RICHMOND—Members of local 15, 1978, 3495 and 4816 came together October 14 to discuss current issues in the healthcare field and identify CUPE's bargaining priorities for the upcoming round of negotiations.
The morning started with a welcome from CUPE BC secretary-treasurer Mark Hancock. Guest speaker Mike Farnworth, MLA for Port Coquitlam and the Opposition Health Critic, followed by speaking about healthcare in B.C. and the direction it is going. Farnworth noted that it is “time for change in B.C.” and “that healthcare will play a pivotal part in the 2013 British Columbia General Election”.
Stephen Elliot-Buckley, CUPE National researcher, gave a presentation about the Canada Health Accord and Justin Schmid, CUPE National representative and Health Coordinator, gave a report regarding the current bargaining environment. Schmid also reviewed results from bargaining surveys and led members in a discussion about bargaining proposals.
All members expressed a strong desire for wage increases as well as frustration with government mandates that do not reflect the rising cost of living in B.C. Survey results reflected increased workload and the increasing elimination of positions, contributing to the sense that members are being asked to do more for less.
The CUPE Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association members decided on the following as priorities for bargaining demands; fair wage increases, protecting and expanding compressed work weeks, improving benefits and reversing the negative outcomes of the last round of bargaining(including restoring the lost vacation day and removing red-circling from Grade 2 positions working without general supervision). They elected Michael McKinley (CUPE 1978) and Chris Losito (CUPE 15) as CUPE’s bargaining committee representatives and Ross Adamson (CUPE 15) as the alternate.
The CUPE Community Sub-sector Bargaining Association members decided on these priorities for their bargaining demands; improvements to pharmaceuticals covered by the extended benefits plan, improvements to the special leave provisions and improved job security, as well as other demands such as fair wage increases. They elected Jill Stromnes (CUPE 4816) and Pat Taylor (CUPE 15) as their bargaining committee representatives and Terry Howard (CUPE 3495) as the alternate.
Bargaining will begin in early 2012.