#20Strike votes starting March 8

Bargaining bulletin

In an effort to bring pressure to bear on health employers to move off their concession demands, HEU and its bargaining partners are holding strike votes beginning on March 8 — International Women’s Day.

At the same time, the unions have offered to speed up the pace of talks by meeting seven days a week in order to come up with a contract that works to improve the delivery of health care.

The move comes one day after HEABC tabled their compensation package for facilities workers but refused to do the same for community health workers.

HEABC has proposed general wage increases of one per cent in each year over three years. The unions’ have proposed a one dollar an hour across the board increase in year one and a five per cent increase in year two plus a cost of living escalator.

And the employer’s package contained a last minute concession demand that the existing pay equity plan be rolled back. But in the face of a loud outcry from HEU, this concession was taken off the table by the following morning.

“HEABC’s failure to table a compensation offer that includes the community is evidence that employers are continuing to treat community caregivers as second class health workers,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt.

“The calling of this strike vote should send a clear signal to health employers that they need to focus more on solutions at the bargaining table.”

In a letter sent today to every HEU member, the union’s top officers say that a high turnout and an overwhelming “yes” vote are critical to the bargaining committee’s efforts to reach a settlement before the end of March when the current agreement expires.

Strike vote times and locations will be posted in your workplace in the next few days. A full strike vote schedule will also be made available on HEU’s web site at www.heu.org. The final results will be available March 19.