What's up and what's not with union actions and grievances

The Report: November / December 1998 vol.19 num.4

Welcome to new members at Future Focus 

HSA welcomes 26 new employees at Future Focus in Campbell River. FutureFocus is a private facility that delivers services at a group home and two day programsfor adults with mental disabilities. Most of our new members are community / residentialsupport workers. Bargaining will begin soon for a first collective agreement with CSSEA.

Welcome to new members atBlue Spruce Cottage

HSA welcomes three new members at Blue Spruce Cottage in NewWestminster. This is a private long-term care psychiatric care home with 20 beds. Themembers are registered psychiatric nurses, and will be varied into the NursesBargaining Association collective agreement currently under province-wide negotiations.

Welcome to new members atAIDS Resource Centre

A warm welcome to four new members at the AIDS Resource Centre inKelowna! Three of our new members in the paramedical professional certification at thisfacility offer client support and educational services to the Okanagan region. HSA alsogained a community health services and support certification for one executive assistant.These new members will be varied into existing HEABC contracts.

Ron van der Meer is the new steward. -For us, joining HSA wasabout job security," he said. -I think its vital that morale in the officedoesnt fluctuate with every decision of the [governing] board. I used to be on theboard, and I know that there can be changes in board dynamics. Wed like to have someinput into those decisions that affect us as front-line workers.

-Morale in the office affects the people we serve, the communityat large ... HIV-positive individuals. And we have to be able to offer the bestpossible support at all times."

Van der Meer said the multiple stresses of working to improve the livesof HIV-positive people and living with HIV are extraordinary, leaving very little room foradded worry about job security and other workplace issues. -Theres so muchuncertainty for people living with HIV. With the kind of work we do, we have to work hardto maintain our sanity. Unnecessary workplace stress is unacceptable."

He added that he is eager to start working with HSA as part of aprogressive union. -Im personally looking forward to learning more aboutworking with the trade union movement, and appropriate ways of negotiating andlobbying," he said.

Vancouver General Hospitallab reorg issues settled

Supervisory members at Vancouver General Hospitals laboratoryhave had a difficult time since the hospitals reorganization in the spring of97, but they finally got some good news on November 5. After an extensive processand further negotiations, a settlement was reached with regard to numerous outstandingclassification disputes, which resulted in a number of members securing a fairlysubstantial upgrading with retroactivity.

Ron Ohmart, who is responsible for lab issues at HSA, said members arerelieved that this settlement was reached. -This agreement brings VGH in line withother employers who have restructured their laboratories over the past few years," hesaid. -We had significant differences with VGH, and its important that thesehave finally been resolved."

Ohmart added that he would like to thank the members at VGH for theirpatience throughout this period. -Any reorg is extremely stressful," he said,-but this one was particularly so with the number of wage disputes and threatenedlayoffs. Were glad to have been able to secure some improvements for our members inthe end."

Ohmart said he would also like to thank chief steward Walter Adamus,the HSA classifications department ... Kathy McLennan, Sue Carr, and Carol Rivière... as well as HSA advocate Jeanne Meyers for their part in securing this agreement.