Health employers must be better prepared when Facilities talks resume next week

Bargaining bulletin
Bargaining Bulletins

After two weeks of slow-going negotiations, unions representing 46,000 health care workers say that B.C.’s health employers need to pick up the pace when talks continue next week.

The multi-union Facilities Bargaining Association has held six days of collective bargaining with the Health Employers Association of B.C. since February 7. The FBA has tabled a number of concrete proposals in the areas of health and safety, equity and wellness.

But HEABC has not responded to any of those proposals and has only brought housekeeping and contract administration issues to the table.

HEU secretary-business manager Bonnie Pearson says that health employers and government need to commit themselves to more productive discussions at the bargaining table.

“We’re prepared to take all the time we need to negotiate a fair and reasonable deal for our members,” says Pearson, who is the chief spokesperson for the FBA.

“But we’re also not keen on wasting time while health employers sort out their positions on a range of issues that are of critical importance in these talks.”

The current collective agreement expires on March 31, 2012. The FBA has scheduled bargaining sessions with HEABC into next month.

There are a dozen unions in the FBA representing health care workers in hospitals, residential care facilities, emergency health services, shared services (like supply chain and logistics) and diagnostic and treatment centres. More than 270 job classifications are represented in the talks.