Negotiations for 46,000 health careworkers set to resume Tuesday afternoon

News release

Flexibility, creativity needed to make headway, unions say

With a renewed commitment on the part of employers to address the bargaining concerns of 46,000 caregivers, health care unions say they’ve agreed to return to the negotiating table to resume talks this afternoon in Vancouver.

Chris Allnutt, chief bargaining spokesperson for the 10 unions involved, says the development is a positive sign, and that the unions are optimistic that a negotiated settlement is achievable.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done on key issues,” says Allnutt, who is also secretary-business manager of the Hospital Employees’ Union, which has 43,000 members involved in the negotiations. “The degree to which employers and government are willing to be flexible and creative at the table will be crucial for us to make headway.”

Talks have been on the back burner for a week. Allnutt says the two sides have reached agreement on a number of key union priorities including measures that increase long-term care staffing, improve training and make workplaces safer. Outstanding issues include a wage increase, pay equity, and benefit improvements.

The contract for the 46,000 health care workers expired at midnight March 31. Workers covered by the talks include Licensed Practical Nurses, Care Aides, clerical and medical records staff, housekeepers, technicians, food service workers, and trades people