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Thinking ahead: your priorities for the next round of bargaining

The Report: February / March 2000 vol.21 num.1

by RICK LAMPSHIRE

The expiry of the Health Master Agreements does not occur until March 31, 2001.The Paramedical Professionals, the Nurses and the Community Health Support Agreements areopen as of that date. We then have an opportunity to address the money we make and workissues of concern to us. Its important that we start thinking about our bargainingagenda today. Negotiations are our one opportunity every three years to sit down with ouremployers to resolve our past grievances and establish our future needs.

March 31, 2001 is closer than you think. In the near future we will becalling for bargaining proposals for the affected members.

For the Nurses Agreement, our proposals need to be ready eightmonths before the expiry of the agreement ... August 31, 2000.

For the Paramedical Professional and the Community Health Support, ourproposals have to be ready four months before the expiry of the agreements ... November30, 2000. These are timelines established by the Articles of Associations for the threebargaining units.

What are HSAs priorities? Members have to start seriousdiscussions at the work place as to what is needed in this next contract and what we areprepared to do to achieve our priorities. You start to establish these priorities bydetermining the five or six issues of most concern in your chapter and submitting themwhen there is a call for proposals. When all these work place issues come together,HSAs provincial priorities become evident and determine the mandate for thenegotiating team.

Once we are ready we will meet with other unions in the bargainingassociations to blend the proposals. When all the unions are comfortable that their issuesare properly identified at the bargaining tables, we will be ready to meet with theemployer representatives.

Membership input is the most valuable part of the negotiation process.It is as important at the beginning as it is at the end. We negotiate to satisfy thememberships priorities and it is your support and participation that get us there.

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