Vancouver News

Health care worker bargaining at standstill

By The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER - No bargaining sessions have been planned between government and health care workers despite a strong strike mandate reached last week.

About 47,000 workers from 11 unions represented by the Facilities Bargaining Association — composed of emergency dispatchers, dietary staff, care aides and many more — voted 96 per cent in favour of a strike.

Roy Thorpe-Dorward, who represents the organization bargaining for government employers, says the Health Employers Association of B.C. hasn't scheduled talks with workers yet, but will try reaching out to labourers in the coming days.

The Hospital Employees Union, the biggest union in the dispute, is concerned employers' proposal to allow up to 1,500 full-time jobs to get contracted out will mean that many workers will get replaced.

However, Thorpe-Dorward says the proposal doesn't mean that current employees will get displaced, and that the number of possible contract workers is small compared to the union association's size.

The Facilities Bargaining Association says benefits, employment security and improved health and safety provisions are key issues in the dispute.

The current round of talks began in January and broke off in late March.

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