#13 Unions propose parallel meetings to fast track bargaining

Bargaining bulletin

The unions’ negotiating one contract for 60,000 community and facilities services and support workers in health care have proposed to HEABC that there be parallel discussions in order to speed up the pace of health care talks and conclude an agreement by March 31.

“The sheer volume of issues on the table has forced us to take a different approach at the bargaining table,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt.

“It’s important that all the issues be canvassed fully with employers from both the facilities and the community.

“This strategy also ensures that health care workers in both sectors are on an equal footing to take whatever action is necessary to reach one contract by the end of March.”

Throughout January, all issues have been discussed in one room. But this week, bargainers decided to engage in parallel talks.

“Doubling up on talks is one way to force health employers to focus,” says Allnutt.

“But this move should not be misinterpreted. We’re still as committed as we’ve ever been to achieving one contract in health care for services and support workers.”

Allnutt says efforts to reach a contract will be backstopped by a February 21 day of mobilization across the province. Contact your HEU local for details. Talks resume Feb. 13.

SPIN OF THE WEEK #2 In response to a community care aide’s story about losing her home due to scheduling screw ups, one HEABC negotiator wondered aloud where the women’s husband was.

COUNTERSPIN If health employers want to bargain a contract for the 21st century, maybe they should adjust their 19th century attitudes about women’s work.