Fairness for Workers

The International Labour Organization, a United Nations body consisting of 186 countries, condemned the Sask Party government and told it to “go back to the drawing board and rewrite two pieces of labour legislation … in full consideration of and co-operation with the affected workers and labour groups” (Leader-Post, March 30/10). The UN criticized Bill 5 (which unfairly limits the bargaining power of public servants and takes away their right to strike — meaning that they’ve lost their bargaining power) and Bill 6 (which erodes democracy and freedom for workers and gives employers more power to impede workers from joining unions). But those are not the only ways in which the Sask Party government is hurting the working families of Saskatchewan. Here are a few others:

  • Minimum Wage: The previous NDP government released a plan to index the minimum wage to inflation (when the cost-of-living goes up, so does the minimum wage), but the Sask Party government rejected that plan and has so far refused to index the minimum wage.
  • Minimum Age: The Sask Party lowered the minimum working age in our province, removing restrictions that barred children from working.
  • Bill 43: In an attack on free speech, the Sask Party forced through legislation to limit the right of workers to hold peaceful rallies, protests and demonstrations.
  • Bill 80: Despite the fact that there has not been a strike in the construction industry for 17 years, the Sask Party government forced through Bill 80. This law is destabilizing the construction industry, taking money from Saskatchewan workers and contractors and sending it out-of-province.
  • Bill 160: The Sask Party government has changed human rights legislation in our province. Among the changes they made is the eliminatation of human rights tribunals, a model which ensured human rights concerns were addressed by an expert panel and in an accessible manner. Now, such concerns must be brought to a court. The changes have drawn harsh criticism from Amnesty International.

Premier Brad Wall once said he would “go to war” with working people. This is one promise he appears to be keeping. Now even the United Nations says that Saskatchewan workers deserve better.

Health staff issue

By Shelly Banks, The StarPhoenix November 2, 2011

I sure hope that Brad Wall and the Saskatchewan Party are not convincing the general public that they have increased staffing levels in the health sector.

As a health provider, my experience is that they have tried to address staffing issues for registered nurses, while the rest struggle. The public ought to know that there are staff shortages regularly in such hands-on care classifications as special care aides and licensed practical nurses.

Visit a community nursing home and you will see it for yourself. Those who work in diagnostic classifications are routinely required to work overtime. Critical retention and recruitment issues have been largely ignored. (more…)

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Health union raises concern about layoff plan

By David Hutton, The StarPhoenix October 26, 2011

The Saskatoon Health Region says there is no “hidden agenda” for health-care layoffs after the provincial election.

The Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan (HSAS) said Tuesday the union is concerned about potential job cuts following a notice letter sent in early October to discuss the proposed layoff of an addictions counsellor for children and youth from mental health and addictions services.

The region refused a meeting until after the election, the union contends, putting “politics” above jobs. (more…)

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The rich get richer…

This Letter to the editor also ran in the Southwest Booster under the title: Income inequality highlights growing workers rights issue

Thursday, 27 October 2011 14:18

Editor:
An interesting message from Statistics Canada: income inequality in Canada has increased over the past 20 years.

The richest group of Canadians (Top 20 per cent) increased its share of the total national income, while the poorest and middle income earners lost share.

The increase in inequality can be attributed to institutional forces such as declines in unionization, stagnating minimum wage rates and national policies which favour the wealthy. (more…)

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Incredible claim

By Shawna Colpitts, The StarPhoenix October 28, 2011

Labour Minister Don Morgan said in a TV interview on Oct. 21 that his government’s essential services law was done in a manner respectful of unions and union workers.

Does he really believe that health-care providers felt respected when they waited 27 months for a contract? They were force-fed rollbacks in exchange for a paltry wage increase, only to discover weeks later that some outof-scope employees and CEOs were lined up for 60 per cent increases? (more…)

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New index pinpoints inequalities in Canadians’ quality of life

Canada’s economy has boomed for much of the past two decades, yet that expansion has not sparked equally robust improvements in Canadians’ quality of life.

That is the key finding of the Canadian Index of Wellbeing, a composite guide launching Thursday that claims to be one of the first of its kind in the world. It seeks to provide a fuller picture of the country’s economic health than the widely used gross domestic product. (more…)

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LTE: Privatization issue

By Joan Bell, The StarPhoenix October 14, 2011

With the media’s penchant for supporting rightwing parties, I question the results of The StarPhoenix and Leader-Post poll that showed the Saskatchewan Party ahead.

Saskatchewan led North America in programs for people: Universal hospitalization and medicare, progressive labour legislation, the arts board, regional library system, first Bill of Rights and Crown corporations that partnered with Saskatchewan businesses and purchased goods and services locally.

Now the United Nations has condemned the Brad Wall government’s labour bills as contrary to human rights. (more…)

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Gov’t seems to prefer labour wars

By Murray Mandryk, The Leader-Post October 4, 2011

One doesn’t have to be very politically insightful to recognize that organized labour does not like this Saskatchewan Party government.

Amidst the steady stream of partisan party advertisements in the run-up to the provincial election that must be called within the next week has been a steady stream of equally partisan-sounding union ads decrying everything from a lack of social workers to a secret Sask. Party privatization agenda in health care, highways and Crown corporations. (more…)

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Union Job Helps

By Sharona Sendecki, The StarPhoenix August 29, 2011

My husband and I have worked to raise our three children to the best of our ability. At times we have struggled to keep food on the table, clothes on their backs, and a roof over their heads.

But life has got significantly better for us in the past year. My husband does the same work, but now he’s in a union. He gets paid what he’s worth, our kids have dental benefits and our medicine is paid for. We are actually starting to get ahead and are enjoying our family. (more…)

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New Identification Requirements at the Polls

Provincial Election poster Photo ID YFS version

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Questions for Candidates Running in the Provincial Election

Printable PDF of Questions for candidates

Legislative/Labour:

Essential Service legislation (Bill 5) and changes to The Trade Union Act (Bill 6) have created unfairness for all public sector workers. It took away the right to strike, and made it impossible to achieve a fair collective agreement. It took away the right to organize, and it invited employers like SAHO (Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations) to waste thousands of tax payer dollars on media campaigns against health care workers. What are you planning to do about Bill 5 & Bill 6? (more…)

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