Workers Deserve Fairness and Respect!

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In the 2017 Spring budget, the Sask Party announced a mandated 3.5% reduction for all public sector workers. This rollback attacks workers and their communities on so many levels. Due to public pressure, the Minister of Finance announced there would be no rollback in 2017 but we need to let our government know a rollback is unacceptable for all years to come. Let's keep the pressure on! Send the following letter to the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Health to stop the attack on workers and their communities.

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Dear Labour Minister Don Morgan and Finance Minister Donna Harpauer,

We know the Saskatchewan Government has tried to impose a 3.5% rollback upon all public sector workers. While I acknowledge our government’s decision to withdraw its mandate of a 3.5% reduction 2017 fiscal year, I implore you to accept that public sector workers won’t be handing over 3.5% next year or any year going forward.

We can appreciate that the government is interested in balancing its budget. The hardworking people who work in health care, education, community-based organizations (CBOs), and all public services and Crowns are also concerned with balancing their own budgets. Many working people working did not experience the boom that your government has talked about for the past decade. In 2008, your government created the Public Service Essential Services Act, which made bargaining for better wages extremely difficult over the last ten years. Remember, this law was overturned by the Supreme Court of Canada as it was found to be unconstitutional Now this round of bargaining, you’ve asked for a 3.5% reduction. That’s an insult to us all.

Why?

First, I find this rollback offensive because the cost of living has risen drastically, but our wages have not kept up; only MLAs get to enjoy cost of living increases annually. This cut on our wages would affect both urban and rural communities as our wages help support local and small businesses – a cut on our wage is a cut on our local grocery store. Secondly, by removing legislated resident care in long term care and chronically under-funding health care, education and CBOs, you’ve made our jobs more difficult than ever. Thirdly, I feel this government’s mandate has led to bargaining in the media - should we bargain with SAHO, school regions, or our Sask Party government directly? Lastly, I am very concerned about the affects these rollbacks will have on our public services – retention and recruitment are already serious issues in Saskatchewan as our hard to recruit lists have almost doubled in length over the last ten years. By expecting rollbacks, you are devaluing the people that work in this sector which causes a decline in morale. These rollbacks will also cause people to leave these difficult work environments.

If you think it’s fair to publicly ask public sector workers for a 3.5% rollback and then say you support fair bargaining when we meet and write you, I have a few asks of you as well. Take the rollbacks off the table, out of the media, and out of your budget. Allow us to bargain fairly so that we can afford to put food on the table and pay our bills. Legislate safe staffing levels so patients, students and clients receive the care they deserve while supporting those that work in these important sectors.

The truth is, we love our jobs. We love the people we care for. We just ask you to treat us with respect. Pay us what we’re worth. Let us bargain fairly, and take any rollbacks off the table for this year, and for all years to come. I look forward to your response.