November 20, 2012
VANCOUVER – Health science professionals have delivered a resounding 90 percent strike vote to back their bargaining committee in negotiations with BC’s health employers.
“This strong vote sends a clear message to government and health authorities that it’s time to come to the table and negotiate a fair and reasonable collective agreement,” said Chris Losito, CUPE bargaining committee representative.
“After seven months both the government and the health authorities have nothing to offer. They have not responded to a wage demand, they refuse to respond to repeated requests for costing on budget-saving measures, and they have not dealt with important issues that matter to patients and the modern health care team we all count on for our good health,” Losito said.
The Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association (HSPBA) has been at the bargaining table working to negotiate a new collective agreement since February. Talks broke down October 31.
“Our bargaining committee has worked hard to propose reasonable improvements that that will help keep these highly specialized health science professionals from going to other provinces to work,” said Losito. “We know, our members know, and the public knows that without members of the modern health care team, the health care system doesn’t work.”
CUPE National Representative Justin Schmid said the strike vote delivers a strong message to government and health authorities that it’s time to negotiate under the government-imposed “cooperative gains” mandate, not hide behind that mandate.
“We’ve seen other employers able to work within the government mandate, and reach agreements that provide fair and reasonable settlements in the public sector. Health science professionals deserve no less,” he said.
CUPE represents over 500 members in the Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association (HSPBA). HSA is the lead union in the 17,000 member bargaining association. Other unions in the bargaining association are BCGEU, PEA, and HEU.