Never a dull moment in Region 3

The Report: March / April 1998 vol.18 num.7


Greetings from Region 3. We are HSA members working in almost 40different facilities located on the North Shore and in the cities from Burnaby to MapleRidge. As in other regions, the past year has not been a boring one.

Congratulations must go out to our members at SHARE Family andCommunity Services who have just recently ratified their first collective agreement aftera long negotiation. Also, we want to welcome those members who have just joined HSAthrough our newest certification at the Victoria Rest Home in New Westminster.

The boundaries of Region 3 conform to those of the two Regional HealthBoards of the North Shore and Burnaby-Simon Fraser. Most of our members fall under one ofthese two employers, with notable exceptions including members who are under the Ministryof Children and Families.

Regionalization of our health system brought many challenges to HSA.Where once there was one Board of Directors in the province to monitor, there are now 45Boards and Community Health Councils to get involved with. Each Board or CHC has oneunion-nominated member (shared between HSA, HEU and BCNU). HSA was able to nominateseveral of our members to Boards and CHCs across the province and for those Boards whichthe other unions nominated their members to sit on, HSA elected District Representativesto act as liaison and information gatherers. All of this has been a very new kind of workfor our members.

In Region 3, the union nominee to the Burnaby-Simon Fraser Health Boardis a BCNU activist from Ridge Meadows Hospital. This Board has been very active now forover a year and is well into the process of an Acute Care Review. There appears to be aneffort to do some things on a regional basis that were once done at local facilities. Inthe Fall, the region approached union stewards at the acute care hospitals with the ideaof doing the new employee orientations at one site only. This suggestion was met with someresistance as stewards wished to meet personally with their new members.

Recently, the administration decided to go ahead with the idea on alimited basis for three of the facilities. They made arrangements that a steward from eachsite would be given work time to travel to the central site to meet with their new membersand conduct the orientation. To date this has happened once and the new HSA members wereable to meet with a steward from their site. This takes a fair bit more time and diligencefrom the stewards, but hopefully any bugs in the system can be worked out if it is to be acontinuing trend.

On the other side of Region 3 is the North Shore Health Board. Theunion nominee to this Board was a long time HSA activist. Last Fall the HSA member feltcompelled to resign from the Board over the process by which the Board dealt with therenewal of the contract for the CEO (a significant wage increase in a time of wage freezeson salaries over $100,000). A physician member also resigned from the Board. Tensions havebeen high between the Board and the hospital staff as a result of this contract. Aconsultants report stated that the Board must be held accountable for the currentsituation and has outlined a number of positive steps needed to restore confidence in thedelivery of health services. The Minister of Health appointed a public administrator tooversee the process. HSA supports this move and is hopeful that HSA members will be ableto re-commit themselves to working in a cooperative atmosphere to serve the interests ofthe North Shore.

Cheryl Greenhalgh represents Region 3 on HSAs Executive Council.