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When youre the second biggest health care local in CUPE, you have to be well organized when it comes to getting your shop stewards working together.

Communication is the link to everything, said Wim Borst of CUPE 4000s Health Care Workers of Ottawa-Carleton.

Borst is a full-time officer for Local 4000, elected executive chief shop steward in October 98.

For a local that now handles about 300 grievances a year, Borst said Local 4000 has come a long way. Each of the chief shop stewards who take care of the unions 13 bargaining units carry pagers, Borst included. That way the group stays in constant communication. The stewards also meet every last Monday of the month.

Borst said theyve developed a process where each chief steward gets five grievance numbers and faxes the executive chief steward whenever a grievance is filed.

This way we get some control, otherwise grievances get filed and you dont know whats happening, he said.

CUPE rep Jean-Marc Bezaire said he too has a pager, so he and Borst are always in touch.

One thought that really comes to mind, is the need to be coordinated, he said. Thats what Wim and I do coordination and consistency in the collective agreement and how it is applied. So you dont have a steward over there arguing a certain way and another over here saying different things.