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RPNs not affected by voting ordered by Labour Relations Board

RPN members have expressed concern that an upcoming round of votes ordered by the Labour Relations Board will result in HSA members becoming members of another union.

This is not the case.

The votes will not involve RPNs, and to date, the Labour Relations Board has not given any indication that its decision will have any bearing on HSA's right to continue to represent RPN members.

BACKGROUND

Until recently, licensed practical nurses (LPNs) were not considered "nurses" in the eyes of BC's health authorities. Only registered nurses (RNs) and registered psychiatric nurses (RPNs) were recognized a nurses. But that changed in March when the BC Legislature amended the Health Authorities act to add LPNs to the definition of "nurse".

At the time of the amendment, the BCNU was in the process of raiding LPNs working for some health sector employers. In August, the Labour Relations Board decided that the BCNU's raid applications would not be adjudicated. Instead, it adopted a different process for deciding which union would represent RNs and LPNs at any facilities where RNs and LPNs, or just LPNs, work.

The new process involves determining the wishes of the majority of RNs and LPNs on an employer-by-employer basis. In some cases, the Board will rely on a vote to determine the wishes of the majority. In other cases, where the number of LPNs working for an employer greatly outnumbers the number of RNs working for that employer (or vice versa), the union that already represents the larger number will get to represent both groups of nurses without a vote being held.

As a result of this decision, at some locations, LPNs formerly represented by the HEU, BCGEU, IUOE or other unions will now be represented by the BCNU. Equally, some RNs formerly represented by the BCNU will now be represented by the BCGEU, HEU or other unions. The terms of conditions of employment will be the same regardless of which union represents the RNs/LPNs.

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