Saskatchewan is changing fast. Great grain prices, soaring property values, rising resource revenues, and the greatest percentage population growth in Canada have the province zooming into prosperity. Socialist laws that allowed the government to expropriate private property and assets related to potash are being repealed. And the provincial unions are losing unbalanced priviledges and even fighting one another.
The Saskatchewan Party is changing the labour environment in only its second week in the legislature. New legislation would force union certification drives to get 45 percent of workers before being able to have a vote (up from the present 25). The gag law that prevented employers to communicate with employees during such a drive would be removed. Union certification would have to be conducted via secret ballot. Finally, Saskatchewan would join all the other provinces by having essential services legislation. Changes dubbed "democratic" and "moderate" by the labour minister Rob Norris were called "the worst legislation for workers in the country" by Saskatchewan Federation of Labour President Larry Hubich.
Never mind. These days Saskatchewan unions are locking out other unions. For more than a month, the Saskatchewan Government Employees Union has locked out the Communication, Energy, and Paperworkers Union 481. Despite negotiating healthy wage increases for SGEU over the years, the CEP has been without a contract for 2 1/2 years and has been locked out since November 6.
Strangely, the website chronicling this dispute, www.sgeustaffstrike.ca, actually cites this quote of the week:
“The Sask Party and their minions in the SGEU leadership will not win the day. Stay strong CEP 481 -- you have justice on your side.”
When in the past, Sask Party labour critics spoke at Saskatchewan Federation of Labour meetings, they were greeted with steely silence. How can anyone honestly suggest that a lockout that began while the NDP was in power was concocted through the minions of the Sask Party?!
Thursday, December 20, 2007
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