Bill 29: CUPE members prepare to vote on tentative agreements

    BURNABY, BC, Jan. 30 /CNW/ - In the next few weeks, community health
workers and health science professionals represented by CUPE will vote on two
of the four tentative agreements negotiated with the provincial government
aimed at implementing the June 2007 Supreme Court of Canada ruling on Bill 29
    CUPE is recommending rejection of one of those agreements.
    CUPE represents almost 1,000 health workers, including addiction
counsellors, physiotherapists, speech language pathologists and clerical
support workers, who will be affected by tentative agreements signed by the
Community Bargaining Association (CBA) and the Health Science Professionals
Bargaining Association (HSPBA).
    "These agreements are a public record that there is a price to pay for
violating workers' basic rights," says CUPE BC president Barry O'Neill. "Like
all redress, it can never completely undo the wrong done, but progress has
been made to restore some of those rights and compensate workers for the
hardship the liberal government has caused them."
    As part of the deal, the provincial government will spend a total of $85
million on retraining, clinical upgrading and professional development for
health care workers affected by Bill 29 - a law which cleared the way for an
unparalleled contracting out of health services that led to the layoff of more
than 9,000 health care workers.
    CUPE is recommending acceptance of the agreement negotiated by the CBA
because it includes a mechanism that ensures notice and consultation in every
case of future contracting out as well as compensation and ability to bid on
jobs throughout the six health authorities in the province. If ratified, this
agreement will affect health care workers represented by CUPE 15, CUPE 3495
and CUPE 4816.
    The tentative agreement negotiated by the HSPBA, however, relies solely
on the current Labour Adjustment language included in Section 54
( of the BC Labour Code,
which does not guarantee such consultation or provide adequate protections for
workers affected by contracting out. For this reason, CUPE is recommending
rejection of the agreement. Affected locals include CUPE 15, CUPE 4816, and
CUPE 1978.

    Links: Settlement Agreement - Community Health Association
    Settlement Agreement - Health Science Professionals Bargaining


For further information:

For further information: Barry O'Neill, CUPE BC President, c: (604)
340-6768; Heather Inglis, CUPE Coordinator/Health, c: (778) 846-9323; Diane
Kalen, CUPE Communications, c: (778) 229-0258

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