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Lower Mainland Biomedical Engineering Technology Services Consolidation: talks end without agreement

Despite the unions efforts to negotiate a labour adjustment agreement stemming from the employers plan to consolidate biomedical engineering services in the Lower Mainland, talks have broken off, due to the employers inappropriate actions and activities during the Section 54 process. The employer then transferred BMETs to Providence Health Care on February 3.

Senior labour relations officer Dani Demetlika has been working with a committee of Lower Mainland BMETs to minimize impact on employees and services. -BMETs are frustrated by the employers provocations throughout this process," Demetlika said. -The employer provided terms that are unacceptable in a section 54 process. We will not agree to unreasonable proposals that change aspects of our hard-won collective agreement and classifications system for BMETs."

The union met with concerned BMETs January 24 and 25 to discuss and outline the employers proposal. HSA also participated as an observer on a BMETs teleconference called by the employer on February 3.

-The employer has admitted that they will not gain any cost savings through this consolidation process," Demetlika said. -This consolidation is only serving to introduce uncertainty and potential failure into a system that was working perfectly well for patients and services."

Demetlika said the union is particularly concerned about the 15 technologists identified by the employer for significant impact and potential displacement. -Providence has told BMETs that they will be posting 17 vacancies on February 14, but these are not true vacancies ... these positions are the result of the employer displacing BMETs by downgrading their jobs," she said.

Biomedical engineering technologists operate and maintain complex, life-saving medical equipment. They are highly trained, and their expertise is crucial to quality patient care.  Approximately 160 BMETs are affected by the employers consolidation initiative.

Next steps

HSAs response will be strategic and focused. The union will be meeting with the affected BMETs next week to discuss concerns.

-If your employer tries to impose a change to your classification or to your employment conditions, please talk to your steward," Demetlika said. -HSA is the bargaining agent for our members according to the Labour Code of BC, and we do not condone the employer negotiating directly with BMETs."

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