HEU community members urged to vote no in contract ratification #98-43

Bargaining bulletin

Absence of firm future parity pledge from government the problem

Without an ironclad commitment from government to achieve parity in the future, HEU’s Provincial Executive and Bargaining Committee are recommending community members vote no and reject the tentative collective agreement reached in early August, in ratification votes that begin Sept. 28 and conclude Oct. 16. Full details of the tentative agreement will be contained in a comprehensive report to be distributed starting Sept. 23 to HEU community locals.

“We recognize there are some important improvements contained in the agreement,” said HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. “But for the PE, a firm government commitment on a full parity timetable was critical, and it’s one the NDP refused to give in the crucial, final stages of bargaining.

“A concrete pledge for full equality is an issue of justice and dignity for community caregivers and necessary to recognize their important contribution to Medicare. It’s not in the deal, so we’re asking members to cast a vote to protest the lack of commitment.”

Meanwhile, HEU fared well in the process established in the tentative agreement to deal with existing contract provisions for locals that are superior to the community master. As reflected by decisions made by arbitrator Vince Ready Sept. 14, union members maintained most of the superior conditions. On the important issue of implementing new vacation and benefit plan coverage, Ready agreed with HEU that members should be able to decide on whether they want the new provisions or maintain existing ones. Special local meetings to deal with these issues will be scheduled right after the ratification vote concludes.

Allnutt recognized, respectfully, that with other unions in the bargaining association recommending acceptance, the deal will likely be ratified. “But that doesn’t take away from the importance of your vote, which will support an important HEU principle and send a clear message to Victoria.”