International Women’s Day celebration continues into May for HEU

Buffy Sainte-Marie will be keynote speaker at union’s first women’s conference, May 14-15

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This year, the Hospital Employees’ Union’s annual celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8 will last a little longer as the union prepares for its first women’s conference. Performer, songwriter and social activist Buffy Sainte-Marie will join the conference as the keynote speaker when delegates gather at HEU’s Provincial Office for the two-day event on May 14 and 15.

IWD’s spirit of celebration – the theme of HEU’s annual sticker distributed to locals for members to wear on Saturday, March 8 – will carry over to the women’s conference when HEU sisters will participate in skills building as well as creative and artistic workshops, be inspired by each other and by special guest speakers, and have lots of time to connect with old friends and make new ones.

The women’s conference comes after a year of significant accomplishments that HEU sisters and brothers can rightly celebrate, including:

Last June, we won our Bill 29 charter challenge at the Supreme Court of Canada. As a result of that decision, we have reached settlement agreements with health employers and government that provide new rights for facilities and community subsector members, and a measure of compensation for workers whose jobs were contracted out.

We are the union-of-choice for health care workers in B.C. and continue to gain new members as we organize in long-term care, assisted living and other health care areas.

We will hold our first private-sector bargaining conference in preparation of bargaining for renewed collective agreements with the “Big 3” – Sodexo, Aramark and Compass – later this year.

So, celebrate the achievements of women on March 8, and plan to attend HEU’s inaugural women’s conference in May. Locals received information on the women’s conference, along with the application forms, in the February 29 secretary-treasurers’ mailing. Ask your local executive about it, check the HEU website, or contact the union’s education department at 604-438-5000 in the Lower Mainland or toll-free at 1-800-663-5813 if you’d like to know more.