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TELL THE PRIME MINISTER IT’S TIME TO RENEW PUBLIC HEALTH CARE. Ottawa and the provinces will negotiate a new federal health agreement in 2016.

FALL/WINTER 2015 • VOLUME 33 NUMBER 3 • THE VOICE OF THE HOSPITAL EMPLOYEES’ UNION

We need to reverse the cuts, enforce national standards and invest in seniors’ care.

SEND A MESSAGE. Visit saveourhealthcarebc.ca/renewhealthcare AGREEMENT NUMBER 40007486

RETURN TO The Guardian 5000 North Fraser Way Burnaby, B.C. V5J 5M3

Making our workplaces safer

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Violence is not part organized of the job. In 1944, hospital workers B.C.’s first united health care union. Those early strugglesReport helped define today’s HEU. it. p8


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HEU activists at November’s CUPE National Convention.

Ringing in a year of activism in 2016

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As HEU members usher in the New Year, with all its challenges and possibilities, one thing is certain – the union will be tackling an ambitious agenda of activism over the next 12 months. One of the union’s first orders of business will be mobilizing support for a renewed health accord that reverses Stephen Harper’s health cuts, restores funding to the provinces and reaffirms Ottawa’s role in upholding the Canada Health Act. In January, a meeting of Canada’s provincial health ministers in Vancouver provides a critical opportunity for health care advocates from all quarters to push for the federal commitments needed to secure the nation’s health care services. At the same time, HEU will be working with the B.C. Health Coalition to defend Canadian public health care from private clinic promoter Brian Day’s legal attack on Medicare. That case will be heard in B.C.’s Supreme Court in June. On the bargaining front, HEU’s public sector health and community social services contracts won’t expire for another three years. But that’s not the case for thousands of members working for private sector corporations

care for seniors has eroded. Against that backdrop, the union will be ramping up a renewed seniors’ care campaign in 2016. And with health and social services workers experiencing the highest injury rates in B.C., HEU will be working with members across the union to ensure employers meet first orders their legal responsibility to provide workers with a safe working enviof business will be mobilizing support ronment. That means equipping members for a renewed health accord that with the training and support they reverses Harper’s health cuts and need at the local level to identify hazards, report incidents, and refuse restores funding to the provinces. unsafe work. In May, HEU will be organizing a weekIn addition, HEU will be negotiating dozens of independent contracts covering mem- long summer school as a key part of the bers who work primarily in privately owned union’s education program. And at the end of October, hundreds of HEU members from and operated residential care facilities. This is a sector where most employers come every corner of the province will gather in to the table with a single objective – boost Vancouver for the union’s 30th biennial conshareholder profits at the expense of workers vention. It’s all part of HEU’s five-year plan to move and the seniors in their care. It’s an agenda that has created impossible the union forward by building relationships, workloads for HEU members, unsafe working increasing capacity, strengthening equity, and conditions overall, and a climate of instability boosting member mobilization across the where staff turnover is high and continuity of union. in acute care hospitals. In March, members working for the big privates – Compass, Sodexo, Acciona and Marquise – will convene to determine bargaining strategies and priorities in advance of their collective agreements expiring September 30, 2016.

One of the union’s

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COMMENT

Our fight for Medicare. It’s in our DNA With 2016 almost upon us, I want to wish all HEU members a JENNIFER WHITESIDE Happy New Year. And I want to thank every one of you for whatevSECRETARY-BUSINESS MANAGER er role you played in helping remove Stephen Harper from office. This is a victory that could not have happened without you and the thousands upon thousands of Canadians who used their power at the ballot box to finally stop him in his tracks. Our democracy is stronger because of it. Although the problems facing health care and health care workers will not magically disappear with the swearing in of a new government in Ottawa, the ground has shifted dramatically. And with that shift we now have an opportunity to refocus our fight for health care within a new political landscape. Since day one, our union has pushed for, and defended, universal public health care. It’s a fight that’s in our DNA. So in 2016, we will continue our work with the B.C. Health Coalition to defeat private health care promoter Brian Day in his attempt to dismantle our single-payer, universal Medicare system. Having been caught violating the Canada Health Act and B.C.’s Medicare Protection Act, Day is defending himself by putting public Medicare on trial. Should his court challenge succeed, it will clear the way for a profit-based, U.S.-style health system in Canada. At the same time, we will be working with our national union, CUPE, to push the new Liberal government to restore stable, ongoing health funding to the provinces and to provide the fed-

eral leadership we so desperately need to improve health care here in B.C. and across the country. More than anyone, you know how cutbacks, privatization, and endless restructuring have created chaos and impossible workloads throughout our health system. You deal with it every day. And you know it has to stop. You know that “doing more with less” has taken its toll. And you also know that it’s the people who provide the care that make the system work. Without the jobs you do, Without the jobs you do, there is no high-quality there is no high-quality public health care. Whichever part of a public health care. patient’s health journey you touch – dressing wounds, transcribing charts, feeding or bathing, caring for medical records, repairing equipment, preparing chemo, maintaining the facility, or any number of jobs that make it possible for health care to function – you are the foundation upon which Medicare was built. And without your activism to defend and improve our public health system, the future of universal Medicare is in danger. This is the fight HEU members have historically led. It’s our fight for justice, for fairness, and for a strong, universal public health care system that we all can rely on, regardless of income. In 2016, we will be pulling out all the stops to defend Medicare and the workers who deliver it.

Get connected. Stay connected. Staying in touch with your union is easier than ever using social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. HEU’s Facebook page (search Hospital Employees’ Union) was launched a year ago and has attracted more than 4,000 page likes, making it one of the most popular Canadian labour sites on the social media network. Visit HEU’s Facebook page to find photos

of members at local events, union news and discussions about current events. You can also follow the union on Twitter (@hospempunion) for snapshots of union activities and current events in 140 characters or less. And don’t forget to follow your union on Instagram (heu_in_bc) and check out an extensive collection of historical photos along with photos of HEU members working for change in their communities.


Accessing support under the Enhanced Disability Management Program • 4 B.C.’s Seniors Advocate talks with the Guardian about her first 18 months in office • 5 

HEU has joined the call for urgent action on climate change • 11 Has precarious work become the new normal in Canada? • 12 CBC’s Brian Goldman tackles the tough issues in health care • 14

We stopped Harper. Now what?

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ission accomplished. For the vast number of union members who voted for anybody but the Conservatives, a new government in Ottawa comes as a tremendous relief. Stephen Harper’s relentless attacks on unions, the environment, public health care, science-based policy making, minorities, refugees, First Nations, the poor and anyone or anything else he considered an enemy of their vision for a Conservative Canada was unprecedented. It’s impossible to recall a Prime Minister and a party that was so bent on undoing our democracy and dividing Canadians. But democracy, in the end, undid Harper. With the highest election turnout in over 20 years, seven in 10 Canadians who came out to the polls cast a vote for an alternative. Labour unions, women’s groups, environmental organizations, youth and others worked relentlessly to mobilize the vote to end Harper’s reign. And many First Nations, in particular, got involved in electoral politics like never before. In the bare two months since their election, the new government has already implemented several important promises it campaigned on. There will be an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women. The federal cabinet is 50 per cent women. Further cuts to doorto-door mail service is stopped. The long-form census is back. Canada is once again affirming internationally that climate change is a threat to the planet. Government scientists are unmuzzled. And soon, 25,000 Syrians fleeing a brutal civil war will call Canada home. It’s a significant political shift. But there is much more to do and the public’s expectations for real change are high. Here are three key areas where progressives need to keep up the pressure on a Justin Trudeau government.

PUBLIC HEALTH CARE One of the biggest files that Canadians want the new government to take action on is renewing public health care. It is, after all, the largest and most costly public service delivered by every pro-

vincial and territorial government. A health ministers’ conference is now scheduled for late January in Vancouver where work will begin on a new national agreement – or health accord – that will determine public health care’s future. From restoring the $36 billion cut by the Tories to a national seniors’ care strategy, the devil will be in the details of a new agreement. The Liberal platform was vague on funding and policy specifics when it came to renewing Medicare. As well, it’s worth noting that under the previous Chretien/Martin leadership, federal public health care funding was cut to its lowest levels ever. If the Liberals want to get health care back on the right track, this new health accord will signal how real the change will be.

ENVIRONMENT Liberal recognition of climate change is a 180 degree turnaround in federal leadership when it comes to protecting the environment. Plus, their plan for modest investments in green energy development is a good move to diminish our reliance on fossil fuels while at the same time developing the new energy economy. Yet, aside from opposing the Enbridge Northern Gateway project, Prime Minister Trudeau is still bullish on building pipelines, including the Kinder Morgan project right here in B.C. And while they support a heavy oil tanker moratorium on the upper coast, their platform is silent on tankers carrying refined products and does not make the ban permanent, says Sierra Club BC. Moreover, the Liberals have not landed on how they will price carbon emissions. And they did not commit to greenhouse gas reduction targets.

