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Thursday, 09 June 2011 13:43

Health Sciences presents counter proposal to health care employers

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Courtesy HSAS

The Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan presented a counter proposal  to health care employers Thursday, building on the progress achieved with the latest employer offer, and pledging to remain at the bargaining table through the weekend, if necessary, to finalize an agreement.


“The Premier, Minister of Health and SAHO have all refused our request for independent, interest-based binding arbitration, claiming they want to see a new contract negotiated at the bargaining table. Now that there has been some movement from SAHO we are prepared to negotiate for as long as it takes to finalize a deal, holding further strike action in abeyance while progress is being made at the table,” Health Sciences President Cathy Dickson said.

“The SAHO President, who has never been at the bargaining table, claims in the news media that SAHO’s latest contract proposal is a ‘final offer’, not subject to negotiation. However her bargaining team said yesterday the terms of this so-called ‘final offer’ were open for discussion. Any attempt by SAHO to impose a contract now would also contradict what the Premier and Minister of Health have said about the need for a negotiated settlement,” Dickson noted.

Health Sciences presented the SAHO bargaining team with a counter proposal that contains a series of improvements to the employer offer tabled yesterday. These proposals include:

 The inclusion of a Professional Standards article, similar to that negotiated by Saskatchewan’s Registered Nurses, which allows specialized health care professionals the ability to challenge workplace staffing, where the employer has failed to provide a safe level of care for patients;

 Acceptance of the employer’s latest wage proposal for seventeen job classifications, who will receive wage increases of 14.5% or more over the four years of the contract, and base wage rate increases of 14.5% over four years for all remaining Health Sciences members. This is down from the union’s previous request of 18.5% over four years;

 Providing rural EMS workers with a Stand By Wage Rate equal to 85% of the provincial Minimum Wage. When the Stand By Wage Rate was introduced more than a decade ago, it was set at 85% of the Minimum Wage. It has not been revised since and now sits at $4.12 an hour; less than half the current Minimum Wage;

 Creation of a Working Committee to discuss ways to improve professional standards and the effectiveness and efficiency of the Market Supplement Program. Failing agreement, outstanding items would be submitted to independent, binding arbitration;

 Full retroactivity to the end of the previous contract, March 31, 2009;

 A number of housekeeping changes and proposals to adjust errors or omissions in the employer’s latest offer.

“We are confident that real progress can be made and a final contract can be concluded in the next few

days if SAHO is ready to actually negotiate. We are very close, considering how far apart we have been,”

Dickson concluded.


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