Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan (HSAS) Collective Bargaining - Outstanding Issues

Bargaining Updates

Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan (HSAS) Collective Bargaining - Outstanding Issues

09-Oct-2014

HSAS represents more than 3,400 health support practitioners in health regions throughout Saskatchewan. Past negotiations have required third party intervention to settle the disputes.

The following provides information related to the outstanding issues.

HSAS Position SAHO Position

Wages

On July 10, 2014, The Star Phoenix reported that HSAS stated “while salary rates are always a part of such negotiations, they are not the key issue in this case.”

HSAS proposes wage increases based on the change to the Saskatchewan Consumer Price Index (CPI), plus an additional 0.75 per cent per year.

Annual Time
Periods
Effective Date of Wage Rate Increase CPI Rate of Change Wage Rate Increase
Mar. 2011 to
Mar. 2012
April 1, 2013 1.8% 2.55%
Mar. 2012 to
Mar. 2013
April 1, 2014 1.3% 2.05%
Mar. 2013 to
Mar. 2014
April 1, 2015 2.3% 3.05%
Mar. 2014 to
Mar. 2015
April 1, 2016 To be determined To be determined

Wages

The final offer presented by SAHO is in line with recent settlements for healthcare workers and falls within western Canadian pay rates for health sciences professionals.

  • HSAS currently falls within western Canadian pay rates for health science professionals. (Saskatchewan ranges from 96% to 104% of the average range.)

    HSAS Market Analysis HSAS Market Analysis (35 KB)

The previous HSAS collective bargaining agreement expired in 2013:

  • Over the course of the last 4 year agreement, the employees received 7.5% in wage increases
  • In addition, HSAS received 8.1% or $20 million in supplementary allowances for market conditions.

The healthcare system currently spends approximately $2.5 billion on healthcare wages, with roughly 37 cents of every tax payer dollar being spent on healthcare.

It is a priority to sustain a publicly-funded healthcare system for patients, families and all workers within the healthcare system.

SAHO wants a fair and equitable agreement that is comparable to western Canadian settlements for health science professionals.

HSAS has put a proposal package on the table that is almost twice as high as any other healthcare union has received in recently settled negotiations.

Since 1997, HSAS’ cumulative wage increases are double what the Consumer Price Index (CPI) has been.

Over the past 16 years, employees represented by HSAS have received a 65% increase, while CPI has gone up only 34.7%.

HSAS to CPI Comparison Chart HSAS to CPI Comparison Chart (158 KB)

HSAS Position SAHO Position

Disclosure (Staff levels, client ratios, wait lists)

In the May 1, 2014 news release, HSAS stated “The last contract offer from the health regions, represented by the Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations (SAHO), would have continued to hide health care staffing and service levels…”

Disclosure (Staff levels, client ratios, wait lists)

Health regions / Employers are accountable to the public for day to day management of the healthcare system. The current collective agreement states that it is the right of the employer to manage operations: Article 7.0 Management Rights – The Union acknowledges that it is the right of the Employer to manage its operation and to direct the work force. Management rights are subject to the terms of the Collective Agreement.

It is the responsibility of the employers to determine appropriate healthcare staffing levels to ensure quality care and safety for patients and employees.

As per the terms of the collective agreement, the union is currently privy to all vacancy postings and is advised when the position is filled.

The currently tabled request from HSAS includes demands for information, which in some cases is not currently collected by the employer or is collected only for the purpose of reviewing labour market conditions.

SAHO has made a proposal in the final offer to provide more disclosure of information on market supplement issues.

HSAS Position SAHO Position

Essential Services

In an August 26, 2014 news release, HSAS stated, “For health regions to declare a worker ‘essential’, but then refuse to call them into work for their regular duties during a work stoppage is a clear violation of the law.”

Essential Services

Health employers are in compliance with the provisions of The Public Service Essential Services Act when scheduling employees for the duties that are considered essential.

The Public Service Essential Services Act ensures a safe level of staffing for both patients and employees during a labour disruption.

As the union declined to negotiate an essential services agreement prior to the expiration of the collective agreement, it is the responsibility of the employers to identify the employees who have duties that are essential in order to ensure safe levels of operation.

The reason employees are not scheduled for the hours that they would normally work, is because some of those hours would include the performance of duties that are not essential according to The Public Service Essential Services Act.

SAHO’s position is in line with other legal decisions where it has been determined that the employee’s right to strike must be protected apart from performing the essential duties required to ensure patient and employee safety.

HSAS Position SAHO Position

The Value of Saskatchewan’s Healthcare Employees

HSAS has repeatedly stated that the health regions “seem determined to under-value and disrespect the important work being done for patients by our specialized health care professionals.”

The Value of Saskatchewan’s Healthcare Employees

SAHO puts patients first, working with healthcare employers and unions to ensure that quality frontline care is available for all patients.

Employees represented by HSAS are highly skilled and valued members of the healthcare team.

SAHO seeks to achieve a fair and equitable collective bargaining outcome for both employers and the employees.

SAHO seeks to negotiate wage rates that are competitive with the western Canadian average for healthcare system workers

HSAS Position SAHO Position

Educational Leave of Absence

Requested that employees be eligible for additional leave and financial assistance for educational leave:

  • The employer will pay, at straight time, for each day that an employee attends an educational event, up to 24 hours (3 days).
  • Payment will be made even if the education day falls on an employee’s scheduled day off.
  • Employers will provide an accounting of the use of educational entitlement to the union upon request.
  • Funds committed to the educational initiative cannot be eroded by other operational requirements of the employer.

Educational Leave of Absence

Employers support the professional development of employees.

The current commitment to professional development for employees represented by HSAS is $1.3 million, with the proposed enhancements by HSAS elevating that to over
$4 million.

HSAS’ proposal would put unreasonable stress on regional health authority budgets.

HSAS Position SAHO Position

Professional / Licensing Fees

HSAS has rejected this proposal.

Professional / Licensing Fees

SAHO proposed that the maximum reimbursable amount for professional fees will be the amount established by the professional association or licensing body (required to practice) as of January 1, 2014.

To date professional licensing fees have been paid in full by the healthcare system.

Not all employees working for the public sector have their fees paid in full when professional licensing is a requirement of employment.

Providing employees with unlimited dollars for professional licensing fees opens the door for professional associations to charge without accountability to its membership.
Accountability should be the responsibility of the association members to ensure that increases are reasonable.

Capping the payment at the 2014 rate protects the healthcare system from unpredictable increases in cost.

HSAS Position SAHO Position

Reimbursement for Meal Expenses

HSAS has rejected this proposal.

Reimbursement for Meal Expenses

SAHO proposed adding the word “reasonable” to the existing language to state that the employer will reimburse an employee for (reasonable) substantiated meal expenses.

The employer has a responsibility to the taxpayer to ensure that expenses are reasonable.

HSAS Position SAHO Position

Leave for Union Business

HSAS has rejected this proposal.

Leave for Union Business

Requests that 72 hours’ notice be given for a leave for union business, exclusive of weekends and statutory holidays.

The existing language states that 72 hours’ notice will be given. SAHO looks to reduce scheduling complications and patient disruptions by asking that the 72 hours not include weekends and statutory holidays.

Related Documents

SAHO to HSAS proposal package of September 26 204 SAHO to HSAS proposal package of September 26 204 (302 KB)

HSAS Proposal Package October 8 2014 HSAS Proposal Package October 8 2014 (283 KB)


Return to Bargaining Updates >>