Union welcomes more than 250 new members

Four new certifications are the fruit of HEU organizers' labour The Hospital Employees' Union boosted its numbers recently by more than 250 members, with HEU organizers' hard work resulting in four new certifications. The North Shore Association for the Mentally Handicapped is the largest HEU certification since the early 1990s. More than 200 new members work at 13 residential homes and in a wide variety of vocational programs that support persons in the development of life skills through employment training, support, placement, recreation and other therapeutic opportunities. They will be covered by the new Community Social Services Sector Agreement. However, all this is conditional on the failure of a complaint filed by the employer with the Labour Relations Board in July against the provincial government and the union. They are charging unfair labour practices, claiming that the government is favouring unions with the provision that any new community social services certification will automatically be covered by this contract. The case has not been heard yet, but the board has said that if the ruling is in the union's favour, the certification will be back-dated to Sept. 30, making them eligible for the Oct. 1 wage increase. However, if the employer succeeds in its complaint, the certification would be cancelled. HEU's secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt is confident that the complaint will be denied. ìUnionized workers in the community social services sector put themselves on the line for this new contract. They went on strike for three months to back up their demands for a fair settlement," he says. "The provincial government did not hand us this contract on a silver platter." But in the interim, the union and the employer were able to sit down and hammer out an agreement for the recognition of the union and set the parameters for some of the special issues at this site. There are three other new certifications: South Granville Park Lodge is a long-term care facility in Vancouver and was certified with HEU on Oct. 26. An independent facility, the 55 HEU members are negotiating their first contract. Also now in the midst of negotiating their first contract after their Oct. 22 certification are 12 workers from the Fian Group Home for at risk young adults in Duncan. One new paramedical worker at the Craigend Rest Home in Burnaby will come under the Paramedical Agreement. If you know of any other unorganized health care workers, please contact HEU's organizing department by calling (604) 714-1591 or through our website.