More Crown workers set to vote on strike mandates starting Sept 3

Unifor has scheduled strike mandate votes for four Crown-sector bargaining units, as SaskTel workers plan to return to the table for another three days of negotiations.Attempts at mediation have reached an impasse at SaskPower, SaskEnergy, SaskWater and the Water Security Agency, according to Cam Britton, a national representative for Unifor. He said votes will begin on Sept. 3 and continue until Sept. 18.Britton said a series of meetings at 10 locations will bring together members of all four unions, though votes will take place separately. He expects to have a result by September 19. He believes members will vote in favour of a strike mandate.Workers at SaskTel and its subsidiaries, DirectWest and SecurTek, have already voted in favour of a strike mandate. Mediation in August was unsuccessful, after the union balked at an offer with two years of flat wages followed by a one per cent hike in 2021.According to Britton, the offer is much the same at the four tables he’s representing, although it also includes a two-per-cent increase in 2022.Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.Unifor’s SaskTel bargaining committee posted an update to its website on Tuesday, predicting that the campaign was about to “come to a head.”“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 posting said.The next round of bargaining with SaskTel will begin on Sept. 18 and end on Sept. 20. That’s the expiration date for the strike mandate vote from July, according to Unifor.“We will have to make tough decisions on the final day of bargaining next month,” the posting said.Britton stressed that his members want nothing more than a fair deal. As Unifor has consistently done in interviews with media and on billboards posted in Regina, he lashed out at a 2.3-per-cent cost-of-living increase to MLA pay this year.He said members frequently object to what he and they see as hypocrisy. The MLA hike has gotten them “agitated” and unwilling to accept flat wages.But he said Unifor still prefers to work out a deal rather than take job action.“Once we get a strike mandate, my hope is that we can get back to the employer and negotiate a fair contract,” said [email protected] read more