Bargaining Update - August 20, 2019

Sisters and Brothers,

Within the coming weeks, our campaign fighting for fairness for Crown workers will come to a head.

As you are aware from our update last week, your bargaining committee has rejected the insulting monetary offer put forward by SaskTel which is clearly the mandate of the Sask Party government.

This past week our union has been working with the other crown worker bargaining units represented by Unifor as they try to work through their own struggles at the bargaining table.

The strike votes at the other crowns are being scheduled as we write this update.

Your bargaining committee has been in contact with SaskTel and we have scheduled three days of bargaining on September 18th, 19th and 20th. We also have agreement that their will be no strike or lockout actions during that time. The 20th of September represents the 60th (expires after 60 days) day of our strike mandate and we will have to make tough decisions on the final day of bargaining next month.

As always, we remain optimistic and focused on a fair deal for our members.

Please continue to support your bargaining committee through our solidarity actions in the workplace and stay tuned for further updates.

For more information and updates, please go to or

In Solidarity,

Your Unifor Bargaining Committee

Bargaining Update - August 14, 2019

Sisters and Brothers,

The bargaining committee met with SaskTel and the Federal Mediator August 12-14.

Much to the disappointment of our bargaining committee there has been no movement on the priority non-monetary issues.

  • The monetary package which has been tabled is as follows: 2019 – 0%, 2020 – 0%, 2021 – 1% and the company has not responded to any of our other non-monetary requests.

This is not a fair monetary package. What has become abundantly clear is that the company is bound by the mandate as set out by the government, who, as you know gave themselves a 2.3 percent cost of living increase this past April.

We will be evaluating our next steps with our National Union and will be escalating our campaign to stand up for crown workers in Saskatchewan.

Please continue to wear your blue “stand up for crown workers” t-shirts every Wednesday. Additional solidarity actions will be determined in the coming days.

For more information and updates, please go to or

Stay tuned for further updates.

In Solidarity,

Your Unifor Bargaining Committee

Bargaining Update - July 22, 2019

Sisters and Brothers,

Strong majority of Unifor members at SaskTel vote in favour of a strike.

Congratulations to everyone for a strong show of support and solidarity!

The votes have been counted and you have said yes to giving the bargaining committee a mandate and the ability to call a strike, if necessary.

In discussions between both sides through the federal mediator, it has been agreed that no job action will occur pending the outcome of bargaining meetings scheduled for August 12, 13, and 14.

  • We insisted SaskTel put a monetary offer on the table and they have committed to doing that in August,” said Unifor Local 1S President Dave Kuntz.

The bargaining committee is seeking improvements to job security, mental health provisions and compensation.

  • We’re hopeful that an agreement can be reached and service disruptions to the public will be avoided,” said Local 2S President Penny Matheson.

Over the last few weeks, hundreds of members turned out at strike vote meetings across the province. SaskTel subsidiary SecurTek voted in favour of a strike last month. Workers at all seven crown corporations have expired contracts.

SaskTel reported net profits of $127 million in the last fiscal year. This spring, the Premier and Saskatchewan MLAs received a 2.3% cost of living increase. Unifor billboards in Regina and Saskatoon deliver the message: Premier Moe and MLAs -- If 2.3% is good enough for you, it’s good enough for me.

In Solidarity

Your Bargaining Committee

Bargaining Update - July 3, 2019

Sisters and Brothers,

As a result of not being able to reach a fair collective agreement with SaskTel, we have scheduled meetings around the Province to conduct a strike vote. Please see dates and locations below and attend the one that is closest to you. Representatives from the Local 1S/2S Bargaining Committee will be in attendance, we will have a presentation explaining why we are asking for your approval on job action. At the conclusion of the presentation you will have an opportunity to ask questions and we will then conclude the meeting with voting.

We look forward to seeing you there.

In Solidarity

Your Bargaining Committee

Bargaining Update - June 27, 2019

Sisters and Brothers,

Our goal is to obtain a Collective Agreement without job action.

The Bargaining Committee has scheduled some mediation dates with SaskTel for July 10th and 11th. We are continuing our preparations for a worst-case scenario of strike action. Again, this is the final step if the Company is unwilling to negotiate a fair Collective Agreement.

We will be asking for a strike mandate from the membership. The logistics and timelines are being determined.

If we vote for strike action will we go on strike?

- If the majority of voting members cast their ballots in favour of striking, this provides the bargaining committee with a strike mandate, which gives them a stronger position at the bargaining table and the ability to enact strike action if necessary.

