HEU to Pro Vita & Westcana: stop dodging bargaining responsibility

Bargaining bulletin

HEU members working for Pro Vita and Westcana at Arranglen Gardens in Qualicum are seeking basic cooperation from their employer and greater respect for the collective bargaining process.

"We're seeing a lot of foot-dragging here that has got to stop so we can get on with bargaining a fair first contract for the dedicated staff working in this facility," says the union's bargaining spokesperson Bonnie Youngman.

Although HEU provided Pro Vita with the union's proposal more than 10 weeks ago, on November 8 - along with several proposed bargaining dates since then - the employer has yet to agree to any contract talks.

And Westcana has not responded to requests for basic information on wages, benefits, job descriptions and seniority dates, all of which are crucial for the bargaining committee to build a comprehensive bargaining proposal.

Nonetheless, the bargaining committee met on January 13 to identify priorities and lay the proposal's groundwork.

Youngman says she's not impressed with Westcana's recent memo to union members regarding HEU's first contracts with Aramark and Sodexho. "Those first contracts achieved huge gains for workers who have been at the mercy of a concerted agenda, by huge multi-national corporations, to drive down wages in health care."

"Westcana would be well advised to stop deflecting its own responsibility to negotiate a fair first contract for their own workers."

The union is bargaining first contracts for 45 health care aides employed by Pro Vita, and 25 support workers who provide all dietary, housekeeping and maintenance services in the 86-bed care facility.

Youngman says both groups of employees face serious workplace issues that need to be addressed at the bargaining table.

"Our members work hard for their employer to ensure residents receive the best care possible, despite difficult working conditions," says Youngman. "They're entitled to basic consideration and respect - and that begins at the bargaining table."

Wages, sick time, health and safety concerns and basic workplace rights are all high on the list of priorities for health care aides and support workers.

Youngman says she will continue to urge Pro Vita to set up bargaining dates, but should this prove unsuccessful the union will have no other option but to seek assistance from the Labour Relations Board.

Nursing assistants became HEU members on July 7, 2005. Support workers were certified on Aug 19, 2005.

LPNs and activity aides, employed by Chartwell at Arranglen Gardens, are covered by the facilities agreement.

Members are asked to check the bulletin boards for future updates.

Your Bargaining Committees are:

WestCana

Janet McGuire

Carol McNeil

Roberta Bartlett

Bonnie Youngman - HEU Bargaining Representative

ProVita

Darlene Whitlock

Christine Ballegeer

Bonnie Youngman - HEU Bargaining Representative