`Our unity is our strength’ main theme of Wage Policy Conference

Bargaining bulletin

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Delegates face bargaining challenges head-on, focus on justice for all

Delegates to HEU’s 16th Wage Policy Conference wrapped up three days of bargaining strategy and discussion with a strong declaration of unity, a universal commitment to preserving 60 years of hard-won gains to workers’ wages, benefits and protections, and a newly-elected provincial bargaining committee.

Speakers from around the province representing the union’s 45,000 members worked through nearly 200 resolutions and dealt head-on with the challenges of bargaining in the toxic climate created by the Campbell Liberals. The result is a united determination to fight contracting out and privatization and restore quality working and caring conditions to the front lines of health care.

Employment security figured prominently but the delegates were clear — bargaining is not only about jobs, it’s about the delivery of quality health care to British Columbians whenever and wherever they need it.

HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt says that members are sending a strong message to employers. “We need to ensure that a dedicated, skilled and experienced workforce is in place for the benefit of all British Columbians.

“Delegates recognize the value and diverse nature of our members’ work and maintained throughout the conference that unity, equality and justice for all was the order of the day.”

Delegates also elected 10 representatives who will join HEU’s full-time officers to form a new provincial bargaining committee.

The representatives are: Barb Burke, Penticton local; Chris Duckett, Powell River local; Frank McCann, Royal Columbian local; Doreen Plouffe, VGH local; Ian Walker, Royal Jubilee/GVHS local; Victor Elkins, C&W local; Tami Broughton, Cranbrook local; Harold Burns, South Okanagan local; Carol Bunch, District 69 Community Health local; and Pat Shaw, South Peace local.

Alternates are: Bob Peacock, Broadway Pentecostal local; Ken Robinson, Kelowna Amalgamated local; Gretchen Dulmage, C&W local; Merilyn McKerracher, Rossland local; and Iris Reamsbottom, Maple Ridge local.

The bargaining committee will meet February 16 and 17 in the HEU Provincial Office to hammer out a comprehensive bargaining package. Talks are scheduled in the facilities subsector on February 18, 19 and 20.