2022 look-ahead: Bargaining, convention, and opportunities to participate in research surveys to support and protect health care workers

2022 is off to a busy start for HSA with preparations underway for contract negotiations for members working in health care and community social services. Contracts covering more than 20,000 members are set to expire March 31, 2022.
Also coming up in 2022 is the union’s annual convention April 28-30, planned to be held in person in Vancouver. In the lead-up to the convention, Board of Directors elections are also scheduled, with nominations closing on February 10.
The experiences of health care, community social services and other frontline workers throughout the pandemic are being studied around the world, with British Columbia being no exception. In this update to members, we provide links to an important HSA survey on members’ access to personal protective equipment, as well as information about surveys being conducted by the Canadian Mental Health Commission (closing January 31) and the University of Victoria Faculty of Law. Information about how to participate in this research is included in this update.

2022 Bargaining

HSA held Bargaining Proposal Conferences in the fall of 2021 where members set their bargaining priorities for each of the collective agreements and elected members to represent them at the bargaining tables once negotiations get underway. See the November 25, 2021 bulletin.

Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association (HSPBA)  

  • Covering the majority of HSA members, the HSPBA negotiating team is led by HSA Lead Negotiator Jeanne Meyers. The bargaining team includes HSA members from each of the province’s health authorities and one representative representing members who work for affiliate employers, as well as representatives from other unions with members covered by the same collective agreement. Those unions include BC General Employees Union (BCGEU), Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Hospital Employees’ Union (HEU), and Professional Employees Association (PEA).
  • The bargaining team has begun meeting in preparation for formal contract negotiations set to get underway in late February.
  • Negotiations with employers are in full swing for setting essential services levels across health care, as required by law. This work is being done by HSA’s labour relations officers and your local stewards.
  • British Columbia’s essential services legislation creates a balance between workers’ rights to strike, and the need to protect the public from “immediate and serious danger."  While bargaining can proceed, essential service levels must be established before any form of job action can be undertaken.
  • When essential service levels are in place, the employers’ human resources are reduced, placing pressure on the employer to get back to the bargaining table. A balance is thereby struck, which prevents the chaos of a total withdrawal of service in the health care system, but allows meaningful collective bargaining to take place.

 Nurses Bargaining Association (NBA) 

  • Bargaining for the NBA is led by the BC Nurses’ Union (BCNU).  HSA is represented at the bargaining table by a staff negotiator and member representative.
  • BCNU announced this week they have delayed their provincial bargaining conference, which had originally been scheduled for the beginning of March. We understand BCNU will now be holding their Bargaining Proposal Conference in the fall.  It is at that conference that they will elect their members to the bargaining committee.
  • Bargaining has not been scheduled to begin; no bargaining dates for the NBA have yet been set.
  • HSA’s registered psychiatric nurses (RPNs) covered by the NBA collective agreement set their priorities for bargaining in fall 2021 and elected Nicole McIntosh, an RPN at St Paul’s Hospital, as their member representative at contract negotiations. Alyson Warner is HSA staff negotiator for this table.

 Community Bargaining Association (CBA) 

  • Bargaining for this collective agreement is led by the BCGEU. HSA members are represented by staff negotiator Katie Sharp and member Ann Hahr from Open Door Group. Other unions with members covered by this agreement are UFCW, HEU, CUPE, USW, BCNU, and CLAC.
  • The bargaining association has met and is preparing to begin negotiations with the employer on February 3.

 Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA)

  • Bargaining for this collective agreement is led by BCGEU. HSA members are represented by staff negotiator Colin Brehaut and member Dawn Marie Goodmurphy from John Howard Society. Other unions with members covered by this agreement are: CUPE, HEU, CSWU, UFCW, USW. SEIU, CLAC, BCNU.
  • The bargaining association has met and is preparing to begin negotiations with the employer on February 2.

2022 Annual Convention

The union’s annual convention is set for April 28-30 in-person in Vancouver. The deadline for submission of resolutions voted on at local union meetings is February 18. Watch your email for details about your local meetings to discuss resolutions and elect delegates to convention. See the January 14 bulletin here for details.

Reminder: Important HSA survey on N95 use and staffing levels

Members working in a front line capacity are urged to complete the survey below to report issues around access to N95 masks and staffing levels as impacted by the current pandemic wave.

The survey takes less than 5 minutes, and all information will be kept confidential to protect participants. While there is currently no set closing date for the survey, member feedback is needed urgently and you are encouraged to take the survey as soon as possible to support HSA’s immediate efforts to improve protection for our members.

External survey research on workers' pandemic experience

In addition to HSA’s survey on PPE and staffing levels, health care workers have been invited to participate in the following external surveys by researchers looking to track the impact of the pandemic.
Canadian Mental Health Commission study on impacts for front line health care workers
The purpose of this study is to examine the experiences and perceptions of health care workers, administrators, and leaders by conducting interviews and collecting survey data with these interested parties. The subsequent data analysis will identify key facilitators and barriers for health care workers, teams, and organizations to support psychological self-care and protection from moral distress.

Canadian Mental Health Commission Survey Link - Note that survey closes soon! January 31, 2022

University of Victoria study on pandemic law for front line health care workers
HSA members are invited to participate in a study entitled ‘Inequality, Health Determinants, and the Limits of Pandemic Law and Policy: Re-Imagining the Future of British Columbia’s Pandemic Law After COVID-19’ that is being conducted by Dr. Irehobhude O. Iyioha. Dr. Iyioha is a faculty member in the Faculty of Law at the University of Victoria and you may contact her if you have further questions by telephone (780-716-3707) or email (@email). The purpose of this research project is to examine what we need to do differently to reduce the negative impact of BC’s pandemic laws on essential workers and frontline staff who have continued to work throughout the pandemic in different service industries.

University of Victoria Survey Link

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