Dorsey decision on implementation of longer work week expected Friday

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THE EXPEDITED hearing on the implementation of the 37.5-hour work week was held Thursday and arbitrator James Dorsey — recognizing the urgent need to deal with this matter in a timely manner — is expected to issue his decision by the end of the day on Friday.

An expedited hearing was required after the Health Employers Association of B.C. informed health unions in a letter that employers could implement the 37.5-hour work week as early as July 30.

“?some health employers may proceed to implement the work week as early as July 30, 2004, others may implement at some later day within the 90-day period following July 29, 2004,” wrote HEABC senior vice-president Tony Collins.

Health employers continued to maintain this position at the expedited hearing.

Hospital Employees’ Union secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt says that facilities subsector health unions have demanded that any layoff notices issued because of premature implementation of the longer work week be rescinded immediately and asked health employers to confirm that the 37.5-hour work week will be effective in October.

“Arbitrator Dorsey’s award allows for a sensible, respectful implementation of new schedules affecting tens of thousands of workers,” says Allnutt. “It’s disappointing that health employers want to cause disruption rather than work together to make the transition less chaotic.”

Dorsey’s July 15 arbitration award delays implementation of the 37.5-hour work week to October. He retains jurisdiction to deal with its interpretation.