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LPNs in five regional health authorities and in Providence Health Care have voted to join the BC Nurses’ Union.

The results of a June union representation vote among LPNs were released by the Labour Relations Board today.

The vote was ordered by the LRB as a result of BCNU’s most recent attempt to raid LPNs from HEU and other unions. An earlier attempt by BCNU in 2009 ended in failure.

HEU secretary-business manager Bonnie Pearson says that while the vote results are disappointing, the union is very proud of its campaign against BCNU’s divisive raid.

We’re also very proud of our solid record of advocacy for LPNs. Today, LPNs are using their skills and training in a wider range of care settings, and their numbers have doubled over the past decade,” says Pearson.

LPNs who change unions will now have to work hard to protect these gains, given BCNU’s long history of opposition to the expanded utilization of LPNs.”

One very sad outcome of the vote is the loss to HEU of many dedicated leaders and activists who have represented their fellow HEU members in the best traditions of the trade union movement.

These activists have our deepest thanks for their contributions, and we wish all LPNs affected by this transfer continued success in their profession as valued members of the health care team.”

Pearson says it’s regrettable that BCNU chose to spend millions raiding the members of other unions rather than focus, as HEU and many other unions have, on organizing those that do not have a union.

It is equally regrettable that BCNU sought to sow disunity among health workers through their persistent message that LPNs have no place in a union that also represents non-nurses,” says Pearson.

Our union is very proud to represent a diverse team of health care workers that spans every part of the health care team,” says Pearson.

And HEU will continue to forcefully and effectively advocate for this entire team at the bargaining table, in the workplace and in our communities.

That includes the vast majority of LPNs who work in long-term care and whom BCNU excluded from their raid applications last fall.”

Next steps

It is expected that the LRB will issue a certification to the BCNU to represent LPNs in Providence Health Care as well as Vancouver Coastal Health, Vancouver Island Health, Fraser Health, Interior Health and Northern Health authorities in the next few business days.

In the meantime, the union will be preparing to transfer all grievance files and other documents related to the representation of LPNs to the BCNU.

HEU locals should consult with their servicing representative on the transfer process in order to ensure that the union’s obligations in this area are properly discharged. More details will be available to locals in the coming days.