CUPE, together with the other health care unions in Saskatchewan, reached a temporary letter of understanding with SAHO late in the night on April 15, 2020 that will, we believe, help protect our most vulnerable citizens and our dedicated health care workers across the province.
We have already seen our members getting redeployed to other areas, such as the testing and assessment sites. We believe that the rights of our members must be protected even during unprecedented events such as this pandemic. This letter of understanding is enforceable only for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we believe that it provides some level of certainty and protection in uncertain times.
As we have seen across the country, long-term care homes have been hit hard by COVID-19. This is true for both residents and workers in those facilities. To protect our members and residents, CUPE has agreed to the following provisions:
- Our members who work in more than one facility will be cohorted to the facility of their choice. Only if there is an urgent need will it take precedence over their choice.
- Guaranteed hours for all permanent part-time and full-time workers will be protected. Therefore, if you are cohorted to a facility and are unable to work at another facility that you have a position in, you will pick up those hours at the facility you are limited to. We anticipate that this will be used first in long-term care but can be extended to other areas of health care, including acute care.
- There will no new layoffs during this time.
- Relief employees will not be removed from casual or relief lists at facilities they are unable to work at due to cohorting.
- Relief employees will be able to volunteer for additional work through the labour pool.