16 Mar ’12 http://www.bcgeu.bc.ca
Health unions continue to be frustrated with B.C.’s health employers who are unable to engage in concrete negotiations for a new collective agreement for 43,000 health care workers.
Talks between the multi-union Facilities Bargaining Association (FBA) and the Health Employers Association of BC (HEABC) will resume March 28.
BCGEU president Darryl Walker says that the FBA is disappointed that the health employers have been unable to discuss substantial bargaining proposals.
“We were scheduled for a full week of talks, but we had to cut it short because HEABC is unable to make decisions without going back to an internal approval process that involves the government,” says Walker.
“In order for negotiations to progress, health employers need to be empowered to bargain – or the decision-makers need to be at the table.”
So far, health employers have focused their contract demands on administrative and housekeeping issues although some of the changes they are seeking would severely limit workers’ ability to access additional work or take on new roles. They are also looking to substantially change parts of the grievance procedure and negatively impact members’ ability to enforce the collective agreement in a meaningful and timely way.
In contrast, the FBA has tabled language in a number of key areas including health and safety, equity, flexible schedules, overtime allocation, and on improvements to casual call-in procedures.
The collective agreement covers a diverse health care team that includes workers in hospitals, nursing homes and diagnostic treatment centres as well as emergency health services and shared services such as logistics and supply operations.
There are a dozen unions in the FBA representing health care workers in hospitals, residential care facilities, emergency health services, shared services (like supply chain and logistics) and diagnostic and treatment centres. More than 270 job classifications are represented in the talks.
BCGEU represents over 2000 members covered by the facilities agreement.
The current Facilities collective agreement expires March 31.