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Membership's resolve will help achieve contract gains

The Report: January / February 2001 vol.22 num.1

by RICK LAMPSHIRE

The collective bargaining process for health science professionals has begun. HSAs bargaining proposal conference held November 15 through 17 was a huge success; participants worked hard, and were prepared to make difficult decisions to identify the priority issues of our membership.

We will present a tight, focused package to the employer, with an emphasis on wages, education, on-call, flexible hours, health and welfare, and mileage. 

On December 15, we went a long way to consolidate this focused package. In a meeting of the constituent unions of the Paramedical Professional Bargaining Association (HSA, BCGEU, CUPE and PEA), the essence of the package prepared through the HSA bargaining proposal conference was supported and endorsed by all members of the bargaining association. Unlike the last round of bargaining, all the unions in the bargaining association are speaking with a unified voice. This will only bring resolve and strength to our position at the bargaining table.

This solidarity within the paramedical bargaining association is the result of concentrated efforts by all the unions to continue to build positive relationships since the last round of bargaining. Through our interactions on various committees and meetings throughout the year, we have developed a trust and respect for each other. This relationship building is the foundation needed to ensure the paramedical professionals across BC receive the highest quality of representation during this round of negotiations Consistent with the priorities for negotiations set by HSA members, we will be adapting the Advanced Steward Workshops held prior to the Annual Convention. This year, we will provide workshops designed to strengthen the leadership skills within our membership, focussing on the areas of job action, media communication, and team building with the staff and political leadership. The workshops at the Annual Convention present an ideal opportunity to maximize our potential to reach our collective bargaining goals.

Internally, HSA is better prepared to handle the heavy workload of collective bargaining, while ensuring the continuing delivery of high-quality services to our membership. We have expanded the upper level of our leadership team, with specific areas of responsibility. Kathy McLennan is responsible for the co-ordination of areas involving HSAs classifications system; Julio Trujillo leads services for our Community Social Services and Community Health members; Ron Ohmart coordinates services for our Paramedical and Nursing members; and Jeanne Meyers leads legal services in addition to WCB and occupational health and safety. We are excited with these structural and personnel changes, and believe they will strengthen the quality of our service delivery through the upcoming round of negotiations and beyond.

We look forward to this round of negotiations and the upcoming year. We are comfortable that we have made important decisions and changes in areas internally, which will allow us to be more effective when confronted by external issues.

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