Facilities bargaining now underway
Negotiations between the multi-union Facilities Bargaining Association and B.C.’s health employers for a new collective agreement covering 46,000 health care workers got underway this week.
During three days of meetings, the unions and the Health Employers Association of B.C. made general presentations on their objectives. The two sides will meet again next week.
FBA spokesperson Bonnie Pearson expects talks to continue for several weeks, and bargaining dates have been scheduled into March.
Pearson is the secretary-business manager of the Hospital Employees’ Union and lead negotiator for the 12-union FBA.
“Our side is looking forward to getting into some substantial discussion on issues that matter to our members and that will contribute to a stronger health care system,” says Pearson.
“And we will challenge health employers and government to make a fair and reasonable investment in those who deliver health care to British Columbians under difficult circumstances.”
The Facilities collective agreement expires on March 31, 2012. The FBA is one of several public sector union groups currently at the table negotiating agreements for more than 200,000 workers.
FBA members work in hospitals, residential care facilities and in emergency health services.
The diverse bargaining unit includes more than 270 job classifications working in every area of health care.
The HEU represents about 85 per cent of the members covered by the talks. Another 14 per cent are represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 873, the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union and International Union of Operating Engineers Local 882/882H.
Other FBA unions represent about one per cent of workers covered by the talks. They are: the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 38; Pulp, Paper and Woodworkers of Canada Local 5; B.C. Nurses’ Union; Construction and Specialized Workers Union Local 1611; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 230; United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 324; United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America; and United Steelworkers of America Local 9705.