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Escalating Strike Action in Saskatoon

Saskatoon (June 13, 2011) – About four-hundred specialized health care professionals in the Saskatoon Health Region will be on strike at eight o’clock this morning (Monday), Health Sciences Association President, Cathy Dickson has announced.

“This marks the second straight work day for strike action in Saskatoon, and represents an escalation from the three-hundred members who were on the picket lines last Friday. Strike action will continue to escalate as long as SAHO and the Wall government refuse to return to the bargaining table to negotiate in good faith or until they agree to send our contract dispute to independent, interest-based, binding arbitration,” Dickson said.

“A wide variety of health care professionals will be off the job in the Saskatoon Health Region today with picket lines set up at four Saskatoon locations: Saskatoon City Hospital, Royal University Hospital and the constituency offices of two Wall government cabinet ministers, Don Morgan, Minister of Labour and Rob Norris, Minister of Advanced Education, Employment and Immigration,” Dickson added.

“How long these specialized health care professionals will be on strike, and where and when additional job action will be launched, will be announced by the union at a later time,” Dickson said.

“We apologize for this disruption of health care services, but urge our patients and clients to contact Wall government MLAs in their local areas, demanding that SAHO return to the bargaining table to negotiate in good faith or that the government agree to send this dispute to independent, binding arbitration,” Dickson added.

“For more than a month, the Wall government and SAHO refused to accept our request for independent, binding arbitration, claiming they wanted to see a new contract negotiated at the bargaining table. However, once we returned to the bargaining table, SAHO slapped down what it now says is a non-negotiable ‘final offer’, and promptly ran from the bargaining table to avoid any discussion at all. How can anyone describe that as good faith bargaining?” Dickson asked.

“Health care employers and the Wall government have shown they have no intention of bargaining in good faith. They have no credibility in refusing our request to send this contract dispute to independent, interest-based, binding arbitration. A recent province-wide public opinion poll found 67% favored binding arbitration as the best way to resolve our contract dispute. People just want to see our contract settled and health care services to improve. If the Wall government wants to avoid a province-wide health care strike it needs to order health care employers to engage in proper negotiations or agree to binding arbitration in the form we have requested,” Dickson concluded.

For Further Information Contact:

Cathy Dickson
President, Health Sciences
1-306-361-5655

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