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Wall Government Can Avoid Strike Action With Independent, Binding Arbitration

Yorkton (May 25, 2011) – The Wall government can avoid further strike action by Saskatchewan’s three-thousand specialized health care professionals simply by agreeing to submit Health Sciences’ current contract dispute with health care employers to independent, binding arbitration, Health Sciences President Cathy Dickson said.

“It’s time for the Wall government and health care employers to end the excuses and get on with the job of settling this contract dispute, which is now more than two years old,” Dickson told Health Sciences members on the picket line at the Yorkton Regional Health Centre.

“The people of Saskatchewan strongly support independent, binding arbitration. The results of a province-wide poll Health Sciences released yesterday, confirm this alternative has the support of more than two-thirds of the population (67.5%),” Dickson noted.

“The more the Wall government and health care employers try to avoid independent, binding arbitration the more suspicious we all should be that they are afraid an independent third-party will expose their contract proposals as unfair and unreasonable,” Dickson said.

“Certainly an independent third party wouldn’t buy health care employers’ claims that they are offering our specialized health care professions ‘competitive’ wages and benefits,” Dickson said.
“No doubt an independent arbitrator would ask how employers can claim this, when right here in the Sunrise Health Region they have been unable to fill positions in their hospital pharmacy for more than a year, they have been advertising for a Physical Therapist since November of 2009, an Occupational Therapist since November, 2010 and all four psychologist positions in their mental health program sit vacant,” Dickson noted.

“No doubt an independent arbitrator would ask employers to explain their false claim that the number of Health Sciences positions have increased in recent years. They would soon discover that the employers base this calculation on the number of hours worked, not positions, which only supports our argument that too many of our professionals are being asked to do the work of two or three people for a single salary! An independent arbitrator would soon discover that here in the Sunrise Health Region the total number of Health Sciences members has actually decreased by eleven in the past year,” Dickson added.

“The facts are that health care employers have chronically under-staffed our professions, which risks the safety of many Saskatchewan patients, and forces others to wait unacceptable lengths of time to access needed health care services. We say let an independent third party review the facts and see who is telling the people of Saskatchewan the full story. Health Sciences does not fear that independent scrutiny. What do the Wall government and its health care employers have to fear?” Dickson asked.

For Further Information Contact:

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

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