#30 Talks enter critical weekend

Bargaining bulletin

As bargaining resumes Mar. 23, health care workers rally for one contract in New Westminster

As talks enter a critical weekend - little more than a week before contracts for 60,000 health services and support workers expire more than 70 health care workers rallied in New Westminster to press for one set of contract conditions for all health care workers.

The rally was organized by HEU members from the Foyer Maillard local in Coquitlam. They're still not earning the same wages and benefits of other facilities workers despite being covered by the same contract since 1996.

"It's shameful. It's unfair. It has to change," HEU local chairperson Nadeem Memon told supporters.

HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt reinforced the fundamental principle guiding the unions at the bargaining table: It doesn't matter where you work, health care workers should receive the same wages and benefits for performing the same work.

"These are tense times," added Allnutt. "We're less than 10 days before the contracts for 60,000 caregivers expire.

"Last week, 90 per cent of our members said they were prepared to take strike action to win a fair settlement. Employers better listen. Time is running out to achieve a settlement."

The rally was also attended by members of other health care unions and addressed by UFCW Local 1518’s Tom Fawkes and by BCGEU’s vice-president Catherine Glennie.

After spending most of the week revising their bargaining demands, health employers met with HEU and its bargaining partners in face to face talks Friday. It’s expected that negotiations will continue through the weekend.