Dorsey Commission

In a Government of Saskatchewan news release, Labour Minister Bob Mitchell announced the approval of the Dorsey Commission's proposals:

The Dorsey Commission was requested by the four major unions representing health care workers. They asked us to bring in Mr. Dorsey and give him the authority to sort out complex jurisdictional issues they have been struggling with ever since the health care system was restructured.

Mr. Dorsey was directed to consider new employment relationships resulting from restructuring as well as the need to promote integration of delivery and consistency of employment conditions. He has developed a framework for labour relations in the health sector which reflects those terms of reference.

(Saskatchewan News Release, January 17, 1997)

In 1997, the Dorsey Commission made recommendations on union jurisdiction in health care. Ultimately, Dorsey recommended that all registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses be rolled into Saskatchewan Union of Nurses (SUN) jurisdiction. SUN grew rapidly at that point. Some nurses felt that they were being forced into something that they did not want while others were excited at the prospect of joining SUN.

With this move, SUN's leadership tried to keep what Rosalee Longmoore, president of SUN, called the "better thans" (locally negotiated conditions that were superior to the provincial agreement) from all of the collective agreements. And if SUN could not achieve the "better thans" for all nurses, to at least keep the positives for the people that who already had them:

But what we did at that bargaining table was try to bring all of the "better thans" if you will, from all of the collective agreements where these nurses had been represented by other Unions before, to make sure that we carried on, carried those forward. We tried to get them for everybody, if we couldn't get them for everybody; our backup position was to keep them for the people that'd had them. And so I think we've been very successful some of the things we were able to get for everybody, we, you know, in subsequent rounds as well but we have been able to retain the provisions that were superior for those people as well (Interview: Rosalee Longmore).