Workers at the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency have rejected a final offer from the Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations (SAHO), but are extending an invitation to work with a mediator to find solutions to the bargaining impasse.
"It comes as no surprise to the negotiating committee that our members believe this final offer is unfair. Hopefully, the result of this vote will help the employer realize we are miles apart on what the parties see as a fair offer," says Trent Edwards, SGEU's Saskatchewan Cancer Agency negotiating committee co-chair.
"We hope SAHO will also realize that the current bargaining process is not working. We need to look at alternative measures to help us reach an agreement or we will have little choice but to escalate our current job action into strike action," Edwards says.
Seventy-eight per cent of cancer care workers voted to reject the employer's last offer.
"We do not want to jeopardize patient care, which is why we have been asking for an impartial third party to settle contract disputes, now and in the future," adds Amanda Reid, a radiation therapist.
But government has refused independent binding arbitration. Now cancer care workers are asking the government to work with a mediator to achieve an agreement.
Key outstanding issues include full retroactivity for nurses and binding arbitration for future rounds of bargaining, so that disputes can be settled without strike action.
Currently, staff are refusing to work voluntary overtime at the Cancer Agency to put pressure on government and SAHO.
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