Times of national emergency require us all to move beyond business as usual. We must come together as a nation and act with urgency to protect all workers. But we must also demand that the largest, wealthiest, and most powerful corporations and industries show leadership by looking past their bottom lines to do what’s right for workers.
Workers are on the front lines of this crisis -- caring for the sick, the young and the elderly, cleaning homes, offices, and public spaces, picking up trash, cooking, serving and delivering food, and providing other essential services that cannot be put on hold.
Thousands of people in Saskatchewan are paid so little they live paycheck to paycheck, working unreliable and insecure work schedules without any kind of paid leave.
An escalating number of workers are losing their jobs and income as businesses and public institutions close or reduce service. Solutions designed for and by workers is the responsibility of every level of government. Therefore, we call on the Saskatchewan Government to act provincially immediately by:
1) Recognizing the value of and risk being taken by low wage frontline service workers, especially those risking their health to take care of ours in areas deemed essential by permanently and immediately increasing Saskatchewan's minimum wage to $15.15/hr.
2) Recognizing that self-isolation and "social distancing" is dependent on a person's ability to afford to sustain themselves by amending the Public Health Emergency Leave provisions in the Saskatchewan Employment Act to provide paid leave, or otherwise provide an emergency benefit for the purpose of encouraging social distancing and self-isolation to limit transmission of future pandemics.
3) Recognizing that all workers, but especially low-wage frontline service workers are living and working in fear and that this fear may cause hesitancy to report illness. We demand that corporations that commit occupational health and safety violations related to illness be restricted from accessing industry relief or bailouts.
I look forward to your response.