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE By voting for a party that campaigned on running deficits, Canadians have signalled they are done with years and years of austerity budgets. The Liberals promised important infrastructure spending on housing, municipal infrastructure and public transit. Plus, post-election, they lifted the requirement that federally funded construction projects over $100-million be privately financed as public-private partnerships (P3s). In terms of social infrastructure for

BARB NEDERPEL PHOTO

HEU’s Trail local members mobilized support for the union’s election pledge campaign.

low-income Canadians, there is a commitment to boost retirement benefits, post-secondary grants and supports for rent-geared-to-income subsidies. They have also committed to replacing the current universal child care benefit with a new targeted benefit that in B.C. will lift about 35,000 children out of poverty. Where the Liberals are likely to contradict these efforts to build a more economically just society is trade deals. The Liberals support the Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union. Like other so-called free trade agreements, this deal comes with strings attached that restrict Canadian sovereignty, while enriching foreignowned multinationals. In the case of CETA, the deal could add as much as $2 billion to our country’s annual pharmaceutical bill. And then, there’s the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement which critics like the Council of Canadians say will harm Canada’s auto and dairy sectors, and like CETA drive up pharmaceutical costs (see page 10). While the balance of power may have shifted to the centre on October 19, there will be an ongoing battle to hold the new Liberal government to account – or better yet, move it even further down a progressive policy path. That’s because with the NDP’s massive 57 seat loss in central Canada and a return to third place, the Conservatives are now the official Opposition. On top of that, the legacy of 10 years of Harper rule means many of his people and policies remain in place. “If we want the new government to deliver on progressive policies, we must push them to do it – by working alongside them where we can, and advocat-

ing from the outside where we can’t,” said HEU secretary business manager Jennifer Whiteside. “Decades of cuts in programs and services that took root under the watch of the Prime Minister’s father in the 70s, created the Canada of today. It will take bold steps to create a more equitable Canada.”

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How we did it Like many groups, advocates for public health care made this election a must-win. And HEU members were a big part of a win in B.C. that pushed Conservatives to third place in seats. On the upper Island and Sunshine Coast, what were supposed to be two close races between the NDP and Conservative candidates were anything but. The NDP won both seats handily. “HEU and our community allies helped make that happen,” says HEU president Victor Elkins. “Over 15,000 citizens who support public health care were mobilized to vote.” Across the rest of B.C., HEU members were engaged by the union nearly 600,000 separate times. Through workplace events, online outreach, phone messages and mail, HEU members were encouraged to sign vote pledges. A post-election survey conducted by HEU found electoral participation of union members was significantly higher than the general public. And public health care was one of the top reasons members voted for progressive candidates. •

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Labour’s call for action on violence against women As the Guardian goes to press, HEU has again joined with Canadians across the country in recognizing December 6 - the National Day of Remembrance and Action to End Violence Against Women. Shockingly, homicide remains the number one killer of women in the workplace. On any given day, over 3,000 women (along with their 2,500

children) are staying in an emergency shelter to escape domestic violence. At least once a week, a woman in Canada is killed by her current or former partner. And indigenous women are three times more likely to report being the victim of a violent crime. It’s facts like these that have spurred labour unions throughout Canada, and their allies, to push

the federal government to work with women’s and anti-violence organizations to develop and implement a comprehensive national action plan to end violence against women and girls.

Privatization nation Privatized services aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Some communities are realizing the benefits of returning services and infrastructure to public control. The City of Port Moody returned its garbage/recycling services back in-house after a 2008 survey showed that 81 per cent of households had experienced missed pickups, and one-third of residents reported misplaced or lost garbage cans, lids and recycling containers. Following a three-year experiment with privatization that ended after an avalanche of complaints, Fort McMurray is moving its public transit services back in-house. How much will it save? Two million dollars. When sidewalk snow removal was outsourced to private contractors by the Halifax Regional Municipality in 2013, there was a 75 per cent increase in complaints over property damage. Some contractors were fined, others terminated. The City of Hamilton ended its ten-year experiment with water privatization and returned water service to public control in 2004. During the next three years, the city saved $5.66 million. After the City of Ottawa unionized waste collection in 2005, it announced a savings of nearly $5 million over four years. The P3 model to build Quebec’s “super-hospital” (McGill University teaching hospital and Université de Montréal research centre) was a super-disaster. Quebec’s auditor calculated $10.4 million would have been saved using the traditional public procurement model. In 2014, B.C. Auditor General Carol Bellringer concluded the government’s reliance on private financing for P3 projects has cost the province millions. See CCPA’s full report, Privatization Nation at <policyalternatives.ca>.

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Enhanced Disability Management Program

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uffering from a chronic illness or getting injured on the job are both frightening experiences. And according to WorkSafeBC, health care has the highest workplace injury rates of any occupational sector in the province. That’s why it’s critical for workers to have systems in place to support them through their recuperation and help them return to work safely. And that’s also why the Facilities Bargaining Association (FBA) and the Health Employers Association of BC negotiated the Enhanced Disability Management Program (EDMP) during 2012 bargaining. The EDMP is also in the community health contract. The program, which was renewed in 2014 bargaining, is designed to improve supports provided to members, who are struggling with illness or injury, by addressing barriers to recovery and an early, safe return to work. These barriers may include: medical (physical limitations and restrictions), workplace (equipment, duties, or hours of work) and/or vocational if a new job is required (i.e. skills upgrading). Since January 2014, all workplaces directly run by health authorities have implemented the EMDP, and HEU has now trained 18 full-time EDMP stewards to support union members across B.C.

Seniors in private nursing homes more likely to die within six months of arrival

Rates of death and hospitalization are “significantly” higher in Ontario’s forprofit nursing homes than in non-profit ones, according to new research. For-profit seniors’ homes have a 16 per cent higher death rate for seniors within six months of arrival and a 33 per cent greater likelihood that they’ll end up in hospital. The study published in the Journal of the American Medical Director Association (done by the Bruyère Research Institute in Ottawa using data from the Institute for Clinical

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This past year, 64 affiliate employ- injury resulting from a work-related ers – including 55 long-term care sites event, or who have missed five conin the FBA – rolled out the EDMP, secutive shifts due to a non workwith the eventual goal of expanding related illness or injury, are eligible. Also, casual employees or regular it to include all FBA affiliates. So, how exactly does the pro- employees, who are otherwise struggram benefit ill or injured workers? gling at work but don’t meet the Through EDMP, members may be absence criteria, can refer themeligible for timely medical and reha- selves to the program. Casuals and bilitation services, or diagnostic ser- those who self-refer while continuing vices and treatments recommended to work will be considered by the by a physician, which may not be employer on a case-by-case basis. Medical information is kept strictly covered under the Medical Services Plan (MSP) or extended health plans. confidential, and is only available to the disability manageMembers in the proment team working gram will have a collabor- HEU has now directly on a member’s ative disability management team (consisting of trained 18 full-time file. Information is proa Disability Management EDMP stewards vided to managers and Professional from the human resources only employer, an EDMP to support union on a need-to-know basis, steward from the union, members. limited to the nature of and medical services professionals), who will create a cus- the absence and any functional infortomized rehabilitation and return-to- mation relating to a return to work. The EDMP steward will be the priwork plan. When a member is ready to return to mary point of contact and union supthe workplace, options such as a gradu- port for the member. For information on the EDMP, visit ated return-to-work program, tempoHEU’s website or talk to your local rary work assignments, flexible work (days/hours), modifications to current shop steward, manager or supervisor. For the Community Health duties, or even the assignment of alterDisability Management, you can call nate or light work may be explored. How can members access the 1-855-799-1104, or email <support@ CommHealthDM.ca>, or visit their EDMP? Regular employees, who have website at <www.CommHealthDM.ca>. missed one shift due to illness or BRENDA WHITEHALL

Evaluative Sciences), compared private and not-for-profit care homes in Ontario where nearly 60 per cent of seniors’ facilities are privately run. Lead study author Dr. Peter Tanuseputro noted that since previous research found staffing levels are lower in the for-profit sector, lower staffing levels may be the reason for higher mortality and hospitalization rates in private nursing homes. “Ownership matters,” CEO of the Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors Donna Rubin told the Toronto Star. “Non-profit (homes) are not in it for the business of profit, so all sur-

plus, if there is any, goes back into the home.” As Canada’s aging population grows and the demand for long-term care facilities rises, experts say the root cause behind the discrepancy needs to be addressed.


Seniors Advocate tackles systemic barriers, promotes change It’s been 18 months since Isobel Mackenzie took on the position of B.C.’s first Seniors Advocate and since that time, she has met with thousands of seniors living in every corner of the province.

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t its core, Mackenzie’s job is to identify systemic issues affecting seniors and to make recommendations for change. It’s a huge undertaking, but she is passionate about uncovering the many and varied barriers facing B.C. seniors in their daily lives. In November, she took time from her busy schedule to talk with the Guardian about her role and what she has been able to accomplish since she was first appointed to the Office of the Seniors Advocate (OSA) in April 2014. “Most importantly, this office is a place for the voices of seniors to collect and be heard,” she says. “It’s a place where we can look at the totality of services and supports for seniors, where we can measure how well we’re doing and see where we need to make improvements. My office is able to look at everything and report out directly to both the public and government.” To date, Mackenzie has issued five major reports on a wide range of issues. She’s raised concerns about seniors living in poverty, home care delivery, access to residential care beds, support for dementia care, agism, transportation problems, over-medication, housing, and most recently, unpaid caregiver distress. But one of the biggest problems, she says, is that many seniors just don’t know what services and subsidies are available to them. And while specific issues may differ for individual seniors depending on where they live or what their economic situation might be – most seniors share a common concern about being

