Labour’s role in The Big Game 58 (including the football)

While NFL fans are aware of Brock Purdy and the San Francisco 49ers’ Super Bowl 58 loss to Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, many may not realize the significant role union labour played in making the event spectacular.

Two unionized million-dollar quarterbacks played in Super Bowl 58 thanks to 31 separate unions and their members in one of the highest-grossing venues in North America working to make the event possible.

The two QBs in question, though competitors, are members of the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) which joined America’s national house of labour – the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) – in 2019. (The AFL-CIO is equivalent to Canada’s Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) of which GSU is a member.) In fact, players on the Kansas City Chiefs, the San Francisco 49ers and most NFL teams are typically members of the NFLPA, allowing them to have representation in negotiations regarding their contracts, working conditions, and other matters concerning their careers in the NFL.

Super Bowl 58 took place in the midst of an organizing drive on Allegiant Stadium grounds. Last week, the NFLPA teamed up with a few other unions to assist the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 in an organizing drive to get the almost 1500 non-union workers of Allegiant Stadium signed up.

From the referees, security personnel, hospitality workers, logistics and transportation staff to the camera operators responsible for recording Usher and the OT winning play, union workers contributed to ensuring the success of Super Bowl 58. Let’s continue to support fair labour practices and acknowledge the teamwork of the union members who make such events possible.


The leather used for every single NFL football, including those used in Sunday’s Super Bowl, is crafted by skilled members of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1546.

LABOUR NEWS: SGEU faces contract impasse with Saskatchewan government

Negotiations between the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees’ Union (SGEU) and the Public Service/Government Employment (PS/GE) bargaining unit have hit a roadblock. Despite over a year of talks, the parties have failed to reach an agreement since the previous contract expired on September 30, 2022.

Representing over 11,000 members, including firefighters, correctional officers, and conservation officers, the PS/GE unit seeks fair enhancements in the new contract. Priorities include catch-up wage increases, improved mental health support, and better provisions for essential workers during crises like the pandemic.

Lori Bossaer, Chair of SGEU’s PS/GE Negotiating Committee, voiced disappointment over the government’s stance, citing challenges faced by frontline workers, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and wildfires. These workers, providing crucial services to Saskatchewan residents, deserve recognition and support.

SGEU emphasizes the need for a contract addressing member retention and recruitment concerns to sustain public services. To move forward, they’ve requested mediation assistance from the Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety, underscoring their commitment to finding a resolution beneficial to both parties.

Learn more here.

It’s important to recognize International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31st

The most recent Regina Police Commission report shows that in 2022 more than 10 lives have been lost each month in Regina alone.

Take a careful look at the pictures of loved ones who have been lost – think of them, and think of those who are missing them (collage provided by the Canadian network of families Moms Stop The Harm).

Join today’s Regina event at the Mâmawêyatitân Centre, 3355 6th Avenue, Regina – 3PM to 5PM to Remember and to Prevent.

  • MEMORY PATH – display a picture of loved ones who have been lost (place a ribbon/flower in memory of those lost and remember)
  • SHARE IN A MEAL (all welcome – no cost, donations welcome to be used for 2023 event)

Have you used your Health Flex Spending Account or other health benefits? It’s time to check your account.

The point of using your health benefits isn’t just to use up the money – it’s to make sure that you are getting the medications, treatments and help you need to feel and be your best mentally and physically. Self-care is particularly important as we all cope with the stresses of living and working through a global pandemic.

Check your collective agreement for details on your account, and – as always – don’t hesitate to contact your GSU staff rep if you need help sorting things out. The services we provide to you are included in your union dues, and there is no additional charge for assisting you.

GSU to submit brief on supervisory employees

GSU general secretary Hugh Wagner is preparing a written brief to Saskatchewan’s Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety regarding the status of supervisory employees under the Saskatchewan Employment Act (SEA).

“Following a two-year period of grace, on April 29, 2016 the SEA was amended to prohibit supervisory employees from being in the same bargaining unit as those employees they supervise. Thus ended 70 years of a sound feature of labour relations legislation in the province,” said Wagner. “This amendment was acted on by the Government of the day despite almost no one having asked for it, at least not on the record.”  

“Beginning with Saskatchewan’s first Trade Union Act in 1944 the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board (SLRB) had the ability to inquire into each application for union certification brought before it and determine whether supervisory employees should or shouldn’t be included in the same collective bargaining unit as the employees they were supervising. The SLRB had the ability and expertise to make a determination on the basis of the facts and dynamics of a particular situation,” Wagner said.

“Between 1944 and 2014 the SLRB included supervisory employees in “all employee bargaining units” in the vast number of cases and stable labour relations prevailed. However, on April 29, 2014 the Government of Saskatchewan made it mandatory that supervisory employees cannot be included in the same barging unit as those they supervise. Interestingly, the construction industry and registered nurses were exempted from this amendment to the Saskatchewan Employment Act,” said Wagner.

