HEU to appeal LRB ruling on clinical perfusionists

Narrow interpretation of Bill 28 undermines health care reform, says HEU

HEU will file an application for reconsideration of a B.C. Labour Relations Board decision that undermines the intent of government legislation that restored union representation rights in health care. In its application, HEU will argue that the LRB decision that transferred HEU clinical perfusionist members to HSA interpreted amendments to the Health Authorities Act too narrowly. Bill 28 amended that act in 1997 so that health care workers would retain their union membership even if the LRB transferred them to another bargaining unit. But in her February 17 decision, LRB vice-chair Laura Parkinson says that legislation does not affect transfers under sec. 139 of the Labour Relations Code. “This LRB decision has the exact opposite effect on union members as was intended in the legislation,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. “If this decision is not challenged, the result could be the bleeding away of thousands of HEU members.” “We’re filing this application for reconsideration in the hope that the decision can be overturned by the LRB itself,” adds Allnutt. “If that fails we will press for legislative amendments to plug this hole in Bill 28.” “The B.C. government has a responsibility to ensure that undertakings made in establishing fair and workable laws that preserve union rights are not undermined by contrary decisions of the LRB.” The HEU Provincial Executive has approved an action plan to challenge the LRB decision. That plan will be discussed at CUPE National Executive Board next week. In the meantime, HEU is building support for its challenge among labour allies and has already met with provincial politicians and senior government officials on the matter. “HEU is strongly committed to the rights of its members and to strengthening Medicare,” says Allnutt. “The LRB decision would weaken HEU’s ability to fight on behalf of our members. One way or another, the decision must be overturned.”