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FALL/WINTER 2014 • VOLUME 32 NUMBER 3 • THE VOICE OF THE HOSPITAL EMPLOYEES’ UNION

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AGREEMENT NUMBER 40007486

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

OUR FIGHT FOR FAIRNESS

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In this third and final installment of HEU’s 70-year history, we chronicle how the union navigated political change, health care reform and privatization.


FIRST P AGE REP ORT FALL/WINTER 2014

A year of activism. 2014

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COMMENT

There’s much to be done in 2015 As this issue of the Guardian goes to press, my tenure as your secretary-business manager is drawing to a close, and the recruitment process for my successor is underway. Reflecting on my many years working for HEU members, in BONNIE PEARSON a variety of positions, I’m aware of how much change we have had to manage in the workplace, at the bargaining table, and in our union. I have had the privilege to see how our union has risen to the challenges over the years. It’s to our credit that throughout so many struggles in both our distant and recent past, we have never lost sight of our main goals. Improving the working lives of our members, protecting the public health care system, and building a more humane society remain central to who we are. Coming out of our 29th biennial convention, and the recent B.C. Federation of Labour convention, where so many HEU members spoke passionately about the things that matter most to them, it’s clear to me that the activism that has shaped HEU from its earliest beginnings, continues to be a hallmark of our union. It’s also clear to me that HEU members are looking to the future. The legal and political environment in which we work is always evolving. If we are to remain strong and resilient, we must evolve as well. We need to continue to move our union forward at all levels, and in the process make the changes that will keep us nimble and effective. Now that new agreements have been settled for the vast majority of HEU members in both our public and private sectors, we have a window of opportunity to focus on other top priorities. First and foremost, we must work on strengthening unity across B.C.’s private and public sector unions. This is not only key to achieving fair gains at the bargaining table, unions need to come together to mobilize public opinion on important issues like privatization, fair taxation, and strong public services.

A thank you to Brother Sinclair In our union family, the Hospital Employees’ Union, if ever anyone is looking for a friend in the truest sense of the word, that person is Brother Jim Sinclair. And I say that from the bottom of my heart. Rarely do I call a man a “jewel”. Brother Jim, you are one exception. A good diamond is judged by the 4Cs – colour, cut, clarity and carat weight. Here are your exceptional Cs. COURAGE You’re a champion. You are Labour’s David. You are not afraid to take on the government and our employers to defend workers’ rights, union and non-union. COMMITMENT Your commitment is selfless. You are guided not by what you are expecting to receive, but by what you are willing to give, which is everything of yourself. COMPASSION Your compassion comes from within your heart and soul. You are a kind person and have dedicated much of your life to fighting for social justice. The world

Second, HEU must step up our engagement and mobilization of members. Our members are our strength, and we need to create new ways to involve all our members in the activities of the union by providing opportunities for the exchange of opinions, ideas and solutions. Third, it’s time to take a strategic approach to enforcing our negotiated contract provisions. That means launching workplace campaigns that involve members, stewards, local leaders and union staff in the business of holding employers to account. We have strong language in our It’s clear to me that the contracts. It’s time to make sure we use that activism that has shaped HEU language to improve from its earliest beginnings, working conditions on continues to be a hallmark of the ground. Fourth, we need to our union. power up our enforcement of occupational health and safety regulations. The best way to make sure we have safer work sites is by engaging members at the grassroots, picking our targets and organizing members around specific health and safety fights. And just as importantly, let’s not forget about our collective strength at the ballot box. We need to use our union power to bolster our democracy at every political level. In 2015, we need to marshal our forces to help take back our country from the Harper Conservatives. There’s much to be done in 2015. But if there’s one thing I know, HEU members are up to the task. Happy New Year, everyone!

would be a much more peaceful place if you were the general manager of the universe. CLASS Whatever you do in the labour movement, you always do it with class. If you were a painting by Michelangelo or Van Gogh or Renoir, in you, God created a masterpiece. My three-year-old granddaughter has asked me many times “what is a union activist?” And I can’t explain. Next time she asks the question, I will simply say “Jim Sinclair”. You are an inspiration to us all. We will miss you. I can’t thank you enough Brother Jim for all the difference you have made in our lives. Thank you, thank you, and thank you. BETTY VALENZUELA

Vancouver General Hospital local Editor’s Note: Sister Valenzuela submitted this letter to the Guardian, which is the written version of her tribute to Sinclair following his final speech to HEU delegates at the union’s 29th biennial convention.

ON THE COVER: In the summer of 1991, HEU members gathered in Victoria to protest the policies of the scandal-ridden Social Credit government of the day. Months later, the Socreds were thrown out of office and an NDP government, led by Mike Harcourt, was elected. Within a year, the union secured a landmark pay equity agreement for its members.

Typhoon Haiyan one year later In November 2013, Typhoon Haiyan (known as Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines) tore through the Philippines, killing thousands of people and destroying entire villages. It was the most destructive cyclone in history. One year later, many victims of the catastrophe are still displaced from their homes, grieving the loss of their loved ones, and trying to put their lives back together. On November 14, the Philippine Consulate General in Vancouver hosted a reception to thank Canadians, the government, and community and labour organizations for their “leadership, outstanding generosity and quick action... in the aftermath of super Typhoon Haiyan.” Co-organized by the Canadian Red Cross, attendees (which included HEU president Victor Elkins, as well as HEU members and staff) were given a briefing on how their contributions have helped relief efforts in the Philippines. HEU was among those who immediately joined international relief efforts, donating $25,000 to Oxfam Canada. Oxfam’s teams were deployed to the Philippines, where their priorities were providing clean water, safe sanitation, and shelter. HEU staff also collected $2,500 and six boxes of supplies that were shipped to Tacloban, Ormoc, Bohol and Iloilo, cities that were deeply affected by the disaster.


HEU members mobilize in Courtenay and Campbell River to protect public health care • 5 

29th biennial convention tackles union business, elects new Provincial Executive • 8 Why Brian Day’s Medicare challenge must be defeated • 10 B.C. Fed launches campaign to promote fair taxes and defend services • 13 Award-winning film portrays gay solidarity during historic miners’ strike in UK • 14

Care staff under pressure, at risk, in efforts to provide quality seniors’ care It’s been four years since B.C.’s Ombudsperson investigated the state of seniors’ care in B.C. and subsequently called for higher staffing in long-term care homes. Amazingly, little has changed on the ground since then.

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Viewpoints Research poll, enough time to do the job – they’re at commissioned by the risk,” says Pearson. Hospital Employees’ Care aides have the highest injury Union, confirms that rates in health care, she says, and chronmany long-term care ic short-staffing is only making the situhomes do not have sufation worse. ficient staff on shift to Of those polled, more than half ensure safe, quality care. have been injured on the job at least And it backs up anecdotal informaonce, and more than 80 per cent have tion received by the union through its been subjected to violence. Time to Care cam“Clearly, there are paign, where 80 care not enough people aides and commu- More than half of care on staff in most facilnity support work- staff surveyed say they do ities to provide safe, ers tracked staffing compassionate care levels over a single not have enough time in a to our frail elderly, rotation and report- typical shift to adequately or to ensure our ed their concerns to members have a safe the union. meet the needs of seniors working environOf those care ment,” says Pearson. in their care. staff surveyed by “Government Viewpoints this fall