Prince Albert (June 20, 2011) – Rotating strikes by Saskatchewan’s specialized health care professionals enter a seventh week today, with about three hundred Health Sciences members off the job at eight o’clock this morning in Regina, Moose Jaw, North Battleford and Prince Albert.
“Specialized health care professionals would rather be serving their patients and clients than walking a picket line, but we have been given no choice by health care employers and the Wall government, who refuse to bargain in good faith or agree to send our lengthy contract dispute to independent, interest-based, binding arbitration,” Health Sciences President, Cathy Dickson said in announcing the latest rotating strikes.
“How long these specialized health care professionals will be on strike, and where and when additional job action will be launched, will be announced in due course,” Dickson said.
“In the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region, health care professionals will be picketing outside Regina’s Pasqua Hospital, 4101 Dewdney Avenue. In the Five Hills Health Region, striking health care professionals will set up pickets in Moose Jaw at the W. G. Davies Building, 110 Ominica Street West. In the Prairie North Health Region, health care professionals will set up a picket line in North Battleford at the Frontier Mall. In the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region, striking health care professionals will set up their picket line in Prince Albert outside the region’s Addictions Services office at 101-15th Street East,” 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 27-month contract dispute to independent, binding arbitration,” Dickson added.
“Health care employers and the Wall government have no credibility in refusing our request to send this contract dispute to independent, interest-based, binding arbitration. The government has claimed that it wanted to see our dispute settled at the bargaining table, but SAHO has presented what it calls a ‘final offer’, and refuses to return to the bargaining table. The government and health care employers have run out of credible excuses for avoiding arbitration,” Dickson noted.
“A recent province-wide public opinion poll found 67% favored binding arbitration as the best way to resolve our contract dispute. People want to see our contract settled, the strike action stop, and health care services 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.
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President, Health Sciences