What does a strike mandate mean?

    • A strike mandate from the membership, can provide enough bargaining leverage on its own to have the employer return to the table and enhance their offer. In this way, the strike mandate can be more of a threat to strike than a guarantee of future job action.
    • If the employer’s position at the bargaining table does not change, the committee will begin to make strike preparations, selecting picket captains, locations for picketing and determining the date for job action to begin.
    • Job action can take many forms. This could include an overtime ban or “Work to Rule” which slows down work, while following every process to the letter, crossing every “T”, dotting every “I”, not cutting corners and providing the best service possible.
    • If the threat of a strike mandate does not motivate the employer, and job action does not motivate the employer, then ultimately there could be a strike.

Why does the bargaining committee need members to vote in favour of strike action?

    • When the bargaining committee holds a strike vote, it means they have exhausted every other avenue available at the bargaining table. This means the bargaining committee will require the support of every member of the bargaining unit to vote in favour of striking. If members were to vote against a strike at that point, it would put the bargaining unit in a very weak position at the bargaining table with no additional leverage for the bargaining committee to negotiate a better deal. Basically, it would send a message to the employer that employees will not go on strike for a fair contract.
    • The thought of being on strike with no pay cheque can be scary. The Union provides strike pay in the amount of $250 per week tax free and requires 20 hours of picketing. We realize some people are living paycheque to paycheque with bills, mortgages and other expenses to take care of. The questions members must ask themselves are about the benefits of sticking together in solidarity, showing our strength and giving our Bargaining Committee the leverage needed at the Bargaining Table with a strike mandate. Again, a strike mandate does not automatically mean you will be on a picket line. There are many options along the way, but ultimately there could be a strike if the employer is unreasonable.

History of successful job action at SaskTel

    • 1986 – A strike mandate was obtained from the membership. Super Service (work to rule) was used to slow down all parts of the Company. Negotiations resumed and moved forward to a deal which was ratified
    • 1996 – A strike mandate was obtained from the membership. There was a 3-week strike which forced the negotiations to move forward to a deal which was ratified.
    • 2016 – A strike mandate was obtained from the membership. No job action was taken. There was enough leverage from the strike vote to continue negotiations and move forward to a deal which was ratified.

Again, we find ourselves in a situation where the Company is unwilling to negotiate or even put a monetary package on the table. We are trying to make improvements to job security, mental health and compensation.

When we see Premier Scott Moe and the MLA’s getting 2.3% for cost of living increases it seems fair for members to receive a similar increase. SaskTel is profitable, in excess of $100 million net profit consistently. Crown executives have received pay increases at more than double the rate of workers since 2007.

Power in unity

  • All 7 Unifor Crown Corporations are having similar problems with their employers and unfortunately it looks like everyone is moving towards impasse at the bargaining table. SecurTek has already obtained a strike mandate from their membership. It looks like others will be obtaining mandates as well.
  • There will be extreme pressure on the government if all Unifor Crown corporations obtain strike mandates and there is the potential of strikes at all Crowns.

We are asking for your support

  • Ask yourself what you deserve and what you are worth? The success of SaskTel is because of your hard work and you deserve to be fairly compensated.
  • To achieve our goals around job security, fair pay and mental health, the Union needs your support. This fight is for all our members at SaskTel as well as the future employees and we need to stand together and support the Bargaining Committee.
  • The government and the companies need to start respecting the working-class people at all the Crowns including SaskTel. The working-class are a big part of our provincial economy and proper compensation for the working-class Crown employees will be a key part of kick starting our stalled economy.

Please stay engaged with your Union and support your Union as we negotiate, fight and stand-up on your behalf at the bargaining table. When we call for a strike mandate, please support your committee.

In Solidarity

Bargaining Update - June 21, 2019

Sisters and brothers,

This week your bargaining committee met with the company in an effort to move bargaining along. Much to our disappointment, the company continued their resistance to addressing your key non monetary issues, such as contracting out, technological change, concerns with the sales incentive plan and statistical monitoring in our call centre.

Despite the committees’ frustrations, we asked the company to present a full offer for our consideration, including a response to our monetary proposals, only then could we make an informed decision on the total offer.

Much to our disappointment, the company refused to provide any details on their monetary position, saying they wanted us to wrap up any discussions on non monetary first.

We maintained our position that we could not possibly walk away from our non monetary priorities without considering a full package and now find ourselves in a stalemate with the company.

