First contract for Normanna, Evergreen members on the horizon

Bargaining bulletin

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A first contract for Compass workers at Normanna and Evergreen care homes is finally in sight, thanks to an agreement between the union and the employer to seek an arbitrated settlement under Section 55 of BC’s Labour Code.

At a recent meeting with Labour Relations Board mediator Grant McArthur, HEU and Compass committed to ending the long drawn-out process – that has characterized contract talks to date – by opting for an arbitrated agreement.

McArthur wrapped up the March 3, 2006 session by offering his services to help the two sides resolve as many outstanding language items as possible before they send their final positions to Brian Foley, the appointed arbitrator.

“We’re currently waiting for the employer’s response to McArthur’s offer of assistance,” says HEU’s bargaining spokesperson Noel Gulbransen. “Clearly, we’d like to see as few items as possible sent to arbitration, and as many as possible negotiated with the mediator’s assistance.”

Gulbransen says he is confident that the mediation and arbitration process will bring about a fair first contract for the 60 HEU members who’ve been without a collective agreement since HEU became their certified bargaining agent just over one year ago.

Contract talks, which were initiated in early June, broke down last fall. Early in the new year members in both Lower Mainland facilities gave their union unanimous strike mandates.

“Members have been extremely supportive and patient throughout this process,” says Gulbransen. “At long last they can be assured that a settlement is on the horizon.”