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HSA members look ahead to bargaining in 2022

Delegates to the HSA Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association (HSPBA) Bargaining Proposal Conference this week have developed a set of bargaining objectives to take forward into negotiations in 2022.
 
For the past three months, HSA chapters around the province held meetings to canvass members and vote on bargaining proposals to forward to the conference. More than 1000 proposals were submitted, and delegates to this week’s meeting reviewed them to set direction for the bargaining committee.
 
HSA President Kane Tse opened the conference thanking delegates for their work, and underlining the responsibility of delegates, and the bargaining committee, to reflect the challenges facing members.
 
“After nearly two years on the front lines of a global health crisis, our health care system has never faced a greater challenge. The people working in it are barely holding it together. Every day I hear from members who tell me that their workloads have never been so hard to manage. That breaks are out of the question, never mind vacation time.
 
“They tell me about the staff shortages, which seem to grow worse each week, vacancies going unfilled for months and months, and everyone working harder to make up for it. And still the waitlists grow, and COVID patients fill up the hospital. They tell me how they work through their exhaustion, terrified they are going to make a mistake.
 
“They tell me how much it hurts when they are unable to give that little extra care and attention that is needed when someone is terrified and suffering. And they tell me they don’t know how much longer they can carry on like this,” he said.
 
Members have been working in very difficult circumstances for almost two years in a pandemic that has put pressure on specialized health care professionals who were already struggling to keep up with demand before the onset of COVID-19. And their proposals for improvement to their collective agreement were reflected in common themes:
 
• Recruitment: without enough people on the multidisciplinary health care team, the crushing workload just is not sustainable.
• Retention: without the right conditions, we can’t hang onto the people we need to deliver consistently excellent service.
• Respect: as specialized health care professionals, the contributions HSA members make must be understood and recognized.
• Responsibility: there is no health care without specialized health care professionals. HSA members do not carry that burden of responsibility lightly, and must be recognized for the role they play on the health care team.
• Resilience: HSA members need support for their physical and mental well-being to be able to go back shift after shift to do what they are trained to do – and passionate about doing.
 
Eight members were elected by the conference delegates to represent HSA members at the bargaining table when negotiations get underway in 2022. They join two board members elected by the union’s board of directors to serve as co-chairs of the bargaining committee:
 
•  Janice Morrison, HSA vice-president and physiotherapist at Kootenay Lake Hospital.
•  Jing-Yi Ng, member of the HSA board of directors and pharmacist at Burnaby General Hospital.
•  Sapan Behar, registered respiratory therapist, Royal Columbian Hospital
•  Samantha Carroll, physiotherapist, Royal Jubilee Hospital
•  Cheryl Greenhalgh, radiological technologist, Royal Columbian Hospital
•  Jennifer Hiscock, registered respiratory therapist, University Hospital of Northern BC
•  Candis Johnson, supported child development consultant, Child Development Centre of Prince George
•  Kathleen Lee, dietitian, St. Paul’s Hospital
•  Allen Peters, radiological technologist, Nicola Valley Hospital
•  Kieran Shoker, clinical pharmacist, BC Cancer Agency – Prince George
 
Tse thanked the members of the newly elected bargaining committee.
 
“The members have given you the responsibility to go to the bargaining table, tell their stories, and find ways to negotiate collective agreement language that will make a difference for the specialized health care professionals who are critical members of the health care team.
 
“I have confidence that the team of members going to the bargaining table have a very good understanding of what our members need in their collective agreement to ensure British Columbians get the specialized health care they need,” he said
 
“This team represents a breadth of professions, understands the different challenges members face in delivering services in large urban centres versus small rural settings, and has heard what must be the priorities in the coming round of negotiations.
 
“Coupled with an experienced and knowledgeable group of professional negotiators and labour relations specialists, HSA members can be assured that a strong team will be at the bargaining table in 2022 to achieve the improvements they need to help them continue to work in a system that is so critical to the health of British Columbians,” Tse said.
 
Earlier in the fall, bargaining proposals conferences were held to set priorities for HSA members working under the Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA) Community Health Bargaining Association (CBA) and Nurses’ Bargaining Association (NBA) collective agreements.
 
HSA will be represented at those bargaining tables by the following members.
 
CSSBA:

  • Dawn Marie Goodmurphy, mental health counsellor and youth outreach worker, John Howard Society
  • Lauraine Dugal, adult youth/child worker, South Okanagan Women in Need Society

CBA:

  • Ann Hahr, administrative assistant, Open Door Group

NBA:

  • Nicole McIntosh, registered psychiatric nurse, St. Paul’s Hospital

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