HEU heads to the bargaining table January 26

Bargaining bulletin

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Negotiations with BC's health employers for a new collective agreement covering more than 35,000 Hospital Employees' Union members working in hospitals and long-term care facilities begin later this week.

The union is looking to recover lost ground for all members who were hit hard by government-imposed wage cuts in 2004.

In addition, union members want job-specific adjustments for wage rates that are out of sync with comparable work in the public and private sectors - or that no longer reflect increased levels of training and responsibility.

"HEU members are focused on reaching a negotiated settlement that recognizes their critical roles delivering health services to British Columbians," says HEU secretary-business manager Judy Darcy.

"The wage cuts imposed by government in 2004 continue to have devastating consequences – not just on our members and their families – but for the ability of our hospitals and care facilities to attract and retain skilled, experienced workers.

"Our objective in this round of bargaining is a fair deal for health care workers and improved caring conditions in our workplaces."

Last week, HEU's bargaining committee – elected at the wage policy conference earlier this month – met to fine tune the union's bargaining package. Today and Wednesday, they'll be meeting with representatives of ten other unions who bargain with HEU in the facilities subsector including the BCGEU and IUOE.

Meetings with the Health Employers Association of BC begin on Thursday and continue January 31 through February 2.

It's expected that there will be a heavy schedule of bargaining dates through February.

HEU members in community health and community social services are also heading for the table. The union bargaining association for community health meets with HEABC January 24-26 and is expected to meet three days a week through March.

The union bargaining association for community social services begins its meetings with the Community Social Services Employers Association on January 30.