Public sector pensionincome spending benefits B.C. communities

Public sector retirees supported $1.66 billion in provincial GDP and 31,000 jobs in 2014 by spending their pensions locally, according to research conducted for the Municipal Pension Board of Trustees. Assessing the Economic Impacts of Pension-Income Spending in British Columbia indicates that public sector retirees spend their pension income where they live, which benefits both their community and the B.C. economy. In 2014, B.C. public sector pension plans paid in excess of $3 billion in

able to make their own decisions, and have their decisions respected. She says many seniors also fear that when they need health services – whether it’s a residential care bed, home care, or a specialized service – it may not be there for them. “My job is to raise awareness of all these issues and back them up with meaningful data for decision-makers to understand,” says Mackenzie. “By bringing attention to issues that need to be resolved, we can be a catalyst for Isobel Mackenzie speaking to a seniors forum on systems change in early change…that’s what I hope my office February where more than 400 seniors, family members, care providers and community advocates gathered to discuss how to move important changes forcan do.” A key area of work for Mackenzie in ward to improve supports and services for the province’s seniors. recent months has been creating three with home support services, or in independent, province-wide “experiing cultural diversity. It means creating assisted living. But the challenge is this ence of care” surveys that will solicit communities of interest between resi– we are not viewing it as their home. information directly from seniors dents in a facility. And it means giving The structures still lead us to see it as living in residential care, receiving staff more time to be able to do activian institution where we house people.” home support services, and using ties with seniors, instead of for them. Not only do we need to personalize HandyDART. “It’s a different approach. It’s about residential living to a much greater HEU’s vice-president Carolyn setting up an environment that focusextent than we do, she says, we need to Unsworth is part of a broad advisory es on what people can do and helping provide more supcommittee assistthem to do it…engaging them in port for residents to ing the advocate activities, instead of grouping people be able to do things in creating a sur- “When you think about in front of a TV set,” says Mackenzie. on their own as vey that will go out the quality of life for “When you think about the quality much as possible. to 27,000 seniors of life for seniors in residential care, “And that takes living in the prov- seniors in residential care, a frontline staff member is the most more time… Right ince’s publicly important person they rely on,” she a frontline staff member is now, everybody’s funded residential says. “For most seniors, it’s no longer care homes. And the most important person rushed along on a about leading edge clinical responscertain schedule like Mackenzie, es…it’s about comfort, company, feelbecause there isn’t she’s hopeful that they rely on.” ing engaged and that’s what frontline the time,” she says. the results will care staff do. “To make this happen, we have to provide a useful picture of what’s “It’s that daily interaction that’s align the staffing – both the level of working, and what’s not, in specific most significant. If you ask residents staffing and the training for staff – care facilities. ‘What do you value most?’, they say so residents can be supported to be As to how residential care could they want to talk with people. That’s as independent as possible within a be improved overall, Mackenzie says, the key.” licensed facility.” “Residential care is a housing option You can learn more at <www. That means stepping away from for seniors who are no longer able to, seniorsadvocatebc.ca>. treating everyone the same and respector wish to, live independently either PATTY GIBSON

payments to plan members and their beneficiaries, and 97 per cent of those were B.C. residents. “Pension-income spending had as strong an economic impact on provincial GDP as the forestry and logging industry,” says Harold Heyming, chair of the Municipal Pension Board of Trustees. Total government tax revenue also got a $310 million boost from public sector pension payments made the same year. The report looks at three sources to assess the economic impact associated with pension incomes in B.C.: annual pension income paid to individuals

from B.C.’s public sector plans (including the Municipal, Teachers’, College, Public Service and WorkSafeBC pension plans); household-spending data from Statistics Canada, and economic inputoutput multipliers from B.C. Stats.

New national coalition formed to defend the rights of migrant workers

For decades, the labour movement has been demanding changes to federal initiatives, such as the Temporary Foreign Worker program, to protect the rights of migrant workers in Canada. These vulnerable workers are brought into the country to perform

precarious work – primarily in seasonal agricultural and domestic caregiver jobs – where they’re often subjected to human rights violations, exploitation, threats and abuse, while earning poverty-level wages in unsafe working environments. Now, a group of concerned organizations from across the nation – including B.C.’s Radical Action with Migrants in Agriculture (Okanagan Valley) and the Vancouver Committee for Domestic Workers and Caregiver Rights – have joined together to form the Coalition for Migrant Worker Rights – Canada (CMWRC). They’re calling on Prime Minister continued on page 6

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Investing in our members a top union priority

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such as global justice, the environt’s that time of year when, as we ment, and equity committees. prepare a new budget, I reflect I can’t emphasize enough how valuon all that we’ve accomplished able these gatherings are to shaping a together over the past 12 months. strong, member-driven, activist union. 2015 was significant for HEU Whether it’s an issue-based meeting – and for many Canadians – as or a skills-building workshop, the netwe strategically invested time works and solidarity that are created and resources into changing the face benefit all HEU members when our of our country’s political landscape. activists take their newfound knowlWe showed up at the polls in record edge back to their locals. numbers this fall to elect a new fedThis year, more than 1,300 HEU eral government, finally ending a members participated in a variety of decade of Stephen Harper’s destructive educational workshops, ranging from Conservative regime. health and safety to I was proud of grassroots leadership Canadians. And I was development, to shop proud of our union’s steward and member role in motivating facilitator training. our members to take And several hununprecedented politdred more attended ical action, and use the union’s equity and our collective power independent bargainto help bring about ing conferences. real change. Using union dues to A union’s greatreinvest in our memest resource is its bers has always been membership. And a top priority. We take in turn, one of the great pride in allocatgreatest resourcDonisa Bernardo ing money for leaderes any union can HEU Financial Secretary ship training and menmake available to its torship opportunities to help build members is a broad spectrum of eduour steward base. cational opportunities. In 2016, we’ll be holding Summer That’s why I’m proud to report that, School, which is a great opportunity in 2015, we supported hundreds of for grassroots members to connect with HEU members to attend workshops, seasoned veterans to learn more about subcommittee and regional meetings, the labour movement and the function and conferences, hosted by HEU as of our union. It will also lay some of the well as other labour organizations like groundwork for our 30th biennial conCUPE, the Canadian Labour Congress, vention, where about 700 HEU memand the B.C. Federation of Labour. bers will gather in Vancouver to elect HEU members also had a huge presour Provincial Executive and determine ence at the CUPE National convention, the direction of our union for the folwhere we helped elect Brother Mark lowing two years. Hancock, the union’s first president We can never underestimate the from the west coast. importance of education and the And as the B.C. health services divipower of knowledge. It excites me sion of CUPE, HEU has representaevery time I see more and more young tives on several national committees, workers and new activists stepping up where they have an opportunity to to the plate at HEU events. meet sisters and brothers from all over After all, these are the activists of the Canada to strategize and implement future. action plans around shared interests,

PRESIDENT’S DESK

Closing the gap It’s not right that people go hungry in our province. In B.C., over 177,000 people living on social assistance in our province must feed themselves on as little as three dollars a day. This means, in one of the richest provinces in Canada, living in poverty also means living with VICTOR ELKINS hunger. That’s because making ends meet on B.C.’s current welfare rates is impossible. The system sets people up for failure. It’s also the case that many HEU members work for low-wage employers, who barely get by on their earnings. They work two or three jobs just to get by. That’s why for the past three years, I have participated in the Welfare Food Challenge organized by the Raise the Rates community coalition. Participants in the challenge are asked to feed themselves on a $21 weeklong budget – the same amount any single person who lives on social assistance is expected to exist on. Let’s just say the word impossible Unequal access to care doesn’t even begin to describe how a few bucks a day is supposed to provide a nour- means richer Canadians ishing and balanced diet. tend to be healthier and Most days, I was forced to skip meals because I had already used up my daily live longer than poorer allotment. My sleep was disrupted. I could Canadians. not concentrate. I was short-tempered. And all I could think about was food. But my experience was temporary and I knew that. However, for those who can’t escape their economic conditions, there are lasting effects. As a foster parent, I have witnessed the impact that poverty has on children, and the disadvantages it brings. According to a recent study by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, unequal access to care means richer Canadians tend to be healthier and live longer than poorer Canadians. Even more troubling, the gap between the health of richer Canadians and poorer Canadians is growing. It’s a trend that started in the mid-90s when cuts to social assistance were brought in at the same time tax rates were reduced for wealthier Canadians. There are public health policies and programs that could reduce health inequalities, such as ensuring access to services, or tailoring programs to meet the specific health needs of those at risk. But public health experts say major progress will only be made when we tackle the primary factors that shape the health of Canadians. It’s not about new medical treatments or altering personal lifestyle choices. Instead, we need to address the living conditions people experience. And for better health outcomes, that means combatting poverty. In B.C., we need a welfare rate that allows people to live healthy lives, not make them sicker. And for those who are in the workforce, we need good-paying, permanent, full-time jobs that can support our families. Until then, our union will continue to work with our allies to push for a higher minimum wage, progressive taxation that sees corporations and the rich pay their fair share, and other initiatives to narrow the gap between rich and poor.

Justin Trudeau to change laws that will end discrimination against migrant workers by providing them with open work permits and access to permanent immigration for themselves and their families, which will improve their lives and working conditions. As part of their MoVE Campaign – Mobility, Voice and Equality, the coalition is also demanding the federal Liberals remove work permit limits (currently, migrant workers are deported after four years), provide them with the flexibility to change

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employers, and offer them permanent residency status when they arrive. For more information and to sign their petition, visit <http://migrantrights.ca>.

Golden Tree Monument honours B.C. farmworkers

Early one March morning in 2007, three women were senselessly killed when an overloaded van, carrying 17 farmworkers, crashed on a highway near Abbotsford. The vehicle did not have seatbelts.

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Those senseless deaths sparked outrage, which in turn generated a coroner’s inquest and a province-wide review of farm transportation. The result is stronger regulations and enforcement. In early October, Amarjit Kaur Bal, Sukhvinder Kaur Punia and Sarbjit Kaur Sidhu were honoured during a ceremony that unveiled a lasting monument to them, and to all migrant farmworkers whose lives and health are put at risk by unsafe working conditions. The seven-metre high Golden Tree Monument,

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which now stands in Abbotsford’s Friendship Garden behind the Clearbrook New monument honours migrant farmworkers who died in a tragic crash in March 2007. Library, is a stunning recognizes the important shrine that incorporates the contributions to society that faces of three women into the farmworkers provide. main branches of the tree. Irene Lanzinger, B.C. HEU, along with other Federation of Labour labour, business and comPresident, says the tree will munity organizations, helped hopefully be a symbol for the sponsor the project. change needed to protect The Golden Tree is the first workers. monument in Canada that


Union members are helping make our workplaces safer Health care remains one of the most dangerous occupations in British Columbia. No matter what job you do, or which sector you work in, every HEU member is vulnerable to a workplace injury.

