On March 6, 2020 your union and bargaining committee announced that we had reached a tentative agreement with the employer and were proceeding with a ratification vote. Here is a link to that notice and it includes the highlights of the agreement:
Attached to this notice is a copy of the Memorandum of Settlement with the full details of the tentative agreement.
What we could not predict at the time was the impact the COVID-19 pandemic would have on our province, and specifically to ratification plans for this tentative agreement. We will be proceeding with ratification in order to fulfil our obligation to conduct a timely vote consistent with the BC Labour Relations Code.
Tentative Agreement Details and Q & A
There will be two opportunities to hear a brief presentation on the details of the tentative agreement and ask any questions you may have.
Tuesday, May 12, 2020 – @ 4:00 pm
Wednesday, May 13, 2020 – @ 2:00 pm
Phone #: 1-866-562-0090
Conference ID: 171249
How to Vote
On Monday, May 11, 2020 all eligible members with an active email will receive an email with their voting credentials and a link. You simply follow this link, enter your credentials, and vote. You can vote at any time between receiving the credentials email and the deadline noted below. This means you can vote prior to the conference calls, during, or after from anywhere you have access to the internet.
If you did not receive this email and have either seen it on the bulletin board, been forwarded it by a co-worker, or have been told about it by a co-worker, you simply send an email to Joseph.Thorpe@bcgeu.ca. They will add your preferred email to the list and send you your credentials.
All electronic ballots must be submitted no later than 4:00 pm on Monday, May 18, 2020. The results will be verified by an elected officer of the union and then announced to the membership.
Why Online Voting?
The arrival of COVID-19 created an unprecedented set of circumstances and as a result the union has had to alter the way we conduct our operations. These are guided by a number of factors such as the adoption of social distancing practices, the legislation enacted by the Provincial Government, orders from the Provincial Health Officer (PHO), and subsequent orders from regional Chief Medical Health Officers (CMHO).
It is our position that holding any form of in person meeting, particularly one involving front line healthcare workers working with the most vulnerable population, would be inconsistent with your union’s practices. Also, we believe that those forms of activities are a potential violation of the orders of the PHO.
The situation is indeed so serious, the unprecedented step of restricting employees in your sector to only being allowed to work at one worksite is currently being implemented. This means that any member eligible to vote that is subject to that order and is locked into another worksite is actually prevented from attending the worksite in any way. Also, it is virtually impossible to distribute and collect ballots at the worksite without increasing the risk of transmission of the virus.
After careful consideration of all the facts, and consulting the Local 404 chair, we have determined to proceed with an online vote. This is not a new tool and it has been used increasingly for officer elections, bargaining committee elections, and ratification votes. We are confident the system we have in place is accessible and accurate and is overseen, much like a paper ballot count, by an elected officer of the union when calculating the results.
Ana Lilia – Committee Member
Avtar Bharaj – Committee Member
Richard Tones – Staff Representative
Download PDF of notice here
Download PDF of Memorandum of Settlement here
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