Health care workers ratify new deal with Skidegate band council

News release
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HEU members working at the Skidegate Health Centre on Haida Gwaii have ratified a new collective agreement that improves their wages and reflects a more cooperative working relationship between the union and the Skidegate Band Council.

In contrast to the past three arbitrated settlements – which had to be referred to Canada’s Labour Relations Board and independent arbitrators – this deal was reached prior to the expiry of the current collective agreement.

Under the three-year contract the workers’ wages will rise by two per cent in 2006, 2007, and 2008. And while there are no major changes to the terms of the agreement, the Skidegate Band Council and the union will work together in the coming weeks and months to address outstanding communication issues in the workplace.

“This is a good agreement for our members. And it’s a good agreement for the Skidegate Band Council,” says the union’s bargaining spokesperson Kathy Jessome.

“It’s also a positive labour relations model that shows what can be achieved when both parties are willing to sit down together and work toward a fair, respectful settlement – without the need for outside arbitration or disruptive job action.”

Work performed by the 20 members of HEU’s Xaaynangaa Local combines traditional and modern methods of care to meet the holistic health needs of Haida Nation members.

“We are very pleased that this employer was willing to acknowledge the important work done by our members,” says Jessome. “And we look forward to sitting down with the band council in the near future to tackle other issues that will improve communications in the workplace.”

Contact: Kathy Jessome, HEU northern director, 250-960-9786 (cell), or 250-564-2102 (office)