Buoyed by a 96 per cent strike mandate, the multi-union Facilities Bargaining Association will resume negotiations with health employers on Friday in continuing efforts to secure a collective agreement for 46,000 health care workers.
It will be the first time the FBA team has met with the Health Employers Association of BC since October 19.
FBA spokesperson Bonnie Pearson is hopeful that the strong strike mandate delivered by health care providers will result in a more flexible and constructive approach to negotiations by health employers and government.
“It’s clear that government can and will settle agreements elsewhere in the public sector without forcing workers to shoulder significant costs for any improvements,” says Pearson, who is also secretary-business manager of the Hospital Employees’ Union.
“Our objective is to use our strike mandate to achieve a negotiated agreement at the bargaining table.”
FBA adds 12 seats to bargaining team
The FBA has also increased the total number of seats at the bargaining table to accommodate the increased number of B.C. Nurses’ Union members now represented in facilities talks. As a result, BCNU will now hold a total of six seats on the negotiating committee to represent its FBA members.
The Hospital Employees’ Union allocation of seats has also been increased by six for a total of 19 seats. HEU represents a clear majority of workers covered by these talks, so the adjustment provides HEU with a working majority on the union negotiating team.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees Union Local 873 holds five seats, the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union holds three seats, the International Union of Operating Engineers holds one seat.
And one seat is held by a representative elected by a number of unions that have smaller numbers of members impacted by the talks. In January 2012, BCNU was elected by those unions to hold this seat.