Facilities Bargaining Association seeks strike mandate
The multi-union Facilities Bargaining Association (FBA) is seeking a strike mandate from its 46,000 members to back their efforts to secure a fair and reasonable settlement in collective agreement negotiations that began last February.
Health employers have failed to move on members’ priorities, and continue to demand that individual union members take on hundreds of dollars in costs for their benefit plans as a pre-condition for any wage increase.
“This group of health workers in particular have already sacrificed enough under the B.C. Liberal government,” says Darryl Walker. “The employers’ demands are both disrespectful and arbitrary.”
Walker added that neither health employers nor government fully accept the determination of members to preserve their benefits.
“By providing their bargaining committee with a strong strike mandate, members can send a clear message to employers and government about their expectations. In other recent settlements in the public sector, employers have not required union members to take on significant additional costs for their benefits to subsidize half the cost of potential wage increases.”
Walker said that the province has a responsibility to take a fair and reasonable approach to collective bargaining with all groups of workers in the public sector.
“We expect government to review their expectations with health employers in terms of this set of negotiations,” said Walker.
Strike votes will begin on October 22 and wrap up approximately two weeks later. Voting will be conducted by stewards at worksites, at Area Offices and at the meetings already scheduled for the week of October 22nd.
In the meantime, talks are continuing this week.
The collective agreement includes more than 270 job classifications working at hospitals, care homes, diagnostic treatment centres, emergency health services, logistics and supply operations and corporate services.
In addition to BCGEU, the FBA is represented by HEU, the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 873, and the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 882/882H. Eight other unions in the association represent one per cent of workers covered by the talks.