Nursed back to economic health

The British Columbia Nurses' Union's collective agreement doesn't expire until March 31, 2010. But Public Eye has learned the union has been negotiating an extension to that agreement. In a message to members, nurses' president Debra McPherson writes the union "believes the achievement of a contract extension at this time would be advantageous to BCNU members, because it would provide stability in health care during difficult economic times. A contract extension to 2012 would be advantageous because economic conditions may be better at that time." The following is a complete copy of that message, which was sent on March 3.

BRITISH COLUMBIA NURSES' UNION

FILE No.

March 3, 2009

Re: Possible Two-Year Extension of Provincial Collective Agreement and Vote to Ratify

Dear Member,

At BCNU's Provincial Bargaining Strategy Conference February 16 - 17, 2009, more than 300 delegates approved a recommendation from the BCNU Executive and Council to invite the Employer to have discussions that could lead to a two-year extension of the Provincial Collective Agreement.

The Employer has accepted our invitation and discussions began the week of February 23rd, 2009. The discussions involve BCNU's elected bargaining team (South Islands Co-Chair Ronni McCallum, Thompson North Okanagan Chair Deb Ducharme, Lisa Rivington, Lorne Burkart, Sonya Kraemer, Christine Sorensen, and Liz Ilczaszyn) and members of the union's staff. Assistant Deputy Minister of Health Dr. Stephen Brown, BCNU's Executive Director of Negotiations and Strategic Development, Gary Fane, and I are chairing the discussions.

If the discussions are successful, BCNU Council and other elected representatives will meet to decide whether or not to recommend the tentative agreement to the membership. If the union's leadership recommends the package, BCNU will mail the terms to every member by mail. Membership meetings will be held across the province. In preparation for a membership ratification vote which would be held on April 8th, 2009.

BCNU believes the achievement of a contract extension at this time would be advantageous to BCNU members, because it would provide stability in health care during difficult economic times. A contract extension to 2012 would be advantageous because economic conditions may be better at that time.

If no agreement is reached, you will be informed. In that case, traditional collective bargaining would begin in January 2010, before the PCA expires March 31st, 2010.

Additional information may be sent to members by bulletin for posting on your worksite bulletin board or by email. If you wish to start receiving BCNU news at your personal email address, please email your address to membership@bcnu.org (no work email addresses please.)

If you have any questions please contract your Regional Chair or Regional Executive.

Yours in solidarity,

BRITISH COLUMBIA NURSES' UNION

Debra McPherson
President

DM/dan/7455

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