Daniel Gawthrop | CUPE Communications

A CUPE-led, labour movement campaign to replace seven members of the Pacific Blue Cross (PBC) board of directors ended with all seven of the labour-endorsed candidates elected in December.

This victory on the board came on the heels of another victory, after a summer-long lockout of CUPE 1816 members ended with a new collective agreement that protects the retiree benefits the employer had been targeting.

“This process was all about ensuring that the next leadership group at PBC is progressive,” said CUPE 1816 President Beth Miller, noting that the incumbent board’s inaction on the company’s concessionary bargaining proposals and its failure to prevent the lockout were clear signals that change was needed at the non-profit, extended health benefits provider.

The seven winning candidates from the progressive slate all had impressive backgrounds in community involvement, labour activism or knowledge of health and pension benefits: MoveUp Vice President Alicia Gallo, BC Federation of Labour Secretary-Treasurer Aaron Ekman, Royal Columbia Hospital emergency room physician Dr. Sandra Jenneson, St. Paul’s Hospital general internal medicine specialist Dr. Stéphane Voyer, Hospital Employees’ Union pensions and benefits director Brendan Dick, UNIFOR Local 2200 President Joe Elworthy, and past B.C. Teachers’ Federation President Jim Iker.

The labour backed slate issued a campaign platform aimed at returning PBC to its roots as a progressive benefits provider that respects both workers and plan holders.

CUPE staff and members worked with BC Federation of Labour affiliates to promote the progressive slate and get PBC plan holders out to the AGM to place their votes. More than 700 PBC members, all unionized public sector workers, showed up to vote.