#11HEABC stuck in concession rut

Bargaining bulletin

Health employers are stalling progress on a new collective agreement for 60,000 health care workers by refusing to move off their concession demands.

Secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt says the unions are frustrated with HEABC’s unwillingness to use the collective bargaining process to strengthen health care services by dealing with issues like safe staffing levels and training.

“Our members and the public won’t tolerate a round of old-style bargaining squandered on pointless posturing on existing contract provisions,” says Allnutt.

“Front-line workers, progressive health care administrators and the public expect us to focus on ways to improve the quality of health care services we deliver.”

Instead, HEABC has given short shrift to union proposals aimed at the high rates of injuries in health care and are continuing to elaborate on their concession demands — most recently their plan to dismantle the classification system.

The employers’ bargaining approach, and the need to mobilize around union proposals, is the subject of a letter being sent to each HEU member this week.

Talks scheduled for Feb. 6 — 8 will focus on subsector specific issues. Facilities subsector discussions will focus on improving long-term care services through higher levels of staffing. The establishment of maintenance standards for B.C.’s aging health care facilities is also on the agenda.

The equitable distribution of home support hours will be the main focus for community subsector bargainers.

SPIN OF THE WEEK HEABC bargainers quipped this week that existing injury-on-duty leave provisions are a “bonus” for injured workers.

COUNTERSPIN Time for a reality check, HEABC. The physical, emotional — and financial — cost of injuries to individual workers is very high. The “bonus” has gone to health care bosses who’ve gotten a WCB premium rate holiday while continuing to injure workers in record numbers.