HSA gears up for bargaining

The Report: August 2003 vol.24 num.4


n the months leading up to the expiry of several collective agreements in the public sector, its time to begin to turn our attention to HSAs approach to bargaining.

We are already heading into uncharted territory as the preliminary work gets underway in the community social services sector. In May, the provincial government passed legislation that sets the structure for bargaining in this sector. The several unions involved in this sector are spending the summer negotiating articles of association and other ground rules for bargaining. In August, HSAs representatives ... who were elected earlier this year ... will be meeting to consider our unions priorities at this multi-union table.

HSAs representatives to the Nurses Bargaining Association table were also elected earlier this year at the annual convention. A bargaining conference is scheduled for early 2004. In addition, the Community Health sectors contract also expires, and we expect to hear from the bargaining association in the near future about its plans for 2004.

For HSA, as the lead union in the Paramedical Professional Bargaining Association, an important focus for the union in the coming year will be collective bargaining for that contract.

The process gets underway this fall, at HSAs regional meetings.

In a change from previous practice, elections for representatives to the bargaining proposal conference will be conducted at the regional meetings, and not the annual convention. With so much and such rapid change in health care, the bargaining proposal conference will be held as close to the expiry of the collective agreement as feasible. This change in timing will give delegates to the conference an ability to make decisions about bargaining proposals with as much information as possible about the context in which bargaining will occur.

Delegates to the Fall Regional Meetings will elect representatives to a bargaining proposal conference to be held in early 2004.

When is my regional meeting?
Region 1: Courtenay, October 3
Region 2: Victoria, October 20
Region 3: New Westminster, October 17
Region 4: Vancouver, September 30
Region 5: Burnaby, October 27
Region 6: Vancouver, October 15
Region 7: Surrey, October 9
Region 8: Vernon, October 23
Region 9: Ainsworth Hotsprings, October 6
Region 10: Prince George, September 26

If you are unsure which region you are in, ask an HSA steward, or check the worksite list on this web site.

Who is eligible to run as a bargaining proposal conference delegate?
If you are covered by the PPBA contract, you may run for a delegate position. You do not have to be a delegate to the regional meeting to put your name forward as a representative to the bargaining proposal conference. While only regional meeting delegates who are members covered by the PPBA agreement, or stewards who represent members covered by the PPBA agreement are eligible to vote for bargaining proposal conference delegates, any member can put her name forward.

How many delegates does each region elect to the bargaining proposal conference?
Every region is entitled to two delegates. Regions are entitled to an additional delegate for every 500 members, or greater portion thereof, over 500. The exact delegate entitlement per region will be announced in advance of regional meetings.

How do bargaining proposals get forwarded to the bargaining proposal conference?
Chapter meetings will be held in advance of the bargaining proposal conference. Bargaining proposals may be submitted by any chapter that has members covered by the Paramedical Professional Bargaining Association agreement, or by the Board of Directors. Proposals must be voted on and approved by the sponsoring chapter.

Ron Ohmart is HSAs Executive Director of Labour Relations.