This unfortunate position has left us with little choice. Bargaining has broken off and we will be considering our options in the coming days.

It does appear that in order to create the kind of leverage we will need in order to move discussions along, we will have to obtain a strike mandate. Only then will we have the power to motivate the employer to present their best offer for consideration. The question is timing, as we are very aware that many members are about to begin the summer vacation period.

Stay strong and united in support of your committee. Our strength is our resolve to obtain a fair contract and our unwavering solidarity.

Please watch for a further update in the coming days.

In solidarity

Your Bargaining Committee

Bargaining Update - May 30, 2019

The Union and Company met with the conciliator on May 27-29. Further dates are scheduled for June 20-21. The Company and Union have agreed to extend the conciliation process to June 21. If a tentative agreement has not been reached by then the Company and Union can agree to either extend the conciliation period again or enter into mediation through the Federal Government.

We continue to work on the 3 big issues:

    1. Job Security
    2. Mental Health
    3. Fair compensation.

Some progress has been made on several non-monetary issues. Monetary items have not been discussed.

The employees have been key to the success of SaskTel, we are asking to be treated fairly. It is not unreasonable to ask a Crown Corporation to treat their employees fairly.

Thanks again for all the support. Keep up the chatter and discussions in the workplace and with friends and family.

In solidarity

Your Bargaining Committee

Bargaining Update - May 22, 2019

The Union and Company met with the conciliator on May 15 - 17. Further dates are scheduled for May 27 - 29.

The big issues as you know are Job Security, Mental Health and fair compensation. We are still working through language trying to find a solution which addresses our concerns.

We want to be treated fairly in our wages and all aspects of our jobs.

Thanks again for all the support for the bargaining committee. Keep up the chatter and discussions in the workplace and with friends and family.

In solidarity

Your Bargaining Committee

Bargaining Update - April 19, 2019

The Federal Labour Minister has appointed a conciliator to work through the impasse at the bargaining table. The earliest dates available to begin the process are May 15-17 and May 27-29 in Regina. In the last round of bargaining we had to declare an impasse. We went through the conciliation process and managed to negotiate a fair Collective Agreement which was ratified by the membership. The same conciliator has been appointed to assist us through this impasse.

We are hopeful conciliation will lead to a fair deal. A lot will depend on SaskTel and their stakeholder’s willingness to work towards a fair deal. If conciliation fails, we may be forced to take further action. Members should prepare accordingly over the next couple of months.

We are committed to getting a fair deal with out any form of job action and appreciate the support you have shown for the bargaining committee.

To continue our campaign of solidarity to get a fair Collective Agreement, we will be having a Picnic and Rally on May 4 from 11:00 to 2:30 at the legislature building in Regina. This event is for all Crown Corporations and is open to all members, all unions and the public. It is a family event with activities for kids and food, so please come out, wear your blue “Stand up for crown workers” t-shirts and stand in solidarity with all Crown Workers to send a message to our employers and the government about “Fair” Collective Bargaining.

In solidarity

Your Bargaining Committee

Bargaining Update - March 22, 2019

Thank you for your strong showing of support and solidarity on March 19. We wore our Unifor t-shirts, toques, hats, lanyards, etc. in the workplace; held placards; took pictures and signed the Unifor flags. Solidarity goes hand-in-hand with strength at the bargaining table:

This week we met with the Company on March 19, 21 and 22.

As we stated in our last bargaining update, the concerns from you, can be summarized into 3 areas: Job Security, Mental Health and Fair Compensation.

It is with great disappointment and frustration that we update you with the unwillingness of SaskTel to engage in meaningful negotiations on these issues. As such we will be declaring an impasse in bargaining and requesting conciliation through the Canada Labour Code.

As a result of the impasse on non-monetary issues, we have not received monetary proposals from the Company despite our requests over our last few meeting dates.

We have told the Company we are prepared to meet again with the conciliator.

We want a deal, but it has to be fair and address your bargaining issues and concerns.

Please continue to watch for updates and other solidarity events in support of the bargaining process and your bargaining committee.

In solidarity

Your Bargaining Committee

Bargaining Update - March 12, 2019

Your Bargaining Committee was scheduled to meet with the company on March 7 and 8. At the last minute, the company cancelled the March 8 meeting, the last day of scheduled bargaining prior to the expiration of our collective agreement on March 16. Needless to say, this was very disappointing for our committee.

