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SAHO ‘Final Offer’ Contains Hidden Contract Take-Aways

Saskatoon (June 15, 2011) – The ‘final offer’ tabled last week by health care employers has been found to contain at least two hidden contract take-aways that would result in a salary loss of approximately 3% for about five-hundred Health Sciences professionals, and reduced financial recognition for educational achievement, Health Sciences President Cathy Dickson said.

“Health care employers and their SAHO negotiators tried to pull a fast one by presenting wage schedules in their ‘final offer’ that specifically broke an existing provision of our collective agreement. When we pointed this out to them, assuming it was a mistake on their part, they finally confirmed in writing it was their intention all along to change that contract provision without telling us!” Dickson told a meeting of the Health Sciences Provincial Council.

“Under our current collective agreement with SAHO, approximately 550 members who occupy “senior” positions are guaranteed a wage level that is 8% above their corresponding base classification. This is to recognize that “senior” positions will often require supervision of other staff, responsibility for scheduling of work or even responsibility for new hires and performance appraisals. This 8% differential (what some call a compression adjustment) has been in place in our contract since 2005,” Dickson explained.

“When we demanded a correction to have the ‘final offer’ wage schedules reflect the current contract provision, SAHO had to admit that they were trying to eliminate this provision. In a letter to Health Sciences, SAHO confirmed: “It was the understanding of the SAHO Bargaining Committee that negotiation of the wage schedule and associated market adjustments would, upon agreement of HSAS, by its nature override the language concerning an 8% compression as contained in Article 21.01 A) Senior.”

“For nearly all “senior” classifications, the SAHO ‘final offer’ wage schedules reflect an average differential of about 5%, a reduction from the current 8%. It’s interesting to note that out-of-scope health care managers are guaranteed a wage differential of 10% between their wage rates and the rates of the highest paid staff they supervise. SAHO says that differential is required to attract and retain workers in out-of-scope positions,” Dickson noted.

“Another take-away hidden in the ‘final offer’ wage schedules is an unannounced reduction in the wage differential based on 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, 26% for PhD Psychologists versus Masters Psychologists. The SAHO ‘final offer’ attempts to reduce this recognition to 10.5% for most professions and 15% for psychologists. This hidden contract take-away attempts to devalue educational attainment in the specialized health care professions,” Dickson noted.

“Why should anybody trust these people ever again? They play games at the negotiating table, they mislead the public about staffing and service levels and they spend our public tax dollars to spread their misinformation through misleading advertising,” Dickson concluded.

For Further Information Contact:

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

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