#2 Employers reject privatization freeze as day one of facilities bargaining begins
Health unions kicked off day one of contract talks for 40,000 hospital and long-term care workers by telling health employers that in the post-Bill 29 labour relations climate, much work needs to be done to reestablish trust in the bargaining process itself.Chief spokesperson for the multi-union bargaining association, Chris Allnutt, also told representatives of the Health Employers Association of B.C. that putting privatization initiatives on hold would help rebuild that trust. While HEABC representatives acknowledged that trust was an issue, they rejected the notion of a privatization freeze claiming that those decisions were the responsibility of health authorities. The HEU and its union bargaining partners further proposed that the key issue of renewed funding for the Occupational Health and Safety Agency for Healthcare be addressed in the beginning stages of talks to ensure that the critical work of reducing injuries in health care workplaces can continue. The unions also called for a bargaining approach that recognizes the diverse nature of health care workers in the sector and one that puts a priority on retaining skilled and experienced workers through employment security. Although HEABC has prepared a comprehensive bargaining position, they refused to table their proposals. The parties have agreed to meet next on January 16 to focus on renewed funding for the OHSAH. Click here for speakers notes in Microsoft Word format. Click here for tabled items.