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our committee works together, and we are all dedicated to making our facility a safer place to work.” Some on-the-job hazards include heavy lifting, workload, repetitive strain (including eye strain from computer use), exposure to toxic chemicals years ago. By law, employers are responsible for and infectious diseases, ergonomically maintaining a safe, harassment-free incorrect workstations, poorly maintained equipment, and violence. workplace. But raising awareness about safeAnd workers have resources to help make their working environments ty, and reporting potential hazards, safer, particularly their joint occupa- are proving to be effective in creating tional health and safety (JOHS) com- healthier workplaces. That’s why HEU provides in-house mittees. HEU locals with 20 or more employ- OH&S education – and training ees are required to have a JOHS com- opportunities through union partners mittee – with a minimum of four like the B.C. Federation of Labour – to members. At least half of them must equip our province-wide network of be union-appointed worker represen- OH&S stewards with tools to improve workplace safety. tatives. Sandra Close, a care aide at Cowichan “Our members are so dedicated to providing care to others that they Lodge in Duncan, says, “HEU’s extenoften don’t realize how dangerous their sive training for JOHS committees has work actually is until they get injured,” made a huge difference to my educasays HEU OH&S representative Ana tion about safety. It’s really helped me a Rahmat. “With cutbacks, many work- lot, and it’s amazing to see the results.” Although each work site has unique ers are pushed to do more with less. practises, issues And that’s a recipe and challenges, safe for disaster.” working conditions Rahmat says Effective committees are a shared objeceffective JOHS begin with employers tive for the entire committees begin health care team. with employers creating a “safe space” Take Yucalta creating a “safe for workers to report Lodge in Campbell space” for workers River, for example. to report incidents incidents or hazards. Over the past year, or hazards. their JOHS commit“There has to There has to be a culture tee – which includes be a culture where where blame is shifted care aides Elizabeth blame is shifted away from the individual “Midge” Novak and away from the Taryne Cockriell – individual workworkers. has achieved a rapid ers,” says Rahmat. “Employers must be held accountable decline in injury rates at their local. “Taryne and I have done really well and they should concentrate on preventative measures to reduce injury as a team,” says Novak. “If we have rates. Management needs to be as com- any concerns, we go directly to our mitted to health and safety as the manager. If it’s urgent, she deals with it as quickly as possible... So far, everyworker representatives.” In recent years, JOHS committees thing we’ve brought up to manageare making a difference in reducing ment or the JOHS committee has been addressed – everything.” on-the-job injuries. For instance, management approved Tammy Mcdougall, a cook at Kiwanis Village Lodge in Nanaimo, has been on a staffing level increase to address her local’s JOHS committee for nearly workload on days, and it’s currently on six years, and reports that injury-relat- their agenda for night shifts. Novak says that regular OH&S worked “loss of work days” has decreased by shops, including “good body mechan40 per cent in recent months. She attributes that to teamwork, com- ics”, is an integral part of injury premunication and accountability, adding vention, and it’s mandatory for all new that management and multi-union rep- staff. “We have a very supportive manager resentatives check their egos at the door to focus on a collective goal – keeping who takes health and safety seriously,” says Novak. “We also work with an workers safe by eliminating risks. “Once we start our meetings, all hats MSIP [musculoskeletal injury prevenstay outside and we work as a team,” tion] team and OH&S representatives. says Mcdougall. “One of the main rea- And everybody’s on board from all sons we have been so successful is that departments – laundry, housekeeping, ccupational health and safety (OH&S) has been at the root of HEU’s advocacy for health care workers since the union formed more than 70

dietary, direct patient care – we are all working together to create a safe workplace.” Close, who works on a mental health unit for adults and seniors with dementia, agrees that teamwork is imperative. “Our JOHS committee is quite new, but we have a really awesome multidisciplinary team, which includes MSIP coaches, a PRT [peer resource training] team that also has occupational therapists and clinical nurse leaders. We also have a Code White [violence response] team. “Every agenda item is reviewed and resolved immediately at our meetings. I’m really proud to be on this committee, and it’s amazing to see the decline in injury rates and the reduction of violence in our workplace because of our great team approach.” Close says her local’s staff injuries have also decreased as a result of shifting to a more patient-centred care plan. “Our objective is to do an individual care plan with a rehabilitation component so that each patient remains independent in a safe environment, whether it’s at home or in a care facility. And we work in consultation with families too. This individual care plan approach has reduced violent incidents significantly.” Similarly, Mcdougall’s JOHS committee has implemented a number of proactive initiatives, such as creating an employee form for reporting hazards and “near misses” to prevent future incidents. These forms are reviewed with recommendations provided to workers. “We follow-up with members on

Y T E F SA T. FIRS how we’re working to resolve the issue, which makes people have more confidence in our committee,” says Mcdougall. “We have made ourselves approachable, and our workers are no longer scared to come talk to us about whatever they feel needs to be dealt with.” Mcdougall says the committee has also changed its incident investigation approach. “Instead of focusing on the accident itself, we are provided with a graph of all the incidents. This way, we can see if there are any patterns, such as multiple injuries in a certain room, or with certain patients, and the types of injuries. If we see a pattern, we can make specific recommendations like updating a patient’s ADL [activities of daily living], or looking at the layout of a certain room.” And Novak emphasizes: “In order to have safe, functioning staff, managers have to address health and safety to build trust with workers. Otherwise, you end up with a dysfunctional workplace. Having a strong JOHS committee, where you’re working as a team, makes a huge difference.” For more information, contact your local OH&S steward or HEU’s OH&S reps Ana Rahmat and Della McGaw at <ohs@heu.org>. BRENDA WHITEHALL

OH&S RIGHTS AND TOOLS HEU members can access a number of tools to help make their working environments safe. They include collective agreement provisions, employer policies, and joint occupational health and safety committees. Workers also have provincial legislation to protect them, like the Workers Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation. Under the Workers Compensation Act, all members of occupational F A L L / W I N T E R

health and safety (OH&S) committees are entitled to eight paid-hours of education leave per year. And the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation has established four major rights for workers: • the right to refuse unsafe work; • the right to know hazardous conditions; • the right to participate in workplace health and safety initiatives and • the right to no discrimination.

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WORKPLACE VIOLENCE. It was during a typical daytime shift in July that life took an unexpected turn for one HEU care aide at a Maple Ridge facility. She was responding to a resident’s call bell, just as she had done hundreds of times before during her career.

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WITHOUT WARNING, she was grabbed by her hand. The resident that’s not the only barrier holding workers back from reporting twisted her arm with such force that she ended up with a fractured violent incidents. “First, there’s the time factor. Many of our members are coping wrist, and a swollen arm that still has not healed despite more than with impossible workloads in understaffed facilities. They don’t feel four months of ongoing physiotherapy. In an interview with the Guardian, where she asked that her they have time to deal with incident reporting and the paperwork name be withheld while she works through the labour relations that comes with it,” explains Whiteside. “But even more importantly, many fear they will be blamed for process, she described the effects of her injury this way: “It’s totally changed my life. I am still suffering with pain. I wear a brace but violent incidents that do occur. That’s a direct consequence of I can’t do much – cleaning, cooking, laundry, everything I cannot focussing solutions on what a worker should or should not have do… I even need help with my personal care. It’s very stressful for done – what an individual staff person needs to do to protect themme and my family. I worry if my hand will ever be healed. I don’t selves – rather than addressing what needs to happen system-wide to deal with the conditions that foster violence toward care staff.” think so.” She was not the only health care worker injured by the same resident at this facility. There have been two others as well. “But I don’t WHO’S GETTING HURT? blame him for this,” she says. “It’s not his fault. He is a sick man.” According to the most recent research available from WorkSafeBC, A year ago, another HEU care aide working in a Penticton facility there has been an alarming 70 per cent increase in violence-related was violently assaulted by a resident while putting claims in health care over the past 10 years. him to bed. Not only did he wrench her by the Although health and social services workers “For too long, health arm, he struck her in the face. make up about 12 per cent of the province’s This wasn’t the first time she had encountered care workers have been total workforce, they comprise 56 per cent of violence on the job, or witnessed it. WorkSafe’s time loss claims attributable to vio“If I were to write an incident report every given the message that lence. time I was punched, kicked or pinched by my WorkSafeBC also reports that violence occurs aggression and violence residents, I would have no time to do my job,” in long-term care at a rate that is more than she says. comes with the territory. double that in acute care – and that care aides, by And therein lies one of the biggest problems far, are the most at risk. when it comes to assessing the amount of vio- That it’s somehow just “Most people have no idea that care aides have lence experienced by health care workers – count- part of the job.” a higher rate of injury than any other group of less incidents go unreported. workers in health care – including both doctors Research studies show that official incident reports are typically and nurses – and that they are the most at risk for being on the only completed when medical attention is required at the time receiving end of violent attacks,” says Whiteside. of the incident, and that even where it The results of a Viewpoints Research survey of HEU care aides commissioned by the union in 2014 echo those findings. In that poll, 83 per cent of those contacted reported being “struck, scratched, spit on or subjected to other acts of violence or aggression from a resident, patient or client.” And in a landmark research study published by York University in 2008 Out of Control: Violence Against Personal Support Workers in Long-Term Care, almost 90 per cent of personal support workers surveyed reported they had experienced some form of physical violence from residents and their family members while at work. Nearly half reported physical violence as a daily occurrence. Why care aides bear the brunt of violence in health care comes down to the nature of their job – providing direct personal support and intimate care – as well as systemic factors that undermine safety in their may be commu- workplaces. nicated verbally, the Evidence shows that the majority of violent incidents occur at information does not the point of care, where staff are in direct contact with a patient, automatically become a written resident or client. A care aide’s duties typically include bathing, report. toileting, grooming, dressing, assistance with feeding, dental care, “For too long, health care workers have been and more. given the message that aggression and violence comes with the territory. That it’s somehow just part of the job,” says HEU secretary- NO TIME TO BE SAFE business manager Jennifer Whiteside. “That message has taken hold Knowing that the potential for violence is most likely to occur and has created a culture where the expectation of when providing personal care, it is critical that staff have enough violence has been normalized.” time to establish basic trust with those they are assisting, and to be H o w e v e r , able to provide care at a reasonable pace. “When caring for the elderly, particularly those who have

