To whom it may concern:

I am writing to call on the Government of Saskatchewan to take immediate steps to address the serious issues facing CUPE Local 600 members in crisis and planned respite homes across the province.

We are calling for the employer to move towards a 12-hour shift model, which is already a standard in health care. This proposal would come at a minimal cost to the employer and could end up saving money in terms of a reduction of overtime and an increase in morale for both clients and employees.

Twelve-hour shifts make sense for the following reasons:
• Decrease in handoff: Instead of three shifts attending to clients in a 24-hour period, only two shifts are needed. Fewer shift changes between staff mean less disruption to clients and fewer chances for miscommunication. Shorter shifts limit time during the day for outings and special activities.
• Work-life balance: Currently, employees only have two or less days off before starting another stretch of six days on. In this time they have to recover from night shifts. With 12-hour shifts employees are working the same number of hours over a nine-week period, but they will often have a four-day weekend. This gives them time to recover and time for their families.
• Longer shifts are easy to schedule: Longer shifts for staff make for easier scheduling from a managerial standpoint. It is one less shift to schedule every day.

Why a fair economic increase makes sense:
• CUPE Local 600 has not received an economic increase since 2015. Since 2016 the Consumer Price Index (CPI) has increased by 6.8 per cent.
• CUPE Local 600 is requesting a reasonable economic increase. Unfortunately, we are being offered less than what our counterparts in all of Saskatchewan have received.

Members have reported fatigue, health problems, and mood issues all from the lack of rest away from work. As a result, we are seeing increased sick time, increased reliance on overtime, and increased mandating hours by the employer. Our members are being run ragged. We deserve a solution before this health and safety issue gets any further out of control.

I urge the Government of Saskatchewan move to resolve the current round of negotiations and take action to address work-life balance.