Saskatoon (June 16, 2011) – More than one-hundred specialized health care professionals in four different health regions will be on strike as of eight o’clock this morning (Thursday), Health Sciences Association President, Cathy Dickson announced.
“A number of Health Sciences members in the Prairie North, Kelsey Trail, Saskatoon and Sun Country health regions will be off the job as we escalate strike action to multiple health regions and communities. How long these health care professionals will remain on strike, and where and when additional job action will be launched, will be announced at a later time,” Dickson said.
“We have been forced to escalating strike action, because SAHO and the Wall government continue to refuse to bargain in good faith or consider our request to submit our contract dispute to independent, interest-based, binding arbitration,” Dickson said.
“In the Prairie North health region, health care professionals today will be on strike and picketing at the Frontier Mall in North Battleford. In the Kelsey Trail health region, health care professionals from Tisdale and Melfort will be picketing at the Melfort Mall in front of Sask Party MLA Rod Gantefoer’s constituency office. In the Saskatoon health region, health care professionals from Humboldt will be picketing outside the constituency office of Sask Party Cabinet Minister Donna Harpauer at 632-9th Street. And in the Sun Country health region, health care professionals from Weyburn will be picketing outside the constituency office of Sask Party Cabinet Minister Dustin Duncan at 35-5th Street,” Dickson reported.
“We have been able to escalate our strike action, in spite of the Wall government’s unfair Essential Services legislation, and the way it is being misused by health care employers. A prime example is the Sun Country health region, where managers have deemed 92% of all Health Sciences members as ‘essential’ under this law. This compares to the Prairie North health region where 53% of the same professionals, providing the same kinds of services, have been deemed ‘essential’. Essential Services legislation was supposed to be for the protection of the public, not the convenience of incompetent health care managers!” Dickson noted.
“It’s also frustrating to see health regions continue to play games with their essential services lists. For example, in the Kelsey Trail health region, where no job action had yet taken place, health care managers increased the percentage of professionals deemed ‘essential’ from 44 to 55 per cent in recent days. If these professionals are ‘essential’ to public safety, why were they not listed as such from the beginning? Here too we are seeing health care managers abusing an already bad law to try to make up for their inability to plan,” Dickson said.
“No wonder our recent provincial public opinion poll found that Saskatchewan residents think Essential Services legislation has hurt, not helped health care contract negotiations by a margin of nearly two to one. And no wonder 67% of the public supports the resolution of our 27-month contract dispute through independent, binding arbitration. Why does the Wall government continue to ignore public opinion?” Dickson asked.
For Further Information Contact:
Cathy Dickson (President, Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan)