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Regional Meetings build strength

The Report: November / December 2000 vol.21 num.6

by CINDY STEWART

Meeting rooms in nine communities around the province: $5,000.
Members wage replacement: over $50,000.
Hearing first hand from activists about the issues they care about: priceless.

I cant think of a better way to describe how I feel about the importance of the HSA Regional Meetings that are held every fall.

They initially began as a half-day meeting in 1990, and have evolved into a full day with an agenda packed with reports and updates from the Board, staff and members.

While the agenda reflects current issues important to HSA and our members, it is also flexible enough to accommodate regional and local topics. Over 350 members from around the province attended meetings held in Prince George, Cranbrook, Kelowna, Nanaimo, Victoria, Surrey and Vancouver held between September 15 and October 12.

At this years meetings members heard from their Regional Director about the activities they are involved in. We also heard from members who profiled the work they do ... including Speech and Language Pathologists, Dietitians, Respiratory Therapists, Lab Technologists, Community Case Managers, Physiotherapists, Recreation Therapists and Family Counsellors.

Activists were brought up to speed on bargaining, the upcoming campaign on paramedical professional shortages, pension plan changes, the chapter review committee, OH&S issues and upcoming membership surveys.

Members also heard reports from Labour Relations Officers and union nominees on Regional Health Boards and Community Health Councils, as well as our District Representatives.

While all topics generated a lot of interest and discussion, the universally ‘hot topics included the recent flu vaccine initiative, upcoming negotiations and changes to the public pension plans. If you want to know more about the issues discussed at this years Regional Meetings, I encourage you to contact your Chief Steward.

As noted, one of the invaluable elements of the Regional Meetings is having the opportunity to hear from the activists in the regions ... to share experiences, engage in brainstorming and creative problem solving. Stewards attending the meetings have taken the occasion to build the links and supports with other stewards in their region. I have watched this development over the years and know how well it has served the interest of the members as a whole. HSA has very committed and extremely hard-working stewards who are instrumental in making the union work.

As I reflect back on this years Regional Meetings I continue to appreciate how valuable these meetings are, and I am looking forward to next years already!

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