in Regina and the
Bentleys in Saskatoon and Yorkton
reached a tentative agreement with
their employer on Tuesday, December
1, 2015. The agreement was reached
through the assistance of a government
appointed conciliator.
While the goal of a single collective
agreement covering the three units was
not achieved, significant improvements
were made throughout the current
agreement including, but not limited
to, a common wage scale across all of
the employer’s facilities including the
other Bentleys in Regina and Moose
Jaw. Also included is a commitment to a
joint review of workloads to determine
appropriate staffing levels for all jobs
in each facility and improvements to
employees’ sick leave entitlements.
This agreement came about because
the members held firm. They stood
together and told the employer they
had enough of being overworked
and disrespected by voting 92% in
support of a strike action. Fortunately,
this agreement was reached without
the need to take any job action
demonstrating that the strongest strike
vote is the one you never have to use.
The members will meet to vote on
this deal in the coming weeks.
Dear Rosie...
If you have a question for
Rosie, please use the
“contact us” form on
the website.
Dear Rosie:
My heart sank when I heard a recent
news story that a whole bunch of
our sisters and brothers working for
Saskatoon Health Region might get
laid off. Their CEO said that this was
necessary because they will have a 45
million dollar deficit. How can there be
layoffs when we all know that there
are not enough health care providers
to perform these essential services?
Mick from the Sticks
Dear Mick:
As I write this, we know that if
there are layoffs, they will not occur
before the New Year. We don’t know
how our members will be affected.
We’ll certainly do our best to fight
for them. And that fight starts with
understanding why there is a funding
Our members can certainly tell
you that SHR management is not
perfect. But the Wall government has
failed to plan and budget properly
for the population growth it brags
about. Over the past five years, the
population in the area which SHR
serves has increased by 15% (with an
emphasis upon the number of kids
and seniors) and grew faster than the
rest of the province. The region also
serves people from the across the
province. The government has not
properly accounted for this in their
funding formula. However, the Regina
Qu’Appelle Health Region receives
$120 more per person per year.
It’s our hope that the government will
provide added funding to save jobs,
help us improve services and try to
keep this from becoming an election