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Health Sciences Negotiating Committee Welcomes Tentative Agreement

Regina (July 8, 2011) – The tentative agreement reached between health care employers and the Health Sciences Negotiating Committee represents progress from the so-called ‘final offer’ that SAHO presented to the union one month ago, Health Sciences President Cathy Dickson said.

“This tentative agreement restores the wage differential guaranteed to those who occupy ‘senior’ positions. It restores long-established wage differentials for educational achievement. It provides full wage retroactivity to April 1, 2009, and it sees SAHO agreeing to drop a number of proposed contract take-aways,” Dickson said at the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement with SAHO.

“The Health Sciences Negotiating Committee will recommend the tentative agreement to our Executive Council, and the Council will then determine its recommendation with respect to the tentative agreement, which will be sent to all our members for review and their vote. We expect this process to be completed within thirty days,” Dickson explained.

“The tentative agreement restores the 8% wage differential guaranteed to 565 health professionals who occupy ‘senior’ positions. This wage differential, which has been in place in our contract since 2005, recognizes that ‘senior’ positions will often require supervision of other staff, responsibility for scheduling of work or even responsibility for new hires and performance appraisals. The SAHO ‘final offer’ had attempted to erode this differential, but the tentative agreement restores it,” Dickson explained.

“The tentative agreement also restores the longstanding wage differentials offered to health professionals as a result of educational achievement. For a decade, the wage differential by educational achievement (Degree versus Diploma, Masters versus Baccalaureate) has been 16.6% for most of our professions. The SAHO ‘final offer’ attempted to reduce this recognition, but the tentative agreement restores it,” Dickson noted.

“While we believe this agreement represents significant improvement from the employers’ so- called ‘final offer’, we recognize that our job is far from done. Health Sciences will continue to call for an end to the chronic under-staffing of our professionals, which has created long waiting lists for many of our services, and a dangerous lack of access to others. SAHO has refused to accept a Professional Standards clause in this contract. We will continue to call for health care employers to be made publicly accountable for their staffing decisions,” Dickson said.

“While this agreement provides Rural EMS workers with the first increase in their Stand By wage rate in twelve years (from $4.12 per hour to $5.00 per hour), we hold the view that this wage rate should be increased to at least 85% of the Saskatchewan Minimum Wage to keep rural emergency services from continuing to lose qualified staff,” Dickson added.

“While this tentative agreement may represent the best that can be achieved today, Health Sciences will continue to bring these and other shortcomings to the public’s attention in the months ahead,” Dickson concluded.

For Further Information Contact:

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

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