HEU urges Pacific Blue Cross members to vote for progressive candidates at AGM

For details on how and where to vote on December 13, click here.

HEU is urging all members who are enrolled in the Pacific Blue Cross benefits program to attend the company’s annual general meeting on December 13 in Vancouver and cast a ballot for candidates who will restore progressive leadership to the organization’s board of directors.

“Over the past year, the leadership of Pacific Blue Cross abandoned its roots as a progressive, non-profit, extended health benefits provider,” says HEU secretary-business manager Jennifer Whiteside. “Their treatment of Pacific Blue Cross staff leading up to and throughout collective bargaining earlier this year was out of step with the B.C. labour movement’s values.”

“We want the next Pacific Blue Cross board to respect both workers and plan holders – that’s why HEU is supporting candidates like HEU pensions and benefits director Brendan Dick and six other experienced and highly qualified candidates for the seven positions up for election at the December13 annual general meeting,” says Whiteside. 

In addition to HEU’s Brendan Dick, the union is urging Pacific Blue Cross members cast their votes for Unifor’s Joe Elworthy and former BC Teachers’ Federation president Jim Iker in the individual member category. Dr. Sandra Jenneson and Dr. Stéphane Voyer in the health care professional member category, and the B.C. Federation of Labour’s Aaron Ekman and MoveUp’s Alicia Gallo in the organizational member category are also supported by HEU, CUPE BC and the labour movement.

Voting takes place on Wednesday, December 13 starting at 6:00 p.m. at the Westin Bayshore, 1601 Bayshore Drive in Vancouver. Attendees must register between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. in order to cast their ballot in the board elections.

All primary beneficiaries of Pacific Blue Cross are entitled to vote. Please bring your Pacific Blue Cross card and your ID to register. If you can’t find your card, you can login at <www.pac.bluecross.ca> and under the Account/ID Cards tab print or email a temporary card.

Below see complete biographies of the seven candidates supported by HEU. For more information about the vote or to arrange transportation to the meeting, please call 1-877-600-1180.

Elect a progressive board team for Pacific Blue Cross on December 13

Individual Member Category (elect three)

Brendan Dick - Brendan Dick is director of pensions and benefits for the Hospital Employees’ Union as well as coordinator of the Enhanced Disability Management Program for the Facilities Bargaining Association. A co-chair of the Canadian Blood Services (CBS) defined benefit pension plan, Brendan has been a CBS trustee since 2005. Currently a member of the Canadian Board of the International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans, he is a past chair/vice chair of the Municipal Pension Board of Trustees and served on the board from 2003 to 2014. Brendan has completed the Advanced Trustee Management Standards Program and the Responsible Trustee Program through the Sauder School of Business. He sat on the Interplan Audit Committee (Municipal, Public Service, College and Teachers Pension Plans) for more than 15 years, and as a board member on the B.C. Pension Corporation in 2013/14.

Joe Elworthy - Joe Elworthy is president of UNIFOR Local 2200, representing more than 1,000 skilled trades and support workers employed by Coast Mountain Bus Company (TransLink) in Metro Vancouver. He has worked for Coast Mountain since 1976, serving five terms of office as president of his union local. Since 1993, he has served as trust chair for the Transit Employees’ Health Benefit Trust, financial secretary for the UNIFOR National Skilled Trades Council and the Sector Advisory Group for the BC Industry Training Authority, as national president of the Confederation of Canadian Union and the Independent Canadian Transit Union, and as trustee for the BC Public Service Pension Plan. Joe has also led educational seminars for the International Foundation and benefits-related conferences, and has presented to the Conference Board of Canada and PBLI Conferences.

Jim Iker - Jim Iker is a teacher and past president of the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF). He has an honours degree in Political Science and Sociology from McMaster University, and a Bachelor of Education from Dalhousie University. Since 1977, Jim has worked as a teacher in nearly every elementary grade including kindergarten. He has also worked as a teacher counsellor, learning assistant, and special education teacher. As part of the Burns Lake District Teachers’ Union’s bargaining team, Jim helped negotiate the first three contracts between 1988 and 1994. Also a member of the first provincial bargaining committee in 1995 and subsequent teams in 1998, 2006, 2011 and 2013, Jim was chief negotiator for the 2011 and 2013 teams. First elected to the BCTF Executive in 2002 as a member-at-large, he served for five years before becoming BCTF vice-president and then president. His still-active teaching career spans 40 years working for School District #91 (Nechako Lakes).

Organizational Member Category (elect two)

Aaron Ekman - Aaron Ekman is secretary-treasurer of the B.C. Federation of Labour. Before taking on this position in 2014, he served as the B.C. Government and Service Employees Union’s northern regional coordinator while living in Prince George. Aaron first became active in the student union movement as president of the UBC-Okanagan Students’ Society. He was the first chairperson of the Young Workers’ Committee of the Vancouver & District Labour Council and has worked in commercial roofing, sheet-metal fabrication, and commercial/industrial installation. Aaron was the founding president of the North Central Labour Council, representing more than 12,000 union members across northern B.C.

Alicia Gallo - Alicia Gallo is vice-president of MoveUp, representing more than 12,000 union members at public and private sector companies in Western Canada. Elected to the executive council in 2009, Alicia serves on several committees within the union and her workplace, including the Educational, OH&S, Arbitration Review, Constitution & By-Law, Events and Social Planning and CMBC Bargaining committees. She is the executive board liaison for the Youth Action committee and a member of the B.C. Federation of Labour’s Constitution and Structure and Community and Social Action committees. She sits on the council for Camp Jubilee, a wilderness camp supported by B.C.’s labour movement, and is the CMBC advocate for the United Way. Alicia has a degree in Health Sciences, specializing in Pharmacology, and is working towards her Bachelor’s in Human Resources and Labour Relations.

Health Care Professional Member Category (elect two)

Dr. Sandra Jenneson - Dr. Sandra Jenneson is an emergency room physician at the Royal Columbian Hospital and a regional medical director at B.C. Emergency Health Services. While earning a co-operative degree in microbiology and immunology from the University of British Columbia she concurrently was a student at the Justice Institute of BC, where she received her paramedic certification and worked as a paramedic with the BC Ambulance Service. After graduating from UBC with a medical degree in 2010, Sandra began a residency in the emergency medicine program and in 2015 graduated with a specialist designation in emergency medicine and a subspecialist designation in emergency health services. Today she holds a clinical associate professor’s position within UBC’s Department of Emergency Medicine. 

Dr. Stéphane Voyer - Dr. Stéphane Voyer is a specialist in General Internal Medicine at St. Paul’s Hospital, where he is active in education and educational administration. Originally from Montreal, he trained at McGill University and completed his specialist training in Vancouver where he earned a Master’s in Adult Education from UBC. Stéphane also works throughout northern B.C. to provide access to specialist medicine in otherwise underserved parts of the province, both through on-site outreach clinics, and via novel telemedicine strategies.