During the March 7 bargaining, a group of Unifor members who work within the Sales Incentive Plans from the Customer Relationship Center (call center), Business Sales and the SaskTel Stores made presentations on the problems with the Sales Compensation Plan. This relates to our bargaining proposal #23 “The Union proposes to negotiate the elimination of the Business Sales Compensation Plan and Consumer Sales Compensation Plan”.

Our bargaining priorities include job security, mental health, and fair compensation. There are various ways the Company can address these concerns in bargaining and here are some examples:

Job Security:

  • Stop having Contractors, Retirees and Consultants do work our members can do in house. We believe our members have the best skills and abilities to perform this work and it keeps the knowledge in house.
  • Stop expecting employees to do more with less.
  • Not have Managers do in-scope work.
  • Reduce precarious work—we want full-time jobs or jobs with more guaranteed hours.

Mental Health:

  • Address the stress associated with doing more work with less staff and resources.
  • CSA Mental Health Standard which, if implemented, can create a healthier work environment.
  • Implement a Joint Harassment Committee.
  • Fully implement Women's Advocate (Saskatchewan has the highest rates of domestic violence in Canada).
  • Policies for better work-life balance.
  • Address the Sales compensation plan which is causing workplace morale issues and increased stress for employees.
  • Unnecessary sick leave notes and medical certificate requirements exacerbates the illness for many members and unnecessarily adds costs and burdens to our health care system.
  • Proper rest periods between shifts.
  • Removing systemic barriers for people with disabilities and for equity groups.
  • Implement mandatory Respectful workplace training and signs in the workplace.

Fair Compensation:

  • Improved wages. The Cost of Living increases and wages don't keep up which reduces purchasing power.
  • Improved pensions.
  • Improved time off provisions (work-life balance).
  • Differential pay to account for unsociable hours.
  • Lobbying for national Pharmacare to reduce costs.

The Bargaining Committee needs your support to help move the bargaining process forward so we can get some improvements to address our priorities. As such, we are asking for your participation in a day of solidarity in the workplace.

To coincide with our next bargaining date on March 19, we are holding a “Solidarity Day” in the workplace. T-shirts and other materials are being distributed this week. Please wear your shirt in the workplace on March 19 to send a strong and united message to the company.

Placards are also being distributed for members to write messages to the employer. Individuals or groups can take pictures while holding placards and send the photos to so the photos can be posted and shared. This will send a strong message to SaskTel about the importance of a fair collective agreement that addresses all of our top concerns.

To assist us further, Chris MacDonald, assistant to National President Jerry Dias, will be joining us to help make progress at the table during March 19–22.

We are committed to getting you the best deal possible using every resource, strategy, and tactic we have. Your support during March 19 and other targeted actions will make the difference. SaskTel needs to see we are united and serious about getting a fair deal.

Thank you again for your support.

In solidarity,

Your Bargaining Committee

Bargaining Committee by the Crown Billboard on Sask Drive

Bargaining Update - February 22, 2019

Your bargaining committee met with the Company on February 13th 14th, 19th, 20th and 21st. We met on neutral ground, utilizing meeting space at the SGI building and Casino Regina to continue detailed discussions of the exchanged proposals.

The Union was able to present the remaining 21 proposals that included monetary and non-monetary issues.

The Company and the Union were able to discuss each others’ proposals in greater detail and were able to gain more insight to the details and impacts of the proposed changes.

It is the Bargaining Committee’s opinion that the Company has asked for a number of concessions in their proposals.

From our November 26th update regarding the 3 areas of concern, we haven’t talked about compensation yet as it is a monetary item; we have had some discussion around Mental Health with nothing significant to report; and Job Erosion through contracting out appears to be a point of concern.

We are meeting with the company March 7th and 8th to resume discussions.

Thank you again for your support.

In solidarity,

Your Bargaining Committee

Bargaining Update - February 1, 2019

Your bargaining committee met with the Company on the afternoon of January 31st. We met on neutral ground utilizing meeting space in the SGI building to begin detailed discussions of the exchanged proposals.

The Company was able to get though their 11 proposals with detailed explanation. With only half a day available from SaskTel, we were only able to discuss 12 non-monetary union proposals. Both sides had an opportunity to ask questions and get a better understanding of the other sides position and the reasons for each proposal.

We will review the language from the Company in order to respond at our next meeting scheduled for February 13th. At that time we will go through the remaining union proposals and continue our discussions.

Thank you again for your support.

