UPDATED: SK Nurses have strike mandate

Update: SUN AND SAHO to continue bargaining

<> Today, through the conciliator, SUN received a message from SAHO indicating they have a revised mandate and are asking SUN to return to the bargaining table. It is our understanding that SAHO will also remove most of their proposals when we return to the table. SUN will not undertake strike action as we permit negotiations to occur.

The Saskatchewan Union of Nurses (SUN) have voted “decisively in favour of a strike.” The vote found 77 percent of iSUN’s members in support of strike action in the union’s current negotiations with the Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations (SAHO).

“Nurses are tired of seeing patient safety compromised,” said Rosalee Longmoore, SUN President. “They’re tired of working the long hours with no relief in sight. They want their voices heard. And with their votes, they’re sending a message loud and clear – it’s time to get serious about retaining the nursing workforce and recruiting for the future if we are to be able to keep our health care system – and the safety of patients – from deteriorating any further.”

This is an interesting development in organized labour’s struggle against the SaskParty government’s Bills 5 and 6 which have been deemed anti-worker, ant-union and anti-woman. Stay tuned for more!

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SaskParty MLA calls NDP MLA a “dumb bitch”

Well, it is not surprising to this SK citizen that the SaskParty’s MLA for Cut Knife-Turtleford, Mike Chisholm, called the NDP MLA for Moose Jaw Wakamow and the former Minister of Labour, Deb Higgins, a “dumb bitch” in a legislative committee meeting this week. It didn’t surprise me at all. I wish it had.

But no, Chisholm is from rural Saskatchewan where that is just the way women are often treated. Many women, even those who consider themselves feminist, are afraid to speak their minds lest they be ostracized — or worse — by the men in their communities. It’s appalling, to say the least!

And yes, Premier Wall can accept some of the blame for this. His less than convincing response to a videotape featuring racist comments, sexist slurs and homophobic hatred in which he and some of his current colleagues were featured players did little to quell the rampant sexism in the province. And the premier had no choice, given what he did say in response to the video, to accept Chisholm’s resignation as legislative secretary.

But the NDP can assume some of the responsibility for this, too. Had the initiatives set forth by the Saskatchewan Women’s Agenda of the early 90’s been adopted by the government of the day, the very culture of the province would have become a lot less sexist. However, that was not the case. Sexists and misogynists within the NDP were able to get away with writing off the Women’s Agenda as that of “feminazis”, of radical feminists. And today, one of their own, one of the women who withstood all the sexist shit thrown at her, still has to be subjected to it.

Will this be a lesson for the NDP? One can hope, but I doubt it.

Here’s the CBC’s story on the issue.

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/saskatchewan/story/2008/05/08/chisholm-mike.html
MLA apologizes after making offensive comment against Opposition member
Last Updated: Thursday, May 8, 2008 | 10:41 AM CT
CBC News

A Saskatchewan Party MLA has apologized and resigned as a legislative secretary after referring to an NDP member as a “dumb bitch.”

Mike Chisholm, the MLA for Cut Knife-Turtleford, made the comment Wednesday in a legislative committee in reference to New Democrat Deb Higgins, who represents Moose Jaw Wakamow.

The comment came just after Chisholm had been complaining about language used by an NDP MLA.

On Thursday, Chisholm told the legislature he had submitted his resignation as legislative secretary to Premier Brad Wall, and Wall accepted it.

“I have no excuse,” he said. “I was wrong and it shouldn’t have been thought or said.” Chisholm will retain his seat and remain in the government caucus.

Chisholm made a reference to Wall’s recent call to MLAs to be more careful about using insulting language.

That followed after a 17-year-old videotape of Wall surfaced showing him at a social gathering making jokes in a Ukrainian accent.