A measure of stability on the subject of supervisory employees was returned to the equation in January of 2017 when the SLRB ruled that the automatic exclusion of supervisory employees from the same bargaining unit as those they supervised did not apply to existing certified bargain units and would only apply to new certification applications. This decision, known as “Saskatoon Public Library” stood until reconsidered and reversed by the SLRB in February 2021 in a case involving the University of Saskatchewan and the Administrative and Supervisory Employees Association. As matters now stand the situation is not clear and judicial review is being pursued by a number of unions who argue, amongst other things, that the mandatory exclusion of supervisory employees under the SEA is a violation of the right to freedom of association protected under Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Amidst the litigation on this subject, in mid-April the Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety asked for submissions. GSU will be tendering a brief urging that the SEA be amended to return matters to the pre-2014 status quo.

“While there is much to criticize and improve on in the Saskatchewan Employment Act the carte blanche exclusion of supervisory employees stands as a particularly egregious feature of the legislation and it should be eliminated,” Wagner said. “GSU’s brief will propose that things be returned to normal.”

Advocating for labour legislation favourable to working people and their unions is part of GSU’s mission and mandate.

Confronting inappropriate comments at work

Harassing, inappropriate or unwanted comments or behaviours can have a significant and long lasting negative consequences to a workplace. It can take a heavy toll on the member who is receiving the negative comments or behaviours, but it can also affect other members who know about or witness inappropriate conduct. 

If you witness or are the subject of inappropriate or unwanted comments or behaviours at work, contact your GSU elected officers and union staff for assistance and guidance. 

Learn more here.


8 simple steps to winning over everyone in the workplace

Love them or not, we all have co-workers. We may not agree with their politics, enjoy their punny sense of humour, or appreciate their half-full coffee cups in the office sink, but it’s in everyone’s best interest to co-exist and work together toward a common goal of getting the job done and doing it right. 

There are some steps you can take to be the co-worker everyone likes.

Learn more here: 8 ways to win over everyone in the office, according to experts

This article has been printed for entertainment purposes. The views and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of GSU, its members, officers, or staff.

Returning to work after an extended absence?  Review your rights with your GSU staff rep

GSU members returning to work from an extended absence as a result of illness or injury are encouraged to contact a GSU staff rep before finalizing the terms of their return.

Most often the return to work process works very well and there are no hassles. Occasionally,  misinformation and misunderstandings related to returning employees’ medical or other limitations have led to complex and difficult-to-resolve issues. GSU staff reps can help as a guide and source of advice and advocacy to help prevent return to work administrative complications.

Employers have a duty to accommodate that includes but is not limited to health related work restrictions. 

From GSU’s perspective, employers are obliged to notify the union when they’re dealing with a union member in relation to a return-to-work scenario or a duty-to-accommodate situation. Unfortunately, management doesn’t always think to involve the union and this has led to some challenging problems that have been difficult to sort out after the fact.  

A quick call to your GSU staff rep about rights and responsibilities can help avoid hassles down the road.


“Taking time to know your rights is never a bad investment of time,” said GSU general secretary Hugh Wagner.

ANOTHER PROBLEM SOLVED: Serious Illness leave

A GSU member reached out to staff representative Donna Driediger with questions about using serious illness leave to tend to a family member, and if same would be charged against their earned sick leave credits. 

Donna stated that in this member’s situation the collective agreement was clear that  serious illness leave was separate the member’s sick leave credits would not used for the required leave.

Do you have questions about serious illness leave or using your earned sick leave credits? 

If you need advice about your sick leave or any other workplace situation, contact your GSU staff rep. We will offer advice, work with you to find answers to your questions, and with your permission we can even act as an advocate on your behalf.

Contact information for GSU staff is available here.

Small gestures can make a big difference

It’s surprising how the little things in life can make a big difference. Whether the person ahead of you in line pays for your coffee, your supervisor pops in to thank you for doing a great job, or someone waits to hold the door open for you when your arms were full, simple gestures can go a long way.

Challenge yourself to extend three small gestures each day and make someone else’s day a little bit brighter. You may find it brightens your day, too.

Learn more about the Morning Edition‘s latest employee of the week and how this exceptional employee goes out of his way to share positivity and brighten the days of others at a local hospital: “It’s more than just cleaning floors” says Morning Edition’s newest Employee of the Week

This article has been printed for entertainment purposes. The views and opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of GSU, its members, officers, or staff.


Hints for surviving your Christmas office party

‘Tis the Season for office Christmas parties. Whether you are excited, disinterested, or obligated to attend, the following guidelines will help you navigate the office party. 

Learn more here: How to behave at the Christmas office party

This article has been printed for entertainment purposes. The views and opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of GSU, its members, officers, or staff.

Items you just shouldn’t wear in the workplace


If you want to be taken seriously by your employer and your co-workers, there are some definite no-nos around the office. Showing up for work with wet hair, fishnets, or sweatpants will never be career-enhancing moves.

Check out the following link for a little extra guidance:  Things you should never wear to work.

