Day Three: Elkins elected HEU president, Bernardo re-elected financial secretary

Convention delegates elected Victor Elkins, a cardiac perfusion assistant from the PHSA Amalgamated Local, as the union’s new president for the 2012 – 2014 term. Elkins acknowledged the friendship and mentoring he received from outgoing HEU president Ken Robinson over the years.

Sister Donisa Bernardo thanked delegates for their continued support as she was re-elected to her fourth term as the union’s financial secretary.

And Bonnie Pearson, HEU’s secretary-business manager, was ratified as HEU’s secretary-business manager.

Delegates also filled the balance of the Provincial Executive’s at-large positions. They are: Ken Robinson (1st vice-president), Carolyn Unsworth (2nd vice-president), Ian Maslin  (3rd vice-president), Kelly Knox (Senior Trustee-Elect) and Jim Calvin (Trustee). Winston Clarke will continue to serve as a Senior Trustee, completing a four-year term.

The elections were chaired by BC Federation of Labour secretary-treasurer Irene Lanzinger.

Election of regional vice-presidents will take place on Thursday.

Solidarity rally for health care

Hundreds of convention delegates converged on the Vancouver Art Gallery for an energetic rally for fair contract settlements covering more than 70,000 health care workers in B.C. who’ve been without contracts since last spring.

They joined members of BCGEU, HSA, CUPE, UFCW and other unions impacted by collective bargaining in the facilities, community health and health science professional subsectors.

HEU’s Bonnie Pearson took aim at health employers for their disrespectful approach to bargaining with health care workers. She was joined by BCGEU president Darryl Walker, HSA president Reid Johnson and BC Fed president Jim Sinclair in demanding government negotiate fair and reasonable collective agreements with health workers.

Women’s gathering energizes and inspires

More than 300 HEU sisters attended the women’s gathering at 7:15 this morning to hear Musqueam Nation teen Zoe Craig and director Asia Czapska, both from Justice For Girls, talk about the impact of climate change on children, particularly girls.

Craig and Czapska recently presented to the United Nations’ Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva about environmental justice.

Music is always part of the women’s gathering and this year two Vancouver-based, award-winning performers – Green TaRA and Christa Couture – opened and closed the early morning event that has become a much anticipated tradition at each biennial convention.

Convention business continues

Discussions continued on the union’s 2012-2014 strategic directions document and previewed a new video produced by the union to help orient new members.

Delegates responded to the challenges of representing members in merged locals by providing locals with more flexibility in appointing chief shop stewards.

Delegates reaffirmed their support for the union’s equity committees and for a campaign to mobilize support for stable federal funding for health care.

The convention also agreed to campaign with other unions and community organizations to keep eligibility of Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement at the age of 65.

And delegates passed a resolution to increase strike pay by $50 a week.