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While nearly four out of five believe their jobs are at risk from cuts and privatizations, HEU members are divided on how to protect them, according to a summer survey filled out by more than 3,400 members across the province.

More than half of those responding believe that concessions should be considered in return for protection against privatization and contracting out. But most HEU members aren’t sure or won’t say what those concessions might be and are split on whether to bargain now or wait until the expiry of the current agreement.

“These results were an important factor in the Provincial Executive’s decision to authorize discussions at the local level to vary the terms of the current collective agreement until a new province-wide contract is reached,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt.

“It’s clear that these discussions must be conducted in a way that keeps local officers and union members at the center of our efforts to negotiate alternatives to contracting out.”

While the survey cannot be considered statistically accurate, it did provide useful feedback to PE members as they considered the union’s response to the health employers lifting their ban on local bargaining last month. And members written responses to open-ended questions were transcribed and circulated to the entire PE.

Thousands of HEU took time out during this hot, dry summer to provide their views on the unions’ next steps,” says Allnutt.

“During the next weeks and months, we need those members and many more to participate in discussions that are taking place at the local level in many parts of the province to save jobs and protect health care.”

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