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Unifor reaches tentative agreement with Crowns

Unifor bargaining committees have signed tentative agreements with SaskEnergy, SaskPower, SaskTel, SaskWater, DirectWest, and SecureTek, ending a 17-day strike by nearly 5,000 workers across the province.

“Solidarity and the support from Unifor members at all six Crowns along with those who joined our picket lines from across the province were key to achieving this agreement,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “I want to thank Ian Davidson, President, Unifor Local 649, Dave Kuntz, President, Unifor Local 1-S, Penny Matheson, President, Unifor Local 2-S and Doug Lang, President, Unifor Local 820 for showing tremendous resolve and leadership to stand together and fight back against the regressive Moe government mandate to achieve a fair collective agreement.”

The details of the tentative agreements will be released following the ratification votes, which will be held this month.

Unifor members have been escalating strike action after the employers rejected the union’s offer to go to binding arbitration. On Saturday the Poplar River power plant in Coronach was behind reinforced picket lines that only granted access to essential services staff. Unifor members also picketed SaskTel dealers across the province asking customers to support locked out workers and take their business elsewhere.

“Unifor members proved that they are vital to their communities and the Saskatchewan economy,” said Chris MacDonald, Assistant to the National President.

“This was an historic and yet complicated round of bargaining and the bargaining committees will be recommending members ratify the tentative agreement reached today,” said Scott Doherty, Executive Assistant to the National President.

The members want to thank the public, and other unions and Unifor members across the country who showed support on picket lines in more than 80 locations.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

For more information, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at ian.boyko@unifor.org or 778-903-6549 (cell).


Unifor offers binding arbitration to help end Crowns strike

REGINA—As the province-wide service disruption enters its third week, Unifor has offered to go to binding arbitration on outstanding monetary issues with employers.

“Unifor members want to return to serving the people of Saskatchewan, but they won’t do it without a fair contract or a commitment from the Crowns to arbitration,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “If the Crowns agree to this reasonable offer, nearly 5,000 Crown workers could be back at work tomorrow.”

After coming to an agreement on a framework for non-monetary items with Crown employers, Unifor bargaining committees believe binding arbitration is the best path forward. The employers have been prevented from bargaining monetary issues by the Scott Moe government’s wage freeze mandate.

“Unifor has engaged in serious and good faith bargaining for months, only to be obstructed by an arbitrary wage target set by the provincial government,” said Dias. “We’re recommending that an arbitrator consider our proposals and the economic position of the Crowns to determine what a fair monetary settlement would look like.”


Support grows for striking Sask Crown workers

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As the province-wide strike and lockout of Crown workers drags into day seven, support for workers is growing across Saskatchewan and beyond.

“It is always heartwarming to see other unions’ members and even Unifor members from other provinces join our picket lines,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.

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Service disruption intensifies as SaskTel workers locked out

REGINA—After announcing a return to work earlier today, SaskTel workers have now been locked out by the employer, triggering a cancellation of the planned return to work at other Crown corporations.

“Just when we thought Scott Moe couldn’t make things worse, he proved us wrong, from Asia no less,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “The provincial government engineered a strike by Crown workers by imposing a wage freeze, now it stands idly by while SaskTel workers are prevented from returning to work.”

On October 4 at 12:01 a.m. nearly 5,000 workers at SaskTel, SaskEnergy, SaskPower, SaskWater, DirectWest, SecurTek, and the Water Security Agency began legal job action after being offered a two-year wage freeze by the Scott Moe government.“Whomever made the decision to lock-out SaskTel workers hasn’t seen the energy I’ve seen on our picket lines,” said Dave Kuntz, Unifor Local 1-S President representing SaskTel workers in areas south of Davidson.

Penny Matheson, President of Unifor Local 2-S based in Saskatoon said: “Our members are ready to do whatever it takes to force the Scott Moe government to negotiate a fair contract.”

Lock-out notice has not been served to the other striking Unifor members, leading Crown workers to conclude the government wants to divide and conquer union members.

“We’re going to stay on the picket line in solidarity with SaskTel and to ensure that our own membership is not divided by the employer,” said Ian Davidson, Unifor Local 649 President representing workers at SaskEnergy and SaskPower, referring to communication he received earlier today suggesting that part-time workers would not be allowed back.

“Crown workers and our families are united as ever in the campaign for a fair contract, and that doesn’t change today because the government has dropped the ball again,” Davidson added.

Some Crown bargaining committees have been at the table with the employer for two years or longer, offering to accept lump-sum payments (aka signing bonuses) in lieu of a base wage increase in the first year of the contract. Committees have also made offers to accept wage increases in subsequent years that are below that of the 2.3 per cent increase MLAs gave themselves.


