Douglas House negotiations see several important articles addressed

Bargaining bulletin

The right to refuse unsafe work, the right to grieve disciplinary action agreed to

The union and the employer resumed bargaining toward a first collective agreement covering 25 HEU members at Ishtar Investments Inc.-owned Douglas House Independent and Intermediate Care Home in Victoria last week.

Progress was made in several areas especially in occupational health and safety. Within the OH&S articles, there is language acknowledging the employer’s responsibility to provide orientation and in-services necessary for the safe performance of work as well as to provide appropriate clothing and equipment.

Provision for an OH&S committee was established. The committee’s mandate will include dealing with safety-related workload problems and increased education for staff on workplace safety, safe lifting techniques, dealing with aggressive patients/residents and WHIMS.

And, there is language endorsing the employees’ right to refuse unsafe work.

Another important achievement, the right to grieve disciplinary action, was agreed to and includes using the grievance process to challenge letters of reprimand and adverse performance evaluations.

And, there is an article calling for the employer to provide an on-site filing cabinet for the sole use of the union, and a private place for union officers to meet with members and to attend to local administration duties.

The employer has committed to responding to the union’s monetary demands when talks resume November 3, 16 and 24.

Vancouver-based Ishtar Investments Inc. is B.C.’s biggest private, for profit seniors’ housing and care company, owns and operates 17 facilities across Canada, and trades publicly on the Toronto Stock Exchange.