A thousand health workers in Comox Valley eligible to strike

A large chunk of B.C.'s health care workers voted 96 per cent in favour of strike action last week.

A large chunk of B.C.’s health care workers voted 96 per cent in favour of strike action last week — nearly 1,000 workers are in the Comox Valley.

The Facilities Bargaining Association (FBA), is made up of 11 unions including the lead union, the Hospital Employees’ Union (HEU), which accounts for about 70 per cent of workers represented by the FBA.

Comox Valley HEU representative Sandra Ford notes the current contract — which covers 46,000 health care workers in B.C. — expired in March and negotiations have been going on since February, with no movement.

Members voted over the past couple of weeks by ballot before the strong strike vote was announced Friday. Ford noted almost 1,000 of these workers are in the Comox Valley and would have voted in favour of the strike mandate.

According to Ford, the next step is to take the strike mandate back to the bargaining table to try to get some movement from the health employer and government.

However, if there is no movement, job action could be on the horizon.

“What that might look like, we don’t know at this point of course, it’s still quite early, but we are certainly prepared to go that route if we need to,” she says. “When considering any kind of job action we’ll certainly be looking at the least impact to patients and the public and of course our members and applying maximum pressure on the employer to reach an agreement.

“We don’t want to put anybody in jeopardy of course and that’s always our first consideration.”

According to a news release from the FBA, the bargaining unit includes: care aides, LPNs, ambulance paramedics, health records staff, laboratory and other diagnostic specialists, sterile supply technicians, emergency dispatch personnel, trades and maintenance workers, activity aides and rehab assistants, IT specialists, pharmacy technicians, admitting and booking clerks, administrative staff, cleaning and dietary staff, and many others.

She adds members have been clear, “They don’t want their benefits touched” and they want a “modest” wage increase allowing for cost of living increases.

She points out that after about nine months with no movement in negotiations, the bargaining committee decided it was time to see how the members felt.

“And that’s really where the bargaining committee was at, was they were not satisfied with what was happening at the bargaining table, and felt that it was time to go to the members, and report to the members and get their take on it, so the message was loud and clear,” says Ford.

She hasn’t heard of any established bargaining dates at this point, but she expects dates will be announced soon.

writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cumberland Brewery is looking to expand its patio space temporarily for the summer. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Cumberland Brewery looks for temporary patio expansion

Move would allow business to spread customers outside in summer months

School District 71’s final budget for this school year showed more revenue from distance learning students but less from traditional classroom registration. Record file photo
Comox Valley Schools’ budget grant almost $5.5 million higher than planned

Increase came from a boost in distributed learning rather traditional registration

A&W on Ryan Road confirmed a positive case of COVID-19 at their restaurant and temporarily shut its doors. Google Maps photo
Courtenay restaurant temporarily closed due to COVID-19 exposure

It’s the latest business in the Valley to be affected by the virus

The CSRHD board moved closer to passing a budget with a $4.4 million cut to the tax requisition. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Comox Strathcona hospital district moves on budget with tax cut

At $12.6 million, budget requisition represents drop of $4.4 million for current year

Courtenay councillor Will Cole-Hamilton, standing at right, sits on steering committees of two organizations that are tackling the problem of greenhouse gas emissions. File photo
Courtenay councillor leads campaign to reduce building-sector GHG emissions

Courtenay councillor Will Cole-Hamilton wants local governments to carry a little more… Continue reading

Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after talking about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
COVID: 589 new cases in B.C., and 7 new deaths

No new outbreaks being reported Feb. 26

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Then-Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson looks on as MLA Shirley Bond answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. Liberal party to choose next leader in February 2022

Candidates have until Nov. 30 to declare whether they are running

After nearly 10 months of investigations, Mounties have made an arrest in the tripping of an elderly woman in Burnaby this past April. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Mounties charge suspect for tripping elderly woman near Metrotown in April

32-year-old Hayun Song is accused of causing bodily harm to an 84-year-old using her walker

British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives to view the Murals of Gratitude exhibition in Vancouver, on Friday, July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Death threats mount against Dr. Bonnie Henry, sparking condemnation from Horgan, Dix

Henry has become a staple on televisions in homes across British Columbia since January 2020

Several BC Ferries sailings are cancelled Friday due to adverse weather. (Black Press Media File)
All B.C. Ferries sailings cancelled due to winds, adverse weather

Adverse weather causes cancellations across several BC Ferries routes

Bryan Adams with his mom, Jane Adams Clark, at Lions Gate Hospital. (Bryan Adams)
Bryan Adams gives shout out to North Shore hospital

The singer’s mom was in Lions Gate Hospital for care

Most Read