Haida health care workers looking for respect

Bargaining bulletin

Haida health care workers and their union are urging the Skidegate Band Council to adopt a new approach to bargaining collective agreements.

The bargaining committee for the XAAYNANGAA NAAY Local of the Hospital Employees’ Union wants to avoid the delays and costly interventions by outside parties that soured relations between health care workers and the Band Council during the last round of collective bargaining.

“The goal of health care workers in this round of bargaining is simple,” says XAAYNANGAA NAAY union member Ruth Gladstone-Davies.

“We need a new contract that strengthens health care for all the Haida people. One way to do that is to treat local health care workers with respect.”

The union bargaining committee met with Band Council negotiators on May 16 and 17 and made proposals that include sick leave and vacation improvements and more job security.

The Band Council’s negotiators want to eliminate those parts of the collective agreement that are designed to quickly deal with disputes in favour of more expensive and lengthy full arbitration hearings. They also want to take away the ability for either side to ask for the help of an independent tribunal if bargaining breaks down.

Gladstone-Davies says union members were annoyed when Wayne Wilson and the Band Council’s high-priced Vancouver lawyer Kim Thorne took a boat trip when they were supposed to be briefing Band Council members on the union’s proposals.

Haida health care workers are asking the Band Council to direct their negotiators to stop playing games and get serious about reaching a fair collective agreement as soon as possible.

Gladstone-Davies and Dorothy Russ are on the union’s bargaining committee along with HEU staff representative Kathy Jessome from Prince George. Wilson and Thorne are bargaining for the Band Council along with Ron Williams and Maureen Dudoward.