Government has refused multiple offers to avoid Crowns strike

REGINA—Unifor’s various offers to find a resolution to the ongoing contract dispute with Crown employers have all been rebuffed by the provincial government, leaving the union with no other option than to strike.

“Contract negotiations must be about a give and take—but the Moe government’s refusal to bargain fairly is driving Saskatchewan towards a major service disruption,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Unifor has presented creative offers to find a path forward, but the government seems intent on forcing a strike.”

Some Crown bargaining committees collective agreements have been expired for two years or longer, in an attempt to find a solution to the government’s proposed wage freeze mandate. The union recently offered to accept lump sum payments in lieu of a base wage increase in the expired years of their contract. In the most recent offer, committees have also made offers to accept wage increases of 2 per cent in 2019, 2020 and 2021. Serious non-monetary issues relating to job security remain outstanding.

“What’s good enough for politicians should be good enough for the families of Crown workers,” said Dias. “Given the healthy cost of living increases to MLA salaries, Crown workers are being more than reasonable in their position.”

On Friday at 12:01 a.m. nearly 5,000 workers at SaskTel, SaskEnergy, SaskPower, SaskWater, DirectWest, SecurTek, and the Water Security Agency are poised to strike if a tentative agreement cannot be bargained.

For more information, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at ian.boyko@unifor.org or 778-903-6549 (cell).


Time running out for Scott Moe to make a reasonable offer

September 26, 2019

REGINA—Unifor negotiators are working down to the wire but time is running out for the Scott Moe government to make a fair offer to nearly 5,000 Crown workers with strike mandates.

“It’s not a hard formula: show Crown workers the respect they deserve and we can avert province-wide job action,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Without a serious offer, Scott Moe will engineer service disruption that could have been avoided.”

Unifor’s bargaining committees will meet today with the employers to review the latest offer and decide whether or not to serve 48 hours notice of job action. Unifor members at SaskTel have already served notice and if a collective agreement cannot be bargained this weekend, job action at SaskTel is set to begin at 12:01 a.m. on September 30.

Unifor says that Premier Scott Moe signalled that wage freezes are not acceptable when he gave himself and MLAs a 2.3% pay increase earlier this year.

“If 2.3% is good enough for Scott Moe, surely it’s good enough for the thousands of Crown workers that make public utilities and services great,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor’s Western Regional Director. “Job action at seven Crowns is not inevitable. The government and Crown corporations have the ability to bargain a fair agreement, but time is running out.”

For more information, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at ian.boyko@unifor.org or 778-903-6549 (cell).


Bargaining reaches an impasse with SaskEnergy

August 16, 2019

Regina - The bargaining committee for Unifor says talks with SaskEnergy have reached an impasse.

“The provincial government has mandated that the Crowns not offer any increase until 2021 and then only a 1 percent raise,” said Unifor President Jerry Dias. “Our hard working members deserve better.”

The Unifor bargaining committee has been meeting with the provincial mediator and SaskEnergy to try to get an agreement.

Unifor will now make preparations to seek a strike mandate from the membership.

“How can the Saskatchewan government justify giving itself a 2.3 percent increase this year but give nothing to front line workers?” asked Western Regional Director Joie Warnock.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

 

For more information please contact:

Catherine Pope, Unifor National Communications Representative

604-388-4398

Catherine.pope@unifor.org

 


Unifor preparing for battle at Saskatchewan’s crown corporations

Bargaining committees at Unifor Locals 1-S and 2-S are preparing to ask for a strike mandate from members at SaskTel, after subsidiary SecurTek voted overwhelmingly in favor of a strike.

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Saskatchewan Crown workers target Premier in new campaign

With bargaining stalled at seven crown corporations in Saskatchewan, Unifor has launched a new, highly visible campaign in Regina and Saskatoon.

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SecurTek members in Saskatchewan vote overwhelmingly in favor of a strike

For those who are not aware, SecurTek is a Crown Corporation owned by SaskTel and they are proud union members from Unifor Local 1-S.  As you may be aware, SecurTek reached an impasse at the bargaining table.  A provincial mediator was assigned to help work through the impasse, much to the Union’s disappointment, SecurTek released the mediator from his duties after about 4 hours of mediation out of a 3 day block.

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Media Release: Saskatchewan’s crown workers rally in countdown to legal strike position

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REGINA – Unifor workers from Saskatchewan’s seven crown corporations say the clock is ticking and they deserve a fair collective agreement.

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Op-Ed: Mistreatment of Crown Workers Hurts Services

Negotiating a fair collective agreement for Crown workers is an investment in the health of Saskatchewan’s public services, writes Jerry Dias.

Read more

Read the blog at My Crowns
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