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It’s not okay. REPORT IT. dementia, staff need time to explain the steps they are about to carry out and reassure those who are fearful. They need to be able to discontinue care and return later if an individual is becoming agitated,” says Whiteside. “But the reality is, too many facilities are understaffed. Workloads are almost impossible. And our members are given neither the “Every incident, every time nor the flexibility they need to be safe. Or to provide near miss, needs to be the quality of care any of us reported, even if it does would want for ourselves or our loved ones. not result in a physical “Despite a theoretical injury.” emphasis on patient-centred or patient-focused care, in actuality most care staff are not given the time to provide a truly personcentred experience,” says Whiteside. Again, the Viewpoints Research survey of HEU care aides is illuminating. More than half said they don’t have enough time in a typical shift to adequately meet the needs of those in their care. Nearly three-quarters said they are forced to rush seniors through basic care routines. And more than 70 per cent reported they didn’t have the time to comfort or reassure someone who may be confused, agitated or afraid. “When we consider the vulnerable state many residents and patients are often in, and the incredible reliance they have on staff when needing something as basic as help to go to the bathroom, we need to ensure a consistent level of staffing that allocates enough time to provide responsive, sensitive and compassionate care,” says Whiteside. In other words, she says, given sufficient time within a shift, many of the situations and conditions that trigger aggressive behaviours could be anticipated and reduced, if not prevented altogether.

VIOLENCE COSTS Violence in health care workplaces comes at a high cost in both human terms and financially. Violent incidents cannot only cause immediate physical injury or psychological trauma. Over the long-term, an injury may never fully heal, and those who have been victimized may suffer internalized trepidation, fear, and diminished confidence going forward. On the financial front, WorkSafeBC reports that claims costs resulting from violence-related injuries in health care totalled more than $4 million between 2008 and 2012. And even when a claim is not involved, there are costs related to time lost from work and potential unexpected expenses for the individual that may not be covered. “The physical, emotional and financial impacts on our members from violent incidents cannot be underestimated,” says Whiteside. She stresses that without adopting measures to address the problem of short-staffing and unsafe workloads, it will be next to impossible to provide a safe working environment for our members or a safe and caring environment for patients, residents and clients. “We need care facilities that are fully and properly staffed. In any violence prevention strategy, that’s the bottom line.”

PREVENTING VIOLENCE Health employers have a clear responsibility to make sure all patients, residents and clients have a thorough risk assessment completed, which includes identifying the potential for violence.

Employers are also required to communicate the risk of violence to all workers who may come in contact with the individual through the course of their duties, along with the steps staff need to take to be safe. But according to HEU’s occupational health and safety (OH&S) representative Ana Rahmat, that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes the facility is not aware of the potential for violence until it happens. In other cases, the employer has failed to communicate the risk. “Every incident, every near miss, needs to be reported, even if it does not result in a physical injury,” says Rahmat. “The vast majority of incidents still go unreported, and that means employers are not under pressure to make the changes required to keep our members safe.” Last year, the union’s OH&S education program trained more than 300 activists and stewards in all aspects of workplace safety, including violence. That training will continue next year with a focus on encouraging and supporting members to report violent incidents. PATTY GIBSON

Workplace violence is any act of aggression, verbal assault, physical assault or threatening behaviour that occurs in the health care environment which causes physical or emotional harm to patients, staff or visitors. F A L L / W I N T E R

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NOTEWORTHY NEWS ABOUT ISSUES AFFECTING WORKING PEOPLE HERE AND ABROAD

What’s wrong with the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement?

WHO’S SUING CANADA AND WHY? •

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed by Canada, the United States and Mexico in 1994.

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egotiated behind closed doors over the past five years, most Canadians didn’t learn about the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement until the federal election. That’s when former Prime Minister Stephen Harper was suddenly called on to end the secrecy and release the text of the largest trade deal in history. Supporters argue the TPP will eliminate trade barriers and boost the economy. But critics say trade deals like the TPP only increase corporate power at the expense of government rights.

Canada is the most sued country under NAFTA’s investor-state dispute settlement mechanism. As of January 1, 2015, 45 per cent of NAFTA claims were made against Canada. •

America’s biggest corporations and Wall Street banks have been involved in negotiating the TPP, but not the public. “That’s a recipe for fatter profits and bigger paychecks at the top, but not a good deal for most of us, or even for most of the rest of the world,” he says. How does this corporate interference happen under trade deals like the TPP? First, the agreement sets up an investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) process that allows corporations to sue governments – without recourse – outside of Canada’s legal system. Essentially, governments can end up paying millions of dollars to cor-

Canada has been the target of 35 investor-state claims, significantly more than either Mexico (22) or the U.S. (20). •

Canada is currently facing nine lawsuits where foreign investors claim our country’s measures violate their ability to make a profit. •

Current policies and decisions under challenge include a ban on fracking by the Quebec government, a move by the government to invalidate a pharmaceutical patent, the promotion of renewable energies, a moratorium on offshore wind projects, and the blocking of a mega quarry in Nova Scotia. •

Canada has already paid out damages of $170 million and incurred tens of millions more in legal costs. Mexico has lost five cases and paid damages of $204 million. The U.S. has never lost a NAFTA investor-state case. •

(Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, NAFTA investor-state claims against Canada are “out of control”: study, January 14, 2015)

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JOHN BONNAR PHOTO

Investors are after $6 billion in damages from the Canadian government.

Critics say trade deals like the TPP only increase corporate power at the expense of government rights. And like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) before it, the TPP threatens new government policies regulating everything from environmental regulations and health and safety standards to patent and copyright protections and public services. It sounds twisted. And it is. These are all policy areas where Canada as a democratic country is vested with the authority to act in the public interest on such critical social issues as climate change, public education and health care, and First Nations’ resources. But in the eyes of corporations, those are all areas that could impact their ability to make future profits. Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, says lobbyists from

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porations if they choose to introduce new regulations in the public interest. Under NAFTA’s closed-door private courts, Canada has become the most sued country. And because the TPP includes 12 countries, which make up approximately 40 per cent of the global economy, the threat is all the more damaging. The TPP expands the number of corporations that can litigate. In fact, the Council of Canadians warns that the ISDS is so harmful that it must be removed from the TPP in order to protect any progress made in Paris at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change. And trade agreements, like the TPP, can effectively kill a policy initiative out of fear that a major corporation will sue for potential loss of profit.

As far back as 2001, a former government official in Ottawa told the Nation, “I’ve seen the letters from the New York and DC law firms coming up to the Canadian government on virtually every new environmental regulation and proposition in the last five years. They involved dry-cleaning chemicals, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, patent law. Virtually all of the new initiatives were targeted and most of them never saw the light of day.” At press time, opposition to the TPP was steadily gaining momentum. The auto industry, for example, fears a further loss of manufacturing jobs. Dairy farmers are concerned the deal could open up the market to American milk and related products, affecting their ability to stay afloat. Many of the jobs that could be moved out of Canada under the TPP would likely head to countries with little or no protection for workers and poverty-level wages, further entrenching the inequalities among countries in the TPP. In Mexico, for example, under NAFTA, millions of people were displaced from farming after being forced to compete with agricultural business in the U.S. And then, there’s the potential impact on global pharmaceuticals. Doctors without Borders say the TPP could dismantle public health safeguards that are enshrined in international law and restrict “access to price-lowering generic medicines for millions of people.” The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternative’s Scott Sinclair and Stewart Trew echo these concerns: “The intellectual property chapter of the TPP could prove a minefield for efforts to control drug costs in Canada, which are already the second highest in the world.” With the full text released in November 2015, the deal still needs to be ratified by all of the countries involved. Canada is under huge international pressure to sign the TPP without changes. U.S. President Barak Obama is preparing to take it to Congress for ratification and others are preparing to sign. Calls to reject the TPP continue to grow from unions, environmental organizations, and other civil society groups. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised an open public debate on the agreement. CAELIE FRAMPTON


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hen a crowd of 1,500 people crammed into Jack Poole Plaza in Vancouver on November 5, they had a message to deliver to Justin Trudeau’s new federal government – a low-carbon future can’t come soon enough. Labour unions and community allies from indigenous, environmental and social justice groups rallied in support of the Leap Manifesto – a bold document that outlines how to curb emissions and reduce Canada’s carbon footprint. At the rally, which was part of the Canadian Union of Public Employees’ national convention, best-selling author Naomi Klein spoke about the urgency of climate change: “We can’t just leave this to the politicians, and if they’re not going to lead, then we’re going to lead,” she said. “What this

government needs is powerful and relentless pressure from below. Now is a time for boldness, now is the time to leap.” Klein also emphasized the opportunity to create an economic system that’s just and fair. “We don’t just want green jobs, we want green jobs that are unionized and pay a living wage,” she said. Joining her on stage was outgoing CUPE National President Paul Moist. “We demand our government governs for all people,” he said. CUPE was the first union to endorse the Leap Manifesto which now has over 30,000 signatures. It’s also been signed by celebrities including Alanis Morissette, Ellen Page, Neil Young and Leonard Cohen. This made-in-Canada vision presents a blueprint to transition from a fossil fuel-based economy to a pollution-free economy, while improving the lives of most Canadians.

