#2Bargaining begins December 19

Bargaining bulletin

HEU and its sister unions representing general and support workers in health care commence bargaining with health employers for a new collective agreement on Dec. 19.

“There is some resistance from health employers to bargaining across the facilities/community wall,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. “But we have a concrete undertaking from the premier that negotiations will take place at a single table — and we’ll hold health employers to that commitment.”

Allnutt expects the Dec. 19 meeting to focus on establishing a general framework for bargaining. A further ten days of bargaining have been scheduled with the Health Employers Association of B.C. between Jan. 10 and Feb. 1. The collective agreements covering general and support workers in the community and facilities subsectors expire Mar. 31.

“Our goal is to bargain a new collective agreement covering all community and facilities health care workers before the current contracts expire,” says BCGEU president George Heyman. “That’s why we served notice to bargain at the earliest possible moment.

“Bargaining at a single table will lead to a more equitable contract for all health care workers,” adds Heyman. “And it will assist the government in its efforts to put in place a seamless continuum of care delivery — regardless of care setting.”

The unions in that association have agreed to be bound by a process that would require an agreement of the largest union — HEU — and at least one other union on any proposals or agreements as a way of ensuring the protection of the rights of minority unions.

A new collective agreement will cover about 60,000 front-line health care workers belonging to at least 10 trade unions.