Employer proposals at paramed mediation disappointing - #2

Bargaining bulletin

Paramedical professionals are poised for job action

The paramedical bargaining association issued a 72-hour strike notice on Tuesday, January 5, coinciding with the first of three days of mediated talks between the multi-union bargaining association and the Health Employers Association of B.C.

The employers put forward their new proposals on January 6. Although the bargaining association is studying them and will put forward their own counterproposals the afternoon of January 7, the union bargaining committee is disappointed. The unions’ major concerns were not addressed, and the concessions on classification are worse than those contained in the last proposal.

The Health Sciences Association is the lead union in the paramedical professionals bargaining association, which is also made up of the Hospital Employees’ Union, the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union, the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.

This was the second round of mediated talks for the paramed bargaining association and HEABC. In the December talks, HEABC refused to remove concessions on classification, scheduling and work assignments, and the talks were adjourned.

“The employer’s concession demands are a threat to all health care workers,” said HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. “At this late date in bargaining, contract rollbacks should be off the table.”

Should job action be necessary, it has been agreed that initial action will involve HSA members only. However, HEU members should be prepared to provide support if job action escalates. HSA will notify HEU about affected sites ahead of time, and HEU will inform its locals accordingly.

“It is true we are in the midst of a dispute with HSA,” said Allnutt. “But we are sister unions, and we must remember that the employer has and will try every trick in the book to divide us. One of the fundamental tools we have as working people is our strong labour solidarity.”