Employment security dominates day 4 of facilities bargaining
Employment security dominated the fourth day of facilities subsector talks when the multi-union bargaining committee and the Health Employers Association of B.C. returned to the table on February 5 in Burnaby.Chris Allnutt, spokesperson for the union bargaining committee, says that employment security is much more than protection for workers. “Employment security strengthens the public health care system through the recruitment and retention of skilled and experienced workers. A stable workforce makes all the difference to patients and employers.” The unions reviewed the historic 1993 Employment Security Agreement which set up processes that tapped into workers’ knowledge to help the health care system remain flexible and responsive to changes through redeployment and other mechanisms. In 1996, it was renewed and enhanced by province-wide education programs and a long-range human resources approach to workforce planning. The employer’s response was that employment security creates “an unnatural situation in the workplace” and employers are not interested in employment security for their employees. But HEABC did note that bargaining is bargaining and they’re not shutting the door to discussing employment security. The union bargaining association also asked for any plans that employers have on future contracting out, closures or cuts. HEABC was unable to respond at this time. Talks will resume February 18, 19 and 20. In other bargaining-related news, Allnutt received a standing ovation when he spoke at the B.C. Nurses’ Union’s provincial bargaining conference earlier this week. And more than 340 HEU delegates from across B.C. will gather in Richmond February 8 — 10 for the union’s Wage Policy Conference. During the conference, members will elect a new bargaining committee. They will hold their first meeting February 16 and 17 in the Provincial Office.