LRB must reverse perfusionist decision, says HEU

Health care bosses join HSA in opposing HEU's labour board application

In an effort to repair the legal framework governing health sector labour relations, HEU has asked the Labour Relations Board to reconsider its February 17 decision stripping away the rights of health care workers to maintain their union membership when transferred between bargaining units. In a hearing July 12, HEU argued that the labour board failed to properly apply the Health Authorities Amendment Act - Bill 28 - when it transferred a group of clinical perfusionists from HEU to the Health Sciences Association. Bill 28 is the 1997 legislation that restored the rights of unions to follow members transferred between bargaining units in health care. "There's broad support among health care unions for HEU's position," says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt, noting that "CUPE BC and BCGEU supported HEU's July 12 LRB application. Health care bosses and the Health Sciences Association have weighed in against HEU's application and are supporting the February 17 decision which introduces uncertainty into the arena of union representation." HSA was present at the July 12 hearing to oppose HEU's application despite a Canadian Labour Congress charge of raiding which resulted in their withdrawal from the original LRB application. "HEU is committed to working with the BC Federation of Labour and the HSA to deal with the implications of the LRB's actions," says Allnutt. "And we will pursue every avenue of appeal necessary to win a reversal of the LRB's February17 decision." "But the provincial government has a responsibility to amend the Health Authorities Act so that the legislative intention of Bill 28 cannot be misinterpreted by the LRB," adds Allnutt."Our NDP government must provide the necessary leadership to maintain stability in health sector labour relations." "Neither the government nor health care unions can afford to be distracted from the critical work of defending our medicare system from those who would pull it apart one piece at a time." The results of HEU's application for reconsideration won't be known for at least a couple of months.