New collective agreements mark first time all unionized Sask. health-care workers reach settlement under SHA

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The Saskatchewan Union of Nurses (SUN) and the Service Employees' International Union West (SEIU-West) ratified new collective bargaining agreements with the Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations on Thursday. According to a news release from the province, this is the first time a settlement has been reached for all unionized Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) workers since the SHA was formed in December 2017. SUN's six-year deal runs from April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2024. It included no wage increases for the first two years, followed by a one per cent hike this year and three consecutive increases of two per cent after that.

It's also "one of the first agreements in health care to recognize the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission," the release said. The SEIU-West five-year agreement runs from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2022. In the first two years, there are no wage increases. That's followed by a one per cent hike and a couple of two per cent increases — plus the option for a sixth year, also at two per cent.

"I am very pleased to see a successful conclusion to the collective bargaining with our important health unions," Health Minister Paul Merriman said in the release. "I want to thank everyone for their collaborative efforts to reach these milestones and to continue to provide valued health services to the residents of our province." SUN represents more than 10,000 registered nurses, registered psychiatric nurses and nurse practitioners across Saskatchewan. SEIU-West represents another 11,500 health-care workers — from long-term care to mental health services.