Northern Health, HEU agree to explore in-house alternatives to contracting out

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The Northern Health Authority has come to an agreement with the Hospital Employees’ Union and other health unions that will involve front-line health care workers in finding more cost-effective ways to deliver health services in the North.

The letter of understanding recognizes that both health unions and the NHA have a strong desire to avoid the contracting out and privatization of services that are currently provided in-house. Both sides have agreed to meet to review cost-saving measures that can be found without altering the terms and conditions of the current collective agreement.

“Front-line health care workers have a lot of ideas about how to improve the delivery of health services in the North,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt.

“We’re very pleased with Northern Health’s commitment to work cooperatively with our members to find ways to strengthen health care and protect good jobs in the North. It’s a model that other health authorities should consider.” In a press release, NHA CEO Malcolm Maxwell said, “As we’ve worked to reduce our costs, contracting out has been an important option ? but not our first choice. We believe this understanding will be a significant step in helping management and unions work together to meet both service needs and cost pressures. It also reflects Northern Health’s position that our employees must have an important voice in making change.”

As a result of the letter of understanding, local agreements modifying the terms of the province-wide collective agreement at four HEU and two BCGEU sites in the North have been cancelled.

Click here for a copy of the NHA press release.

Click here for a copy of the letter of understanding.