We’re bargaining!

Bargaining bulletin

Concession demands expected when talks resume Jan. 10

In the earliest ever start to bargaining, representatives of HEU, BCGEU and other unions met for more than two hours with representatives of the Health Employers Association of B.C. as bargaining for a new contract for 60,000 health and support workers got underway Dec. 19.

HEU bargaining spokesperson Chris Allnutt said the two sides outlined bargaining themes and priorities — including our Five Steps Forward, outlined below — which will set the tone when talks resume Jan. 10. Nine additional bargaining dates are scheduled up to Feb. 1.

While the employers’ presentation was couched as “respectful proposals,” HEABC’s wish list lays the groundwork for some significant concession demands, particularly around injury on duty leave and the job posting process. “We left them with a pretty clear message,” says Allnutt. “We won’t be bargaining concessions.”

The bargaining kick-off was also momentous, says Allnutt, because it’s the first time unions representing community and facility caregivers have come together around one set of demands. “There’s still resistance to bargaining one table from the employer side,” says Allnutt. “But together with BCGEU and UFCW Local 1518, we’ll continue to press to ensure that HEABC complies with the direction given by Premier Dosanjh that there be one set of talks for community and facility caregivers.”

Meanwhile, with a firm March 31 deadline to win a new settlement, HEU will unveil a membership mobilizing plan early in the new year.

And the union will launch a major radio advertising campaign across the province on Dec. 26 to support our demands.

Our Five Steps Forward

  • One contract for all, and an end to pay and benefit discrimination
  • Strengthen employment security, expand training, protect against privatization
  • A fair wage increase
  • Safer workplaces, better staffing levels
  • Fairness and justice, a series of improvements to deal with inequities