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SASKATOON: Three Saskatchewan health unions representing 25,000 health workers announced today that joint job evaluation bargaining with the Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations has broken down.

The unions the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the Service Employees International Union and the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees Union began bargaining job evaluation with SAHO in March.

The job evaluation talks have reached an impasse because SAHO and the provincial government are unwilling to commit to the same implementation timeline for our members that was bargained with the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses, said Steve Foley, president of the CUPE Health Care Council.

SGEU representative Tom McKnight said SUNs job evaluation program would be fully implemented by April 1, 2004. However, SAHO has rejected a Letter of Understanding tabled on April 17 by the CUPE, SEIU and SGEU joint bargaining committee that proposed a phase-in period for all pay and internal equity adjustments. The letter proposed a two-year phase-in period for equity adjustments calculated to be less than 5% of payroll, a three-year phase-in for adjustments between 5 and 10% of payroll and a four-year phase-in for adjustments over 10% of payroll.

Our members, who are predominantly women, have experienced unacceptable delays because SAHO is not sharing the necessary data to finalize the job evaluations, said Foley. Yet, the very information our Joint Job Evaluation Steering Committee has been requesting was shared by SAHO with the Department of Health during SUN negotiations.

CUPE, SEIU and SGEU have requested a meeting with Premier Lorne Calvert to express their concerns with the status of job evaluation talks. The unions say it is necessary to meet with the government to ensure funding to implement the entire project within a reasonable period of time.

We need to know if SAHO and the government are committed to internal and pay equity for all health workers, said Maureen Fryett. All we are asking for is equal treatment.

The three health unions represent dietary, laundry and housekeeping aides, licensed practical nurses, x-ray and lab technologists, maintenance staff, cleaners, clerical workers, special care and home care aides.

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For more information contact:
Steve Foley, CUPE: (306) 382-8262
Tom McKnight, SGEU: (306) 961-9011
Maureen Fryett, SEIU: 652-1011 ext. 226