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Bargaining team needs your continued support

The Report: November / December 1998 vol.19 num.4

by RICK LAMPSHIRE

As the Paramedical Professional Bargaining Association heads intomediation, I want to take this opportunity to thank all HSA members for their strongsupport during these negotiations.

Many of our key issues are complicated and not easy to communicate in a30-second sound bite. Unlike other health tables, HSA does not have a single issue torally around. Rather, we are fighting to protect and enhance our existing collectiveagreement so that it reflects the ever-changing health care landscape and the needs ofhealth care professionals. Our classification system, hours of work, and seniorityprovisions are what make our collective agreement unique and relevant to members. We wantto maintain and improve these benefits, and will strongly oppose any attempt by theemployer to take them away.

The appointment of Mediator Brian Foley came as welcome news to thebargaining team. After nine months of negotiations, it became clear that HEABC is void ofany creative solutions for reaching a collective agreement. In fact, they seem hell-benton dismantling any progress we have made over the past 10 years. HEABCsintransigence at the nursing bargaining table put the health care system under a greatdeal of strain. Last week, it became obvious that employers were prepared to risk furtherdisruption rather than engage in meaningful negotiations.

Mr. Foleys involvement is a positive step. However, we still havea long way to go. If the mediation process is not successful we will have no other optionbut to initiate job action. To ensure we are well-prepared, I have asked stewards to keeptheir strike action committees up and running. Your bargaining team will take whateveraction is required to ensure paramedical professionals get a fair and reasonable contract,but we need your continued involvement and support.

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