Proud to represent members around the province

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

HSA is a member-run union governed by a Board of Directors. The Board is composed of one member elected from each of ten regions around the province, and a President elected by delegates at Annual Convention.

When you elect your Regional Director, you are casting a vote for your representative who is responsible for the affairs of HSA between conventions. The Board of Directors meets approximately every six weeks to deal with all aspects of union governance and policy, from monitoring the unions financial health to addressing membership issues where they arise. 

Regional Directors are active in representing the interests of their constituent members. They work closely with activists in their regions and with the Labour Relations Officers to keep abreast of issues affecting members.

Board members take a lead role in chairing the unions policy committees, including Finance, Education, Occupational Health and Safety, Equality and Social Action, and Pensions.

The Regional Directors represent HSA in a variety of forums, including BC Federation of Labour events and committees, presentations to government and health authorities, and various conferences and conventions.

Each member of the Board is elected from the membership in their region, and serves a two-year term. HSA holds elections for half of the Board positions each year, with even-numbered regions holding elections in even-numbered years, and odd-numbered regions holding elections in alternate years.

Following convention each year, the Board of Directors elect a Vice-President and Secretary-Treasurer.

As President, Cindy Stewart is a senior elected officer of the union, as well as Chief Executive Officer. Ultimately responsible for all functions of the union, the Presidents role is significantly political. She is the spokesperson on behalf of HSA members to the outside world including the public, government, and other organizations. As President of the third largest health care union in BC, Stewart is often called upon to speak on health care issues, policy, and other relevant matters. The President delegates HSAs operations to senior staff.

HSAs President has an array of other roles, including Vice-President of the BC Federation of Labour and executive board member of the National Union of Public and General Employees. The President may be called upon to fulfil additional roles as HSAs representative; for example, current appointments include Stewarts role as one of two labour appointees to the Joint Advisory Committee to the Arbitration Bureau, and past functions include an appointment to the Science Council of BC.

Stewart is one of fourteen officers of the BCFL and is proud to add HSAs voice to that of the broader labour community. Stewart currently chairs the Legislative and Research Committee of BCFL.

In addition, the HSA President plays a key role in the National Union where issues important to HSA members are raised at the national and even international level. 

Stewart has represented HSA and NUPGE at the Convention of the Inter-Americas in Argentina, as well as at the World Congress of Public Sector International in Japan. 

As Vice-President of HSA, Region 1 Director Kelly Finlayson assumes the duties of the President at the Presidents request, or in the Presidents absence. She also chairs the Resolutions Committee, and is a member of HSAs Executive Committee. HSAs Vice-President also sits on the BC Federation of Labours Resolutions Committee.

Finlayson is proud to represent HSA in various ways, including attending functions and participating in government lobbying efforts. She feels that it is vital that the Vice-President have a comfortable and open working relationship with the President, and also bring to the role a skill-set that complements that of the President. 

As Secretary-Treasurer, Region 5 Director Reid Johnson Chairs the Finance Committee, which is responsible for overseeing the financial resources of the union. This involves both internal and external responsibilities. 

Working with the Finance Committee and the Executive Director of Operations, the Secretary-Treasurer monitors the unions expenditures, with a view towards maximizing member services with the financial resources provided by the membership dues. 

As with the Vice-President, the Secretary-Treasurer is called upon to represent HSA at a range of venues. 

Johnson feels strongly that as HSA grows as an organization, the union must make moves to track expenditures more thoroughly and comprehensively within various departments. He notes that providing as much member service as possible with limited revenue takes consultation, prioritizing, and creativity in distributing resources. He is proud that HSA is able to maintain a level of excellence while still maintaining one of the lowest dues in the health care sector.