Fri, 5 May 2017
On May 3, 2017 Rhonda Derby and Cory Szczepanski COPE Local 397 Union Reps were requested to attend a meeting with Rob Mcleod Director of Employee Relations. He wanted to advise them of some restructuring of the SGI Employee Relations Department. They were then advised that Tamara Erhardt Executive Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer and Andrew Cartmell President and CEO wanted to talk to them.
They received the same message that Andrew sent to all staff of SGI and at approximately the same time you all received the email. The Union had no idea that this was happening, there was no talks prior to this meeting.
The Union was advised that SGI has met with 11 different companies around a possible partnership with SGI. Andrew made it clear that there have been no offers and no deal to date. The discussion was a result to the introduction of Bill 40 and through the direction of the current government. Andrew went on to assure them that there would only be a deal if it fell under the Saskatchewan Party’s outline to strengthen the crown, diversify the economy, and create jobs. Tamara stated that this would allow them to hire more employees and make them stronger.
Cory asked if these conversations were going on prior to the introduction of Bill 40. Andrew advised that this has been ongoing since January/February, 2017.
Cory asked if there has been any discussion around strategy and what the future could look like as our members are very worried specifically about rural offices and the possibility of closures. The union asked for assurance or a commitment that our rural branches would not be on the chopping block. Andrew commented that there has been no discussion around what they would be doing with SGI Canada. Tamara said that they would not give a commitment that rural branches won’t be cut.
The union stated that we just want to know if there is a partnership and an expansion of SGI will Saskatchewan still be at the heart of SGI. We could not receive a commitment on this.
For now, it is business as usual.
The COPE 397 Executive Board meet last night and discussed this in great detail. We are very concerned and realize that we have a very busy time ahead of us. We will continue to fight hard for all our members and all the citizens of Saskatchewan. We need to continue to educate our members and the public about the consequences of losing our Crown Corporations.
I have a meeting with the (SFL) Saskatchewan Federation of Labour Central Strategy Committee on May 16. This is a Political Action Committee of all union leaders and/or SFL Executive Officers. We are going to discuss the Strategic Plan of Action for the upcoming months. Our own Political Action and Communications Committees will be meeting after this meeting to discuss what else we can do. We will be looking for members that are interested in assisting us with our campaign. We will require people to help distribute information, attend rallies across the province and help educate the public.
We have received many inquiries on management’s recent Merit Pay. Unfortunately, we have no control as a Union on the compensation and or wages paid to management. However, as citizens we do have a say. I implore each and every one of you to lobby MLA’s and let your voice be heard. Please tell all your co-workers, family and friends to do the same. If you want some guidance on this please contact your Executive, Prairie Council Member or Steward.
We will be having a Stewards Conference call later this month as well.
Our next General Membership Meeting is June 8, 2017 at 7.30 p.m. at the Union Centre 2709 12th Ave. I encourage you all to attend for further updates.
We have been asked numerous times to open our Collective Agreement and to discuss options to address the 3.5% compensation reduction that SGI has been asked to find in order to avoid, or reduce, other actions which may be required to meet the Budget objectives. Each and every time we have been asked we have strongly stated NO! We will not agree to this! See you at the bargaining table.
Your bargaining team will be meeting later this month to begin work on our proposal package for bargaining with SGI. If you have not sent in your proposals please do by May 15, 2017.
Please continue to follow us on Facebook and visit our Website regularly for further updates.
Our Union is only as strong as our members. Please continue to assist us with this fight.