HEU acts to move six groups of members into paramed bargaining unit

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THE HOSPITAL EMPLOYEES’ UNION is asking the Labour Relations Board to transfer six groups of union members into the paramedical professional bargaining association (PPBA) while maintaining their membership in the union.

In making the application at the LRB today, the union is acting on an earlier commitment (Newsletter) to these workers to pursue the transfer based on an investigation of their evolving job duties.

The six groups of workers affected are electrocardiogram technicians and cardiology technologists; electrodiagnostic technicians; youth and family counselors; alcohol and drug counselors; music therapists; and orthopedic technologists.

“Health care is evolving rapidly as has the work of these members,” says HEU secretary-business manager Judy Darcy. “We’ve prepared an excellent case for why these workers should be transferred into a more appropriate bargaining unit.”

In its application, HEU argues that these workers should continue to maintain their membership in the union. HEU and eight other unions already represent members in the PPBA.

“Our application on behalf of these workers is based on our duty to represent them in the best way possible,” says Darcy. “And they shouldn’t lose their union because their union stands up for them.”

On May 6, the LRB agreed with an earlier HEU application to transfer biomedical engineering technologists into the PPBA.

But citing provisions of Bill 29, the LRB sided with health employers and the Health Sciences Association in ruling that HEU could no longer represent biomeds.

HEU has applied to the LRB for a reconsideration of that part of the decision (Newsletter). The union is not appealing the transfer of biomeds into the PPBA.

“The principle of preserving union affiliation through bargaining unit transfers has been backed by most unions in health care for more than a decade,” says Darcy. “And despite the efforts of the provincial government to undermine this principle through Bill 29, we believe we have valid grounds for our reconsideration.”