Thursday, September 23, 2010

CBC News - Saskatchewan - Health care union approves contract

CBC News - Saskatchewan - Health care union approves contract

Members of the Service Employees International Union-West, which represents 11,000 health support workers in Saskatchewan, have given a new contract tepid approval.

According to an automatic-dial phone message that went out to members late Wednesday, members have voted 59 per cent in favour of the collective agreement with the organization representing health regions.

I stand corrected:

The SGEU, SEIU and CUPE aren't allowing a vote on the contract offer by SAHO for one important reason - they're afraid of what their members might do, and they are trying to hold out until next spring when they can do a general strike.

Actually, I really don't stand corrected because this is exactly what the union leadership were afraid would happen if the general strike narrative were to play out. Thankfully that's not looking like it's going to happen.

I do have to take issue with one thing that CBC is saying:

Bargaining took place after the government passed a law severely restricting the number of health care workers who could withdraw their services.
The government passed a law forcing the union and the employer to negotiate who is essential and who is not. Saskatchewan was the last province in the country to pass such a law. This law doesn't severely restrict an employee's right to withdraw services unless their job is considered an essential function or irreplaceable, but the fundamental ideal is still the same - the union and employer have to NEGOTIATE those essential people. A highways worker in the summertime may not be essential. A Highways worker in the winter time may be. A nurse on the ward may be essential, but 6 nurses on the ward may not be. A lab technician may not be individually essential, but the lab must still be available to perform its function.

I just wonder how the CBC would characterize a right to work law.

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