CUPE convention sets ambitious agenda, elects new president In the first week of November, a delegation of 75 HEU members attended the Canadian Union of Public Employees 27th biennial convention in Vancouver – the highest decision-making authority of the union. Over the course of a week, 2,000 CUPE members from across the country debated policy issues, shared their challenges, and set CUPE’s future priorities. Delegates set an ambitious course for the next two years by adopting a Strategic Directions plan with a focus on building workers’ power to improving workplaces and

communities, and to build a better world. They also passed a resolution to reorganize the defence fund so that more resources can go to funding ongoing critical work while protecting a healthy strike fund for the future. Delegates elected former CUPE BC president Mark Hancock as national president and re-elected Charles Fleury, by acclamation, to a third term as national secretary-treasurer. Heartfelt tributes were also paid to outgoing president Paul Moist, recognizing his 40 years as a CUPE member, activist, staffer and national leader.

In early November, more than 1,500 people rallied for a low-carbon future that includes green jobs that are unionized and pay a living wage.

more forest fires, more droughts and The Manifesto calls for a transition deadly heat waves. They say this is the that’s financed through an end to fossildecade to take decisive action to prefuel subsidies, increased resource royvent catastrophic global warming. alties, progressive carbon taxes, cuts to As to what’s possible, Germany curmilitary spending and higher income rently generates 30 per cent of their taxes on corporations and wealthy electricity from people. All are based renewables and has on a simple “polluter The recent picture created 400,000 jobs pays” principle. in the clean energy And as part of painted by Environment sector in the prothe transition, the cess. The Pembina Manifesto also calls Canada on the science Institute says B.C.’s for a debate on a of climate change, green-building secguaranteed annual tor currently already income, funding for shows an unpredictable employs over 23,000 clean transit and future. Canada is people. investment in lowCanada has the carbon sectors like warming at twice the ability to change, education, health and global rate. says the Manifesto, child care. but requires the The recent picture political will. “One thing is clear: pubpainted by Environment Canada on lic scarcity in times of unprecedented the science of climate change, shows an private wealth is a manufactured criunpredictable future. sis, designed to extinguish our dreams Canada is warming at twice the global before they have a chance to be born.” rate and a two degree Celsius increase globally actually means a three to four CAELIE FRAM PTON degree Celsius increase for the country. At this rate, climate scientists predict

Public health care unites us all

P HEU workers know that CUPE members across the country have their backs.

Public health care is a powerful expression of solidarity. It’s our commitment to one another as Canadians that we’ll take care of each other – no matter what. Over the past year, I’ve felt that solidarity firsthand. Throughout the health challenges I faced, I always knew health care workers had my back. I also knew they were bending over backwards to do their jobs, under sometimes impossible conditions. And helping me through a nightmare of tests and procedures. After more than a decade of federal neglect and 15 years of provincial attacks on public health care, frontline workers are struggling to deliver quality care. Cuts and privatization have left our public network of hospitals, clinics, home care and seniors’ care dangerously overstretched. The struggle of HEU members to protect and strengthen public health care is inspiring. Whether it’s fighting privatized laundry services in B.C.’s Interior, or organizing to protect more than 900 health care workers who are

caught up in the province’s biggest contract flip, HEU members are standing up for good jobs and strong services. And just as health care workers had my back, HEU workers know that CUPE members across the country have their backs. We’re with you as you push for stronger provincial laws that would prohibit corporations from squeezing out even higher profits by gutting our collective agreements. And we’ll stand together to press the federal government for a stronger public health care system that works for everyone. As we mobilize to repair a decade of damage to our health care system, we’ll need to hold the federal Liberals to their promises – and push them to go further. It’s time for a new Health Accord with stable long-term funding, a national prescription drug plan, more funding for home care and seniors’ care, and an end to the privatization of health care. Let’s do it for each other. And for all Canadians. M ARK H ANCOCK • CUPE N ATION AL PRESIDEN T

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CAELIE FRAMPTON PHOTO

Time is running out, HEU joins urgent call for action on climate change


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Fighting cuts to seniors’ care In mid-November, HEU learned that New Horizons, a privately owned residential care home in Campbell River, was planning to cut hundreds of hours in direct care to seniors starting in early January. Working with the local Citizens for Quality Health Care group, HEU has launched a campaign to fight

the care reductions. The campaign kicked off with a packed town hall on November 30 featuring HEU’s secretary-business manager Jennifer Whiteside, Vancouver Island Association of Family Councils chair Kim Slater, and family members with loved ones in care at the facility. HEU and its allies will continue to step up the pressure on the owners of New

Horizons to address the concerns of residents and those that care for them.

Project helps nonunionized workers protect their rights A special project between HEU and the Victoria-based Together Against Poverty Society (TAPS) is helping non-unionized workers – and members who do not yet have a collective agreement – protect their rights. Employment Rights in BC: A resource for non-unionized employees provides a plain language guide to the basic employment rights all workers in British Columbia are entitled to, and covers issues like hours of work, vacation, health and safety, personal

privacy and joining a union. Although it can’t cover all possible situations employees may face on the job, and there is no substitute for legal advice, it pulls together workers’ rights under the law as set out in the Employment Standards Act, Human Rights Code, Labour Relations Code, Workers Compensation Act and Personal Information Protection Act. HEU encourages members to help make it available to non-unionized friends and family members, who want to know more about their rights under the law. Employment Rights in BC is available on the union’s website in English, Punjabi and Filipino. Download it at <www.heu.org>.

Breast cancer case heading to Supreme Court of Canada A legal case is going to the Supreme Court of Canada in January 2016 that could make it easier for women who contract breast cancer to receive Workers Compensation benefits. The Health Sciences Association (HSA) and HEU are appealing a B.C. Court of Appeal decision on behalf of three laboratory technicians who contracted breast cancer while working at the Mission Memorial Hospital. Katrina Hammer, Anne MacFarlane and former HEU member Patricia Schmidt developed breast cancer during the period from 1970 to 2004 while working at

Canada’s new normal: precarious work

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who was about ow wage jobs. Temporary employment. to be evicted a Contract labour. Migrant workers. couple of years Too many workers in Canada don’t ago exposed have permanent, full-time employment the relationship that provides a decent living. between precariInstead, they experience lower wages, ous work and fewer training opportunities, higher job poverty. With strain and no real employment security. And for the TAPS’ help, she vast majority, they are not members of a union. got her wages Some labour experts call these individuals nonand kept her standard workers. Others call them the precariat. home. The tragic news is, this type of employment is Today, the becoming the new Canadian standard. Victoria-based Toronto Workers Action Centre’s Deena Ladd, Stephen Portman from Together Against According to an Organization for Economic o r g a n i z a t i o n Poverty Society, and Immigrant Workers Centre executive director Joey Calugay talk Co-Operation and Development (OECD) report runs an employ- about their organizations’ work to advance the rights of expolited workers. released in the spring of 2015, the quality of employment standards ment in Canada is at a 25-year low. In fact, it is 10 house workers, it approached Montreal’s Immigrant legal advocacy program to support non-unionized per cent below 1990 levels. Workers Centre. workers in B.C.’s capital region. To date, it has For example, the OECD report singled out the Employed by a temp agency who in turn was assisted over 240 people. employment trend in Southern Ontario – Canada’s hired to run the warehouse for the true employer More established centres have gone beyond caseeconomic heartland – where barely half of working – a prominent billion-dollar Quebec corporation – by-case advocacy to securing gains at a broader level, adults have full-time permanent jobs, and almost all these workers were in a constant state of precarious both in terms of compensation and legislation. employment growth is in non-standard jobs. employment, which made organizing difficult. Toronto Workers Action Centre’s A recent United Nations study Enter the Immigrant Workers Centre. Deena Ladd described how lobdetermined 30 million more peoWith the union’s support, the centre was provided bying the provincial government ple are now unemployed across More established with expertise, resources and staff in the organizing resulted in changes to temporary the globe since the 2008 economic process. And from the beginning, the union was centres have gone worker laws in Ontario and $10 crash, topping out at 200 million. clear its goal was to unionize those workers, if the million more for enforcement. Even more chilling, the report beyond case-by-case opportunity arose. In Montreal, the workers centre found that barely a quarter of all “We agreed to this because it is the workers’ right there won $3.5 million in severworkers across the planet have per- advocacy to securing to unionize, if they choose to – and unions, of ance pay for 540 laid-off workers. manent and stable employment. gains at a broader course, give workers better defences and collective “We have organized a tempoIn response to the deteriorating bargaining,” said Calugay. “At the same time, there rary agency workers association, economic situation for Canadian level, both in terms are limits to unionizing, given the precarious conditrained grassroots leaders, and workers, a number of organizations of these workers. of compensation and campaigned for labour rights tions have been founded to fight “We believe as precarious labour becomes more in particular workplaces,” said for the rights of exploited workers. legislation. prominent in Canada, we must look beyond unionImmigrant Workers Centre execuIn a forum hosted in November ization. We need to adapt and adopt new forms of tive director Joey Calugay. by HEU and the B.C. Federation of Labour labour organizing to meet new challenges to move However, in addition to improving the lives of Employment Standards Coalition, a panel of repthe whole labour movement forward. After all, if we unorganized workers, these centres serve another resentatives from three such agencies talked about can improve the condition of employment for prevery important purpose. They connect precarious their work. carious workers, we can raise the bar for all.” workers to Canada’s labour movement. Leading off the panel discussion, Stephen For one Quebec union, when it wanted to unionPortman from Together Against Poverty Society NEIL MONCKTON ize a largely racialized staff of low-wage ware(TAPS) described how advocating for a person

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the hospital. These breast cancer incidents are referred to as a “cluster” because the height of contraction is eight times higher than in the general population. Workers Compensation originally found that the breast cancer was tied to the workplace, but then two levels of courts disagreed with the initial ruling. If this case is a victory at the Supreme Court, the ruling will make it easier for women who contract breast cancer on the job to get benefits. The case would also have further impact, reaching all workers who are in environments where they handle chemicals.

