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Canadian Blood Services executives warned union representatives from CUPE and the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) that there may be job losses ahead due to increased competition for provincial health care funding and “process improvement”.

The news from CBS was presented during the fourth biennial joint meeting, hosted by NUPGE and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) in Toronto this month was one of several issues discussed.

This year, representatives from each union shared information on anticipated job losses; plant and program closures; the composition of their membership; successes and challenges in bargaining; the challenges of automation and clinic standardization; as well as training opportunities for workers.

The biennial meetings are held to ensure that frontline workers have a voice in the decision-making process with CBS, to better understand the current bargaining climate, and to discuss best strategies for defending workers and the public blood services sector. There was a totoal of 28 participants and CUPE was represented at the meetings by eight staff and members, including Local 1846 in Calgary, Local 2069 in New Brunswick, and the Hospital Employees Union (HEU). CUPE represents more than 4,000 CBS workers across the country.

CUPE participants felt the meetings very productive and agreed to continue meeting every two years. HEU will host the next CBS Joint Unions Meeting in 2014.