Independent bargaining

About 11,000 HEU members work at facilities operated by for-profit companies and non-profit agencies who are not affiliated with the health authorities. 

We call this our independent sector.

These members work mainly in long-term care, and some assisted living and independent living facilities. HEU also has more than 100 members working for the Skidegate (Haida), Nisga’a and Stz’uminus nations.

This independent sector has about 135 separate collective agreements, which are bargained one by one.

Some of these workplaces are a single bargaining unit covered by one collective agreement.  

Some workplaces have two or more employers – for example, one contractor may employ the members providing care services, while a different company employs support services workers.  

In this case, there are two bargaining units, and the union negotiates two collective agreements.

Some employers operate multiple facilities in different locations. These workers may bargain a single agreement for all the workplaces.

Find out if your worksite is in our independent sector, and find your collective agreement here.

How bargaining works in the independent sector

In the independent sector, your local elects members directly to the bargaining committee.  

  • Bargaining committee members are elected at a local General Meeting or Special Meeting.  
  • The elected bargaining committee conducts a membership survey to determine priorities. This can be done with the support of HEU servicing and bargaining representatives assigned to your work site.
  • The bargaining committee submits the survey results and membership priorities to your HEU representative. They work together to produce a bargaining proposals package.  
  • Your bargaining committee, which includes the HEU representative, negotiates directly with your employer.

A tentative agreement sets out the terms of a first collective agreement for a newly organized site, or, where a collective agreement is currently in place, a renewed collective agreement.

The independent sector may hold occasional bargaining conferences, to talk about common priorities and issues. Each local will still bargain separately.