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CUPE members working with the Regina Health District as medical laboratory technologists walked off the job in an illegal strike October 25 to press demands for a wage increase.

Radiology technologists working in Regina recently got a $1 to $1.50 wage adjustment to reflect the fact there’s a huge demand for their services. Lab technologists – who have always earned the same rate as the radiologists – are demanding the same increase, pointing to the fact they too are losing trained specialists and having difficulty attracting replacements.

John Welden, the chief negotiator of the CUPE Health Care Council, says the union has been trying for the past few weeks to get the employer group (SAHO) to address the serious problems facing medical technologists.

We know there is a crisis situation here caused by high vacancy rates and crushing workloads. And we know there must be market adjustments to attract qualified personnel to work here,” he says.

CUPE and two other unions representing medical technologists presented a provincial letter of understanding to SAHO on October 23. The proposal provides a uniform pay schedule and a quick process to deal with the staff recruitment and retention problems in line with a settlement reached a few weeks ago that covered radiology technologists working in the Regina Health District. However, SAHO has refused to agree to the proposal.

Individual health districts have communicated they want this issue addressed quickly by SAHO. So far, however, we haven’t received any proposal,” Weldon says.