Decision to contract out hospital laundry in IHA on hold In November, the new chief executive officer of the Interior Health Authority (IHA) Chris Mazurkewich made a surprising announcement that a decision on contracting out hospital laundry services has been further delayed until March. “We’re pleased that under new leadership, the IHA is taking a serious look at the plans for hospital laundries,” says HEU secretary-business manager Jennifer Whiteside. “So far, we have not seen any valid justification for the health authority to forge ahead with contracting out this efficient, publicly delivered service.”

Recently, Simon Fraser University economist Dr. Marvin Shaffer reviewed two IHA documents, obtained through a Freedom of Information request, to analyze the health authority’s rationale for outsourcing its laundry services, and found no valid business case for privatization. He also uncovered unexplained discrepancies in the cost of building a new centralized laundry facility – one of the options contemplated in the documents. In one document, the cost of building the facility using a public-private partnership arrangement was estimated at $20 million. Another document pegged the cost at $10 million, if it was built by the

private sector. “There is no explanation of why there should be such a discrepancy, particularly given that in both cases the facility would be built by the private sector,” says Shaffer. Last year, IHA announced that it would seek bids from the private sector to take over all or part of its laundry operations at five major hospitals in Kelowna, Vernon, Kamloops, Penticton and Nelson, along with services in six smaller communities. Over the past several months, councils in Nelson, Kamloops, Williams Lake, Summerland, Vernon and 100 Mile House have passed motions opposing the privatization scheme, and more than 12,800 concerned citi-

zens signed a petition speaking out against the loss of this public service and 175 family-supporting jobs in their communities. “This in-house laundry operation has set the bar high in terms of productivity, efficiency and quality standards, according to the IHA itself,” says HEU financial secretary Donisa Bernardo. “We need the IHA to be a champion of protecting family-supporting jobs and a clearly well-run service in their region. That would be a win-win situation for everybody.”

Education program kicks off in Spring HEU’s 2016 education program will kick off early in the new year with several twocontinued on page 14

ON THE JOB

BRENDA WHITEHALL

For the past five years HEU member Samantha Cartwright has been working as an OH&S steward to improve safety conditions at her workplace.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE

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he phrase “if you want something Like many activists, Cartwright got involved in the done, give it to a busy person” is fitunion when she needed help. “There was an issue ting for Samantha (Sam) Cartwright, around my vacation entitlement during maternity a program coordinator/activity leave, and my supervisor advised me to talk to my worker at Parkside Care Home in shop steward. I didn’t even know I had someone Prince George. from the union to represent me.” An HEU activist, Cartwright works That was nearly a decade ago. full-time, volunteers in her community, and is marNow, through her role as an OH&S steward, ried with two young daughters. She’s a facilitator for Cartwright helps others by vigorously enforcing the union’s rank-and-file member OH&S training, health and safety regulations and policies to improve and sits on a regional violence committee representthe safety culture at her workplace. ing health care workers. Cartwright says better OH&S awareness, educaNearly five years ago, Cartwright became the first tion and communication have contributed to an union member appointed to her work site’s occupainjury rate decrease at her work site in recent years. tional health and safety committee, which was pre“Staff are becoming more diligent about knowing viously just management. and enforcing their rights,” she “At first, I was appointsays. “We have a lot of growing ed as a member at-large Cartwright credits teamwork still to do, but I’m really proud and then six months later, for reducing workplace of how far we’ve come since I I took the OH&S steward started on the OH&S committee. training offered by HEU. injuries, including proper risk We have gone leaps and bounds I was involved in OH&S since my training.” assessments, a regular review at my previous job, so it She also credits teamwork for was something that I was of care plans, and implementing reducing workplace injuries, interested in.” including proper risk assessments, Cartwright’s education preventative measures. a regular review of care plans, and includes teaching, child and youth care, therapeutic implementing preventative measures. recreation, and youth and family counselling. “Staff used to feel isolated and alone, but now we’re “My counselling background covers from condeveloping a team approach. Members approach me ception through death. I dealt with violence on a if they don’t feel safe or they approach management daily basis, which gave me a lot of experience with more regularly about safety issues. The staff are handling violent patients and incidents... A lot of starting to find their voices, and they’re expressing our residents are late-stage dementia, so all of that their concerns in a constructive and positive way.” education and training applied to my current job.” Cartwright advises that reporting all risks, even

potential ones, is key to staying safe at work. “Communication within the team is critical. Staff need to report near-misses... if a resident threatens violence, or if a ceiling lift is falling off of the cradle, or if an over-toilet shelving unit is loose. “We’re trying to be more preventative – securing loose furniture, tagging broken equipment and getting it off the unit, mopping up spills if you see them so that somebody doesn’t slip, putting lava rock or salt on the sidewalks when there’s snow or ice to prevent falls... We also have trained ‘safe patient handlers’ to teach people safe lifting.” But under-reporting remains a huge issue. “It’s due to a number of things – lack of knowledge about what a near-miss is, or lack of understanding that something is important. Some staff feel intimidated or fearful of reporting things to their supervisors, but I remind them that they have a right to a safe workplace and a right to no discrimination.” What makes it all worthwhile, Cartwright says, is inspiring her daughters to carry the activist torch. “My oldest daughter heard me giving advice to a colleague and said she was really impressed. I’m trying to help other people and my daughter sees that and wants to do it too. She has learned how to stand up for others, advocate for people, and stand up for basic rights. I like being a good role model for my daughters.”

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day workshops planned for new stewards and those who have already completed the first phase of shop steward training. Following up on the success of last year’s workload workshops, the union will be holding one-day workshops on this topic starting in February and March. These workshops are designed to provide locals with the tools they need to create a strategy to address workload issues at their job sites. Locals interested in developing a workload campaign are asked to send between two and four members to develop a concrete plan designed specifically for their work site. In keeping with the union’s goal to bring educational

JANUARY FEBRUARY MARCH

JANUARY 4

HEU offices reopen

FEBRUARY

Black History Month

FEBRUARY 8 Family Day

JANUARY 17 – FEBRUARY 19

CLC: Pacific Region Winter School

FEBRUARY 25 Pink Shirt Day

MARCH 8

International Women’s Day

MARCH 14-16

Independent Support Services Bargaining Conference

MARCH 21

International Day for the Elimination of Racism

MARCH 22

World Water Day

MARCH 25

Good Friday, HEU offices closed

MARCH 28

Easter Monday, HEU offices closed PUBLICATIONS MAIL AGREEMENT NUMBER 40007486

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opportunities to members “closer to home”, HEU will be holding the workshops in many smaller communities in different regions.

Congratulations 100 Mile members

HEU members working at the 100 Mile Health Centre in the Interior took CUPE National’s top award in the union’s Earth Day contest. The contest highlights the work CUPE members are doing to build more sustainable workplaces and communities. 100 Mile members have been active on environmental issues for many years. They helped set up the health centre’s first “Green Team” – a workplace environment committee, which

tackled waste and recycling issues, as there was no municipal or workplace recycling in their community. The Green Team began collecting paper, tins, glass and plastics in makeshift bins, and then volunteered to sort the materials according to type. The grassroots program eventually grew. With a Health Foundation grant, members helped establish a formal recycling program with proper blue bins and recycling stations in the health centre. Other departments came on board. Maintenance workers started recycling light bulbs and tubes, while pharmacy workers began to recycle medicine bottles, plastics and Styrofoam. All the while, the

Green Team ran campaigns in the health centre to promote waste diversion and to raise workers’ environmental consciousness.

First Nations set to bargain in Spring

Collective agreements covering HEU members working in four First Nations communities – Skidegate, Nisga’a, Gitxsan and Stz’uminus – are set to expire on March 31, 2016. In preparation for bargaining, the union will be holding a bargaining conference in the spring where members will discuss their challenges, identify their top issues and set priorities for negotiations. Members work for community clinics in a variety of

roles including home care, counselling services, addiction services, nursing, dental, seniors’ care, child and youth programs and others. “Our members play valuable roles in their communities delivering services and ensuring the needs of First Nations families are met,” says HEU secretary-business manager Jennifer Whiteside. “And it is not uncommon for these dedicated workers to go above and beyond the call of duty to respond to unexpected events and situations requiring support, both for people who live in their communities and those who are visiting.” The date and place for the conference will be determined in January.

