#18 HEU activists “get ready” at regional job action conferences

Bargaining bulletin

HEU activists gathered at regional job action conferences this week in preparation for the next step in the fight for a new collective agreement.

More than 300 HEU leaders met in Nelson, Prince George, Richmond, Victoria and Kelowna to assess local mobilization efforts and find new ways to put pressure on health employers to come to a settlement.

HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt travelled to each conference and provided a first hand evaluation of where bargaining stands.

“It’s fair to say that after seven weeks of bargaining something needs to give,” says Allnutt. “So these conferences are incredibly important. Our union must be ready to take the next step — whatever that might be — in our efforts to reach a fair contract settlement.”

“We may soon be in the position where we must call on HEU members to provide the bargaining committee with a strong strike mandate.”

During each of the conferences, activists leafleted both health care facilities and public places with material that contrasted union proposals with the concessions demanded by health care bosses.

They also put together a series of zipper songs, poems and skits to boost mobilization efforts. “Who let the bosses out” and “Don’t be cruel, to the HEU” are two examples of the creative wit evident at the conferences.

There’s also a challenge. Northern members gathered in Prince George have boldly proclaimed that if a strike vote is called for, they’ll produce the highest turnout and the strongest “yes” vote.