Saskatchewan’s local and provincial economies got a substantial boost last year, thanks to the higher wages earned by unionized workers, a recent study has found.
In its Union Advantage 2014 report, the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) surveyed union membership and wages in provinces and cities across Canada. It found that union members earned substantially more than their non-union counterparts nationwide, with Saskatchewan showing particular progress in raising wages for women and young workers.
Those higher union wages translated into millions of extra dollars being spent in members’ communities, benefitting local businesses and creating local jobs, the CLC reports.
Progressive Labour Lawyer, Rick Engel, has represented SGEU since 1987, on a variety of legal matters, ranging from employee grievances to the Long-Term Disability Plan, and most recently, in challenging the changes to provincial labour laws.
Hundreds of SGEU members and supporters took to the streets today to voice their opposition to the sell-off of Saskatchewan public services.
Government has recently announced its intention to privatize food services in corrections and young offender facilities, and to close four rural public liquor stores in order to hand over that business to private franchises.
Barb Byers, former SGEU president and current Executive VP of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), kicked off the second day of convention with an inspiring presentation on the Together Fairness Works campaign - a massive member engagement initiative that encourages union members to have conversations with others about the importance of advocating for workplace rights such as, vacation time, fair wages, equal pay, decent pensions, safe workplaces, parental leave.
"The labour movement isn't just about decent jobs, it's about a better life for everyone," said Byers.
SGEU is excited to bring a social media contest to our annual convention taking place in Saskatoon April 10-12!
Share a picture of yourself or other delegates and guests at convention and you could win a prize. Tag your tweets with #SGEUConv2014 along with Saskatoon’s hashtag #yxe. Tweet comments and photos to @SGEU or post to SGEU’s Facebook page to enter.
Here are some other relevant twitter hashtags to include in your posts:
In order to fight the attacks from government, we need to keep our union strong and engage as many members as possible. That’s why SGEU is being pro-active - reaching out to grassroots members.
We are inviting convention delegates and guests to be interviewed on camera about some key union issues. You don’t have to be an expert. We want to capture the thoughts of everyday union members and workers. We want to use these interviews to create short video clips that can be posted on our website to help inform and activate others.
Wendy Simonson, the current Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL) VP and member of the Health Sector provided first-time and youth delegates with a brief overview on governance procedures prior to the opening of convention, alongside Education Officer Kelly Hardy, coordinator of Leadership Development and other educational initiatives at SGEU.
All delegates and guests will receive tickets to the evening Banquet taking place on Friday night where the 2014 SGEU Life Members will be honoured, followed by entertainment from Hendon, Saskatchewan performer, James Williams One Man Band.
If you're not attending the evening, please turn in your tickets to the SGEU Convention office on site. Extra tickets will be made available for those wishing to bring a guest, while they last. Otherwise, tickets will be available for purchase at $20 a piece.
We regret that the two former SGEU members elected for Life Membership at the opening day of convention this year are no longer with us. Anne Burkholder, of the Community Services Sector; and Tracey Kurtenbach, of the Education Sector, were wholehearted activists and leaders in the labour movement.
Anne worked at the Saskatoon Interval House as a counsellor for battered women and served on numerous committees within SGEU, including Vice President of the Community Services Sector, until her health would not support her activity.
The convention hall at the Radisson Hotel in Saskatoon was smudged by SGEU Public Service member, Robert Ballantyne last night in preparation for SGEU's 2014 Convention. The opening ceremony commenced this morning with a very special prayer from Elder Margaret Rockthunder of the Piapot Reserve. Opening greetings from Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL) President Larry Hubich, Saskatoon Mayor, Don Atchison, and SGEU President Bob Bymoen, followed.
More than 200 delegates from across Saskatchewan will be heading to the Radisson Hotel in Saskatoon from April 10-12 for the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees` Union`s (SGEU) 2014 annual convention.
Members will be voting on resolutions, electing new term representatives, and raising funds to support the worthy causes of their fellow brothers and sisters in different Locals.
Government’s decision to close four small town liquor stores is a blow to rural communities that rely on public services and public service jobs to meet local needs and keep local economies vibrant, according to SGEU.
Four full-time and eight part-time employees of the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) will be affected by store closures in Langenburg, Ituna, Ponteix, and Kerrobert.
SGEU’s Professional Services negotiating committee has reached a tentative agreement with the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST).
The union negotiating committee is making arrangements to take the tentative deal to its membership for ratification. “I will be sharing the details of the tentative agreement with SGEU members at the ratification meetings”, says Terri Hamill, chairperson of SGEU’s Professional Services SIAST negotiating committee.
Government should stop contracting out important public services, like engineering design work for the province’s highways, because of mounting evidence that privatization is a costly mistake, according to SGEU.
“We have been expressing concerns about privatization and contracting out in the Ministry of Highways for years,” says SGEU President Bob Bymoen. “Recent reports and assessments by industry representatives suggest that our concerns were not unfounded.”
The recent opening of a new private liquor store in Saskatoon signals the erosion of public liquor sales in Saskatchewan, and means less money for important public services like schools, hospitals and roads, according to SGEU.
Public liquor stores generated a net income of $232 million in 2012 – 2013. “That profit was returned to the people of Saskatchewan, and is used to build stronger communities and help keep families safe and healthy,” says SGEU President Bob Bymoen.
SGEU has been working hard since 2007 to protect your basic right to bargain collectively for better wages and working conditions, and our efforts are starting to pay off, according to SGEU President Bob Bymoen.
“After years of campaigning, lobbying and legal action, we are starting to see a few positive developments in the struggle for fair labour laws,” he says.
The government is moving ahead on its proposal to privatize corrections and young offender food services despite concerns about escalating costs, safety risks and a loss of public accountability, according to SGEU.
A Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued February 25, 2014 to companies interested in taking over the full management and operations of the food services in the adult corrections and young offender centres in Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert. The closing date is April 8, 2014.
On Saturday February 15th, The Regina and District Labour Council (RDLC) held their Diversity Recognized Equity Conference at the SGEU Hall in Regina. The conference was well-attended by members of SGEU, UNIFOR and SEIU-West.
Guest speakers included Environmental Activist, Susan Deranger; First Nations Women Researcher, Wendy Whitebear; Community Activist, Reverend Flor Linantud and Disabilities Spokesperson, Mike Richter.
The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour issued the following statement and news release on February 6, 2014, after Premier Brad Wall appealed to the Federal Government to strip working people at CN of their constitutional rights.