Transfer biomeds, cardio techs, counsellors to paramedical professional

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HEU is asking the Labour Relations Board to transfer biomedical engineers, counsellors and cardio technologists into the paramedical professional bargaining unit.

The union says that the job duties of biomedical engineers have evolved and that this group of workers meets the criteria set out by the LRB to be classified as paramedical professionals.

In separate applications, the union will argue that those criteria also apply to at least three other groups of members: youth and family counsellors at Children’s and Women’s Hospital; alcohol and drug counsellors; and cardiology technologists.

“Health care delivery is evolving rapidly as is the nature of our members’ work,” says HEU’s acting secretary-business manager Zorica Bosancic.

“For some of our members, these new roles and responsibilities must be reflected in their benchmark and for others — like biomedical engineers, cardio techs and counsellors — a change in bargaining unit is appropriate.”

While HEU is acting to transfer these four occupational groups into the paramedical professional bargaining unit, that doesn’t mean a change in union.

In fact, HEU already represents workers in that bargaining unit as does the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the Professional Employees’ Union, the BC Government and Service Employees’ Union and the Health Sciences Association — the largest union in this sector.

But HEU’s position that it continue to represent biomedical engineers in the paramedical professional bargaining unit is being opposed by both the Health Employers Association of BC and by the HSA.

“There’s absolutely no compelling legal or labour relations rationale for stripping workers of their union membership just because their jobs have evolved,” says Bosancic.

On February 11, HEU will meet with other health unions and HEABC at the LRB to discuss the biomedical technologist application for a change in bargaining unit. HEU will be pushing to have the LRB consider the applications of all four groups of workers together.