HEU announces new chief spokesperson

News release


The Hospital Employees' Union announced today that Jennifer Whiteside will take over as the union's secretary-business manager, effective immediately.

She succeeds Bonnie Pearson who has served in the role since 2011. Pearson announced her plans to retire late last year, pending the recruitment of her successor.

Whiteside comes to HEU from the Conseil provincial des affaires sociales which represents 20,000 Quebec union members in the health care and social services sectors.

Previously, she worked for HEU and other unions in B.C. in a number of roles including as a labour relations representative and a policy researcher. Whiteside has also consulted with a number of unions and other organizations across the country on a broad range of health policy and labour relations issues.

“I have enormous respect for HEU members and their deep commitment to quality public health care in their communities,” says Whiteside.

“I look forward to working with members to improve their working and caring conditions, take on the threat of privatization and underfunding, and ensure that their voices are heard by decision-makers,” she adds.

HEU president Victor Elkins says: “I am thrilled that Jennifer has agreed to join our leadership team and put her considerable skills and experience to work on behalf of our members.

“I also want to thank Bonnie for her solid leadership over the past four years, especially at the bargaining table where she led the union team through two difficult rounds of negotiations,” he adds.   

The HEU secretary-business manager has broad constitutional responsibilities as chief spokesperson and negotiator, and is responsible for managing the staff and operations of the union.

HEU is B.C.’s largest health care union representing 46,000 health care and community social services workers. HEU members work on every part of the health care team in hospitals, care facilities, First Nations health centres, community agencies, supply and logistics centres and other settings.