May 6, 2011
“This means job action involving our specialized health care professionals could begin as early as Sunday across the province. Exactly where and how job action will begin, and which of our more than three-thousand professionals will be involved, will be made public at the appropriate time,” Dickson told the news conference.
“We want the people of Saskatchewan to know that we have done everything possible to avoid a strike, but the Wall government and health care employers have given us no other option. We have spent more than two years at the bargaining table, trying to convince health care employers to actually negotiate. For more than two years, on the direction of the Wall government, health care employers have stonewalled and refused to get on with the job,” Dickson added.
“In recent weeks, to try to avoid strike action, we have presented health care employers with no fewer than four different contract proposals. Each time employers have dismissed our proposals, and refused to negotiate,” Dickson said.
“Two weeks ago, also in an attempt to avoid strike action, we called on Premier Wall to agree to send our contract dispute to independent, binding arbitration. The Premier has shown complete disrespect for our specialized health care professionals by not even responding to our request,” Dickson noted.
Dickson said Health Sciences needs to take a stand against the chronic under-staffing of its professions, because under-staffing risks the health of Saskatchewan patients. She added that Health Sciences needs to take a stand for more competitive wages and benefits for its professional members, because recruitment and retention problems will only worsen if Saskatchewan fails to keep wages and benefits competitive with other provinces, like Alberta, or even with other Saskatchewan health care professions, like Registered Nurses.
“In spite of the frustration of the past two years; in spite of the disrespect shown our members by health care employers and the Wall government, strike action can still be avoided. They have 48 hours. The ball is now totally in Premier Wall’s court. He can avoid strike action by instructing health care employers to agree to send this contract dispute to independent, binding arbitration,” Dickson concluded.
Health Sciences represents specialized health care professionals from more than thirty professions including: Emergency care workers like Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics; Acute care workers like Hospital Pharmacists, Perfusionists, and Respiratory Therapists; Rehab professionals like Physical Therapists and Speech Language Pathologists; and Community-based professionals like Public Health Inspectors and Social Workers.