CBC’s Brian Goldman takes on the tough issues in health care

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topics as racism in health care, burnout for health care workrey’s Anatomy, House, Code Black, The Mindy Project… ers and whistleblowing. why are television dramas about medical culture so Checking out his website, it’s clear Goldman is on a selfpopular? described mission to confront medical errors and create a culIn one recent episode from his award-winning CBC ture of safety for patients. As a result, Goldman isn’t afraid to radio show White Coat, Black Art, Dr. Brian Goldman admit his own mistakes and talk about the mistakes of others. dives into the topic of Hollywood hospitals with Canadian This is a doctor who delves into painful stories of suffering actor Eric Johnson, who plays Dr. Everett Gallinger in HBO’s and loss, often interviewing the families of patients. He freely The Knick. admits that patients do fall through the cracks in the health care Johnson confesses that his biggest fear playing a surgeon system, sometimes with was that he would look like devastating results. a fraud. So he practised It’s extremely refreshing sutures for weeks to take on to hear a doctor, often one the role. of society’s most elevatGoldman’s response is the ed authority figures, talk rare admittance that doctors openly about medicine as don’t know everything. And a “black art,” instead of an he candidly concedes that undisputed science. And what doctors do is also, in for listeners, hearing about part, performance. the system from the other In the same episode, side of the gurney, helps Goldman acknowledges that to demystify the world of it took him 15 years to be medicine. able to deal adequately with Goldman’s style overall is patients who have addicto break away from traditions. He needed to learn tional journalistic reportto treat certain patients as ing and insert himself into human beings, instead of a Since 2007, CBC Radio’s “House Doctor” has embraced the narrative. At times, he stereotype. discussions around such topics as racism in health care, speaks passionately about That theme of imperfec- burnout for health care workers and whistleblowing. his personal life, including tion resonates throughout his mother’s struggle with dementia, and how it changed his Goldman’s work, making him a controversial figure for some view of patients with complex care needs. doctors. And he admits that the support of his wife is one of the key Across the CBC, Goldman is known as the “House Doctor,” ways he deals with his own stress. hosting the show since 2007. Once a week, he finds himself Goldman is also the author of The Night Shift, Real Life in the without his white coat in the emergency room at Mount Sinai Heart of the ER, which takes readers to the frontline of emerHospital in Toronto, and instead behind the mic at CBC Radio. gency medicine and offers them a compelling inside view into an White Coat, Black Art is recommended listening for anyone often secret world. His TED talk, “Doctors Make Mistakes. Can who cares about the medical system because it delves into all the We Talk About That?” has been watched by over a million people. messy parts of health care. Goldman strikes a chord with our desire to understand the Health care isn’t perfect, says Goldman, and that’s why we role of health care in life, death and hopefully healing. need to talk about it. To hear White Coat, Black Art tune into CBC Radio One on Goldman doesn’t shy away from the hard topics. Over the Sunday at 6:30 p.m., or download the podcast. years, his program has embraced discussions around such

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EQUITY MATTERS RETIREMENTS Twenty-five year HEU member Barbara Merrifield (Kiwanis Village Lodge) retired in October. “I enjoyed my work as a care aide at Kiwanis and MERRIFIELD will miss my co-workers and the residents,” says Barbara. “It was a very rewarding job.” Her retirement plans include golfing, swimming, hiking, gardening and spending time with family – especially her children and great-grandchildren. She also looks forward to travelling and visiting people far from her home. Enjoy your retirement, Barbara! Care aide Aleli Garcia (Holy Family) retired in August after working nearly 27 years at her facility. She has mixed emotions about GARCIA retiring because she will definitely miss the company of her coworkers and the residents. Aleli plans to travel to see her daughter in Dubai, her son in the Philippines, and visit her husband’s grave in Dublin. She says this time of her life is “payback time,” so she plans to spend time with her grandchildren and continue her involvement with two seniors’ groups. Have a

great retirement, Aleli! After working as serving staff for Amica at Arbutus Manor for 27 years, Kathy Shuen retired in November. As a retiree, she plans to enjoy the company of friends, take a painting class, and continue zumba classes. Next year, she hopes to travel to Japan. “I am so grateful to have worked with such a SHUEN wonderful group of people,” says Kathy. “My colleagues are so caring and get along so well together. I will really miss my union brothers and sisters. I have truly enjoyed my work at Arbutus Manor.” Happy retirement, Kathy!

IN MEMORIAM Long-time activist Yvonne Greig passed away peacefully at the age of 79 in her New Westminster home on September 24. Yvonne was a program secretary booking clerk at Children’s Hospital, and she served as local secretary for the former GREIG Children’s local and then the C&W local, in addition to serving as a shop steward. She retired in 2001. “She was a very dedicated activist while working at

HEU BURSARY RECIPIENTS Each academic year, a number of HEU bursaries – sponsored by locals and the union’s Provincial Executive (P.E.) – are available for members, their children, stepchildren and legal guardians, and spouses, including common-law and samesex partners, who need financial assistance and demonstrate satisfactory academic standing. The bursaries, which range from $350 to $1,000, can support courses at any post-secondary educational institution, and are administered by a bursary committee. Here are the 2015-2016 recipients and their sponsoring locals: Receiving $350 bursaries: Michael Trinidad (Victoria General), Theresa Kleij (UBC local), Carly Roberts (Royal Columbian – Bill Black), Adrian Cheng (Royal Columbian – John Darby). Receiving $500 bursaries: Navdeep Toor (Maple Ridge – Tara Hansen Memorial), Pamela Mae (Prince George), Juan Camilo Rodriguez (Vancouver General), Kayla Hickl (PHSA Amalgamated – Cathy Peters Memorial), Carla Vidal (Vancouver General), Courtney Winkel (People with disAbilities Committee – Cathy Peters Memorial), Chin Te (Richmond), Alyshia Coleman (P.E.), Shawna Sabourin (Burnaby), Chelsea Mercado (P.E. – Alex Patterson), Jamie Christie (Royal Jubilee), Haley Friesen (George Derby), Robyn Putnam-McLean (St. Paul’s – Robert Standell), Lorraine Abastilla (P.E. – Ginger Goodwin). Receiving $1,000 bursaries: Joshua Calica (Surrey and P.E. – Edward James Ashmore Memorial), Tony Gouveia (P.E. – Ray McCready Memorial), Sarah Caranto (Surrey – Iris Andrews Memorial).

B.C. Children’s Hospital,” says former colleague Lynne Taylor. “And even after she retired, Yvonne was there for us on our protest lines when the Liberals tore up our contract.” She loved to knit, sew, take photos of her family and was a great storyteller, who shared her life stories with others. She was also the beloved matriarch of her family. Yvonne’s family, friends and former colleagues deeply mourn her loss. HEU care aide Belinda Purnell passed away suddenly on October 21. An HEU member since 2007, she worked in Victoria at Sunset Lodge, Aberdeen Hospital and most recently, at Priory Hospital. Left to mourn are her family and co-workers, and the residents. William (Bill) Sagle passed away unexpectedly in his home in Victoria on October 15. Bill worked as a cleaner for Marquise at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Victoria since 2013. He was a former resident of Penetaguishene, Ontario. He will be sadly missed by his family, friends and union sisters and brothers.

THE GUARDIAN WANTS TO HEAR FROM YOU! Letters, retirements and comments are all welcome. Simply drop us an email at: guardian@heu.org. We look forward to hearing from you.

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ETHNIC DIVERSITY One union, many colours! Working across our differences! To participate, please call and leave us your name!

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FIRST NATIONS First Nations members would like to hear from you! Please call if you would like to help educate our union sisters and brothers on issues that affect First Nations People.

pinktriangle@heu.org

PINK TRIANGLE For support: afraid of being identified, feeling isolated, want to know your rights? Call for information on same-sex benefits, fighting homophobia and discrimination.

pwd@heu.org

PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES If you are on WCB, LTD, or if invisibly or visibly disabled in the workplace, let us know how the union can better meet your needs.

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WOMEN’S The HEU Women’s Standing Committee works with women’s groups, coalitions and other union committees to advance women’s social and economic rights. Want to get involved?

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“In humble dedication to all those who toil to live.” EDI TO R

Mike Old M ANAGI N G   ED I T OR

Patty Gibson

ASSO CI AT E  ED I T OR

Brenda Whitehall

DESKTO P P ROD U CT I ON

Elaine Happer

DESI GN C ONS U LT A T I ON

Kris Klaasen, Working Design PRI NTI NG

Mitchell Press The Guardian is published on behalf of the Provincial Exec­utive of the Hospital Employ­ees’ Union, under the direction of the following editorial committee: Victor Elkins, Jennifer Whiteside, Donisa Bernardo, Carolyn Unsworth, Barb Nederpel, Ken Robinson, Kelly Knox PROVINCIAL EXECUTIVE

Victor Elkins President Jennifer Whiteside Secretary-Business Manager Donisa Bernardo Financial Secretary Carolyn Unsworth 1st Vice-President Barb Nederpel 2nd Vice-President Ken Robinson 3rd Vice-President Kelly Knox Senior Trustee Jim Calvin Trustee Betty Valenzuela Trustee Debbie Dyer Regional Vice-President Fraser Jodi George Regional Vice-President Fraser Shelley Bridge Regional Vice-President Interior Jody Berg Regional Vice-President Interior

Dawn Thurston Regional Vice-President Interior Louella Vincent Regional Vice-President Vancouver Coastal John Fraser Regional Vice-President Vancouver Coastal Leonora Calingasan Regional Vice-President Vancouver Coastal Mike Cartwright Regional Vice-President North Sarah Thom Regional Vice-President North Bill McMullan Regional Vice-President Vancouver Island Barb Biley Regional Vice-President Vancouver Island Talitha Dekker First Alternate Provincial Executive UNION OFFICES

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TELL THE PRIME MINISTER IT’S TIME TO RENEW PUBLIC HEALTH CARE. Ottawa and the provinces will negotiate a new federal health agreement in 2016.

FALL/WINTER 2015 • VOLUME 33 NUMBER 3 • THE VOICE OF THE HOSPITAL EMPLOYEES’ UNION

We need to reverse the cuts, enforce national standards and invest in seniors’ care.

SEND A MESSAGE. Visit saveourhealthcarebc.ca/renewhealthcare AGREEMENT NUMBER 40007486

RETURN TO The Guardian 5000 North Fraser Way Burnaby, B.C. V5J 5M3

Making our workplaces safer

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Violence is not part organized of the job. In 1944, hospital workers B.C.’s first united health care union. Those early strugglesReport helped define today’s HEU. it. p8

Profile for Hospital Employees' Union

HEU Guardian Winter 2015  

Hospital Employees' Union - Guardian. Winter 2015 edition

HEU Guardian Winter 2015  

Hospital Employees' Union - Guardian. Winter 2015 edition

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