Thirty delegates from four unions met in Calgary on May 13 and 14th to plan strategies to deal with their employer, Canadian Blood Services (CBS).
Workers at CBS sites across Canada are represented by CUPE, NUPGE, SEIU and an independent union (NSUPE). The idea for a CBS Joint Union Forum was initiated by CUPE 1846 after they were forced to strike in 2003. During the strike, they enjoyed great support from the other unions and a network was born.
At their May 2005 forum, the locals shared information about employer tactics in their respective provinces and were not surprised to learn that the employer coordinates and applies similar tactics across the country.
The delegates adopted a list of strategies designed to strengthen their bargaining power and to increase communication amongst their locals. For example, they have a plan to implement support immediately if any one of them is faced with a strike or lockout. As many of the CBS union locals
are in tough bargaining, the action plan will be tested soon.
All of the CBS workplaces were represented at this forum, and there are plans to meet again.