In solidarity,

Your Bargaining Committee

Bargaining Update - January 30, 2019

Your bargaining committee would like to thank you for the great turn out and support at yesterdays rally with Jerry Dias at the Delta Hotel. Attached are links of the Facebook Live stream of the rally and a January 29th Leader Post Article:

Thanks to Unifor Local 649 (SaskPower and SaskEnergy), Unifor Local 594 (Coop Refinery) and COPE Local 397 (SGI) for coming out and showing their solidarity. Also, a special thanks to Unifor Local 651 members at the Delta Hotel for their great service in hosting this event.

The bargaining exchange kicked off with opening statements from Jerry Dias and Doug Burnett.

We then exchanged proposals and will be getting into the specifics of the proposals at our next meeting on Thursday January 31st.

In Solidarity,

Your Bargaining Committee

Bargaining Update - November 26, 2018

The bargaining process is well underway with the preparation of our union proposals to be exchanged with SaskTel. We gathered proposals from June 19th to August 24th and held Local Screening Caucus Meetings in September to narrow down the focus of Local 1-S and Local 2-S issues. A provincial Screening Caucus was held in October to further narrow down priorities for the entire bargaining unit under SaskCouncil.

The proposals can be summarized into 3 areas of concern requiring improvement:

    • Job erosion
    • Mental Health
    • Fair Compensation

We have tentatively scheduled the Bargaining Proposal Exchange between SaskTel and Unifor for the end of January 2019.

Your Bargaining Committee would like to thank all our members for their contributions to the proposal gathering process. This is your Collective Agreement and your Union. Participation and solidarity are what makes us strong.

As bargaining progresses, we will be asking for your continued support and solidarity. Your strength gives our bargaining committee strength and power at the bargaining table.

For more information contact one of the committee members as listed on the Bargaining Committee Tab on SaskCouncil ( or come out to a General Meeting of your Local.

In solidarity

Your Bargaining Committee:

Dave Kuntz – President Local 1-S

Penny Matheson – Vice President Local 2-S

Steve Merasty – SaskCouncil Gender Rep

Tara Bast – SaskCouncil Member-at-Large

Mike Pilipow – SaskCouncil Member-at-Large

Jenna Russell – SaskCouncil Member-at-Large

Dan Bailey – National Rep

Part-Time Union Dues Collection Update - November 20, 2018

A joint communication between Unifor and SaskTel, regarding the union dues collection error made by SaskTel will be coming out shortly to the effected members. The following provides some additional background information and details about the arbitrator’s decision in this matter.

Summary of the timelines:

      • Error detected – Mid December 2016
        • Failure by SaskTel to properly collect the correct dues amount for part-time employees
      • Error corrected – January 2017
      • Union notified – October 2017
      • Negotiations on settlement between SaskTel and the Union – October 2017 – March 2018 – No agreement reached
      • Grievances filed by Local 1-S and Local 2-S – March 2018
      • On March 19, 2018, SaskTel provided notice to all impacted employees, who were employed in a part-time capacity between 2012-2016, that union dues for part-time employees had been deducted at incorrect rates back to 2012 (for Local 2-S) and 2013 (for Local 1-S). SaskTel provided six-weeks-notice that collection of the outstanding dues would begin with the May 3, 2018 pay period, to be remitted to the Union.
      • Unifor Locals 1-S and 2-S challenged SaskTel’s ability to arbitrarily collect back outstanding dues from Unifor members while grievances were active.
      • The parties agreed to have the issues related to this matter determined by Arbitration, and SaskTel held off collection, pending the outcome of Arbitration.

The Arbitrator has since ruled the following decision:

      1. The company will pay to the union within 30 days of receiving this award the full amount of the union dues owed to Local 1-S and to Local 2-S. I make no order with respect to interest.
      2. The company can recover amounts owed by current employees. The schedule for recovery will be the following:
        1. If under $50 owing, amount to be paid within one (1) pay period;
        2. If $50-$100 owing, amount to be paid in two (2) pay periods;
        3. If $100-$300 owing, amount to be paid in twelve (12) pay periods; and
        4. If greater than $300, amount to be paid in twenty-six (26) pay periods.
      3. The company will amend the Union Dues Report as agreed upon.

In the near future, the impacted part-time employees will be notified of their outstanding repayment amounts, based on a repayment schedule and will be provided the appropriate number of weeks’ notice that collection will begin with the January 24, 2019 pay period.

Dave Kuntz – President Unifor Local 1-S

Penny Matheson – Vice-President Local 2-S