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On May 11, the three unions representing 25,000 health care providers in the province presented a new offer of settlement in contract discussions with the Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations (SAHO).

The offer recognizes and values the full range of professional skills offered by healthcare providers,” said Gordon Campbell, President of the CUPE Health Care Council. “These are key people who schedule surgeries, test for cancer or the H1N1virus, provide skilled nursing care and therapy services, ensure quality infection control and nutrition services, among many other health care services.”

Bonnie Erickson, the Chairperson of the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees’ Union (SGEU) Health Providers Negotiating Committee, said “why is it that our members are the only ones in the health sector that are expected to pay more for licensing, even though they earn less each day? It is these types of equity issues the unions addressed in their offer.”

The unions point out that the cost of addressing the equity issues in their comprehensive plan is minimal and does not put health care providers above the compensation rates applied to others in the public sector. In addition, more and more of union members will exit the health care system because they overworked, understaffed and disrespected. Vacancies will remain unfilled until an equitable resolve is achieved.

The Province’s health care providers include special care aides; licensed practical nurses; food services workers; laundry, housekeeping and activity personnel; sterile processing workers; maintenance, administrative, clerical, therapeutic and recreational workers; and medical technologists and technicians. SEIU represents 11,000 health care providers in four health regions. SGEU represents 2,000 health care providers in three health regions. CUPE Healthcare Council represents 12,600 health care providers in five health regions.