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BURNABY—In the next few weeks, community health workers and health science professionals represented by CUPE will vote on two of the four tentative agreements negotiated with the provincial government aimed at implementing the June 2007 Supreme Court of Canada ruling on Bill 29.

CUPE is recommending rejection of one of those agreements.

CUPE represents almost 1,000 health workers, including addiction counsellors, physiotherapists, speech language pathologists and clerical support workers, who will be affected by tentative agreements signed by the Community Bargaining Association (CBA) and the Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association (HSPBA).

“These agreements are a public record that there is a price to pay for violating workers’ basic rights,” says CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill. “Like all redress, it can never completely undo the wrong done, but progress has been made to restore some of those rights and compensate workers for the hardship the liberal government has caused them.”

As part of the deal, the provincial government will spend a total of $85 million on retraining, clinical upgrading and professional development for health care workers affected by Bill 29 – a law which cleared the way for an unparalleled contracting out of health services that led to the layoff of more than 9,000 health care workers.

CUPE is recommending acceptance of the agreement negotiated by the CBA because it includes a mechanism that ensures notice and consultation in every case of future contracting out as well as compensation and ability to bid on jobs throughout the six health authorities in the province. If ratified, this agreement will affect health care workers represented by CUPE 15, CUPE 3403, CUPE 3495
and CUPE 4816.

The tentative agreement negotiated by the HSPBA, however, relies solely on the current Labour Adjustment language included in Section 54 of the BC Labour Code, which does not guarantee such consultation or provide adequate protections for workers affected by contracting out. For this reason, CUPE is recommending rejection of the agreement. Affected locals include CUPE 15, CUPE 4816, and CUPE 1978.

Settlement Agreement - Community Bargaining Association
Settlement Agreement - Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association

Contact: Barry O’Neill, CUPE BC President, c: 604-340-6768
Heather Inglis, CUPE Coordinator/Health, c: 778-846-9323
Diane Kalen, CUPE Communications, c: 778-229-0258