HEU’s provincial bargaining committee begins preparation for talks
The provincial bargaining committee of the Hospital Employees’ Union met in Burnaby on November 16, 17 and 18, and began their preparations for negotiations of a new collective agreement that covers health care workers in B.C. hospitals and long-term care facilities.
Over the three days, committee members reviewed the priorities and proposals brought forward by delegates at HEU’s Wage Policy conference earlier this month.
HEU secretary-business manager Judy Darcy says that the members of the committee take their responsibilities seriously and spent this first meeting discussing the results of Wage Policy.
“Delegates to Wage Policy were clear about their priorities,” says Darcy. “Bargaining committee members take very seriously those priorities – and the responsibility to reflect our members’ needs at the negotiating table as well as provide solutions to improve health care in B.C.”
During this week’s meeting, the bargaining committee focused on job security, compensation and utilization issues, and protection of benefits.
Provincial bargaining committee members also elected Joanne Dickie, a licensed practical nurse (LPN) from Lions Gate Hospital as their chairperson.
Dickie serves on the committee with Chris Duckett (plumber, Powell River local) who was elected committee secretary, Debera Willis (LPN, 100 Mile House), Jim Kelly (computer technical support, Vancouver General local), Laura Neil (nursing unit assistant, Royal Jubilee local), Marina Beauchamp (accounting assistant, Kelowna Amalgamated local), John Gillies (LPN, Royal Jubilee local), Jim Calvin (nursing assistant, Chilliwack Amalgamated local), Josh Charette (stores attendant, FHA Support Services local), Joyce Beddow (nurse aide, Ashcroft local). HEU’s president Ken Robinson, financial secretary Donisa Bernardo and Darcy are also on the committee.
The union’s provincial bargaining committee will meet again in December.
HEU is the largest union in the multi-union Facilities Bargaining Association (FBA) which includes the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) and the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) and others.
“Our bargaining committee is well aware of the challenges we face in negotiating a new collective agreement,” Darcy says. “They also know the strengths that HEU members bring to the table, and that health care workers are a big part of the solution to the problems we face in the system today.
“I am confident that along with our FBA partners, we can make that case when we get to the bargaining table.”