#33 Job action begins Sunday

Bargaining bulletin

HEU members from facilities across B.C. are preparing for job action Sunday after health employers refused to budge from a compensation position tabled earlier this week.

Seventy-two hour strike notice served Thursday will take effect Sunday, 11:00 a.m.

Sunday’s job action includes taking a limited number of workers off-the-job at hospitals and long-term care facilities to leaflet the public. Other operations not directly connected to patient care may be affected by pickets.

“After 12 weeks of intense negotiations, we’ve been left with no other option but to serve strike notice,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt.

“HEABC is determined to discount a potential settlement by the value of our annual pay equity adjustments and that’s just not on.

“And this settlement framework, handed to health employers by the finance minister, contradicts the government’s efforts to make pay equity the law,” adds Allnutt.

The key issues still outstanding at table are general wage increases and justice for about 2,000 HEU members in long-term care whose wages and benefits haven’t yet reached the industry standard.

Health employers have offered about half the wage increase the unions are proposing. And HEABC would delay justice for non-levelled HEU members.

They also refuse to link premium pay to BCNU and HSA settlements.

Agreement has been reached on measures that will increase long-term care staffing, make workplaces safer and improve training.

In an 11th hour attempt to block Sunday’s actions, HEABC is going to the Labour Relations Board to argue that strike notice was improperly served.

“They should stop grasping at straws and spend more time trying to reach a settlement,” says Allnutt.

SPIN OF THE WEEK “The business of pay equity and wage fairness is a complete red herring.” — HEABC CEO Gary Moser

COUNTERSPIN If the employer has changed their position, let’s get back to the table and discuss it.