This article has been printed for entertainment purposes. The views and opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of GSU, its members, officers, or staff.

OPINION PIECE – TIM QUIGLEY, EMERITUS PROFESSOR OF LAW: Bill 40 says winding-up/shutting down a Crown corporation is not privatization. There should be a complete repeal of Bill 40.

Do we trust the government?

The citizens of Saskatchewan know that Crown corporations act in the public interest to provide services and revenue to the province that private corporations do not always do.  Sasktel provides internet and cellular coverage to pretty much the entire province at competitive rates.  SGI provides car insurance that is cheaper than private insurance.  Natural gas to heat our homes and businesses is delivered by SaskEnergy and electricity by SaskPower.  Without these publicly-owned corporations, many Saskatchewan residents, especially in northern and rural areas, would either have to pay a great deal more for these services or do without altogether.

But our Crown corporations are under threat.  In the spring, the Sask Party government passed legislation, Bill 40, that permits the privatization of 49% of a Crown corporation without the public process that would otherwise be required under another law.  Bill 40 also says that winding up (shutting down) a Crown corporation is not privatization.

Bill 40 was also used to wind up the Saskatchewan Transportation Company.  As Saskatchewan residents are finding out already, this has deprived many people of the means to travel from one community to another, including for medical appointments and the like.  The end of STC has also complicated sending lab samples for testing, library materials for interlibrary loans, and the shipping of countless goods such as farm machinery parts.  

Saskatchewan residents have such strong support for the Crown corporations because they know the valuable services the Crowns provide—services that would certainly be more expensive through the private sector but perhaps not available at all.  That is why there has been a great deal of controversy about Bill 40.  That is likely why Premier Wall announced a couple of weeks ago that his government has listened and will repeal the Bill.  However, the Throne Speech opening this session of the Legislature indicated that the repeal will not include the repeal of the winding up portion.  This means the government will retain the legal power to shut down all or part of a major Crown corporation without the public input required under The Crown Corporations Public Ownership Act.

Some might say that the partial repeal is required because the Saskatchewan Transportation Company (STC) was shut down in accordance with Bill 40.  However, that is not true because, unless the repeal Bill was made retroactive, the STC shutdown would not be affected.  In other words, if the Premier was truly listening to the people, a complete repeal of Bill 40 is called for.

The possibility of a partial repeal is very suspicious.  Just last week, new legislation was introduced in the Legislature that would change the law governing SaskEnergy.  Some will recall that the Devine government (for which Brad Wall was a functionary) split SaskEnergy off from SaskPower and was going to privatize it until opposition from the public and the opposition NDP forced it to back off.  

At the moment, SaskEnergy and TransGas, both Crown corporations, have exclusive jurisdiction over our natural gas distribution system.  A change to that has, until now, required public scrutiny and debate in the Legislature.  The proposed amendments, however, would allow the cabinet to make these changes by regulation without public debate and scrutiny.  If the legislation passes in its present form, it means that the government could (a) wind down the gas distribution network; (b) quickly pass a regulation to permit private ownership of the gas distribution system; and (c) sell off the distribution system assets to those private owners.  Much the same could happen with other Crown corporations:  selling off the fibre optic network for Sasktel, for example.  

This would be privatization in an underhanded way and very contrary to Premier Wall’s statements about listening to the public and deciding to repeal Bill 40.  That is why there should be a complete repeal of Bill 40.  Privatization could still occur, but the government would have to do it openly with full scrutiny and debate and with the supporting vote of the people of Saskatchewan.

Tim Quigley
Emeritus Professor of Law
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Canadian unions believe anyone with a health card should have coverage for the medicines they need.

Canada’s unions are proud that we’ve won health insurance coverage for many of our members. But we believe anyone with a health card should have coverage for the medicines they need.

That’s why we’re working to win a universal prescription drug plan that covers everyone in Canada, regardless of their income, age or where they work or live.

Learn more and sign the petition here.



What is wrong with the government selling 49% of a crown corporation? Wouldn’t the people of Saskatchewan still be able to control the crown corporation?

There are major problems with partial privatization. 

If 10% or more of a Crown corporation is privatized, the corporation will have to pay federal taxes. 

Crown corporations that are fully publicly-owned are exempt from federal taxation.

Paying taxes forever should be discounted from the selling price – which means much less money to pay down debt or use for other public purposes. The current federal tax exemption means that more money stays in the province to serve the public interest.

Retaining 51% ownership of the Crown corporation does not mean that the public interest would prevail over the private interests of the minority shareholders. 

As a matter of corporate law, the majority cannot oppress the minority shareholders by ignoring their interests, and there is a legal duty on the members of the board of directors to manage the company in order to maximize the return to investors, that is, profits.

The public interest is to provide services to everyone in Saskatchewan, regardless of where they live. For example, selling part of SaskTel would likely mean that rural and northern people would have to pay more than they do now for phone service, internet, etc.

SOURCE: OwnIt! Plebiscite on The Future Of Our Crown Corporations, “Frequently Asked Questions”