Health employers threaten early implementation of longer work week

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Dorsey to hold expedited hearing into the matter on Thursday

B.C.’S HEALTH EMPLOYERS say they can implement the 37.5-hour work week as early as July 30 despite last week’s arbitration award that found that the 90-day implementation period for the extended work week begins July 29.

“?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,” writes Health Employers Association of B.C. senior vice-president Tony Collins in a letter to health unions.

An expedited hearing into the matter has been scheduled for Thursday. Arbitrator James Dorsey — who issued last week’s award — has jurisdiction to deal with its interpretation.

Hospital Employees' Union secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt says that the facilities subsector health unions have demanded that all layoff notices issued as a result of the planned implementation of the longer work be rescinded immediately and that health employers confirm that the longer work week will now be effective October 27, 2004.

“In their rush to implement a longer work week, health employers are causing maximum disruption on health care’s front lines,” says Allnutt.

“Last week’s award provided some breathing room for a sensible and respectful implementation of new schedules affecting tens of thousands of workers. I’m disappointed that health employers have chosen to dig in rather than work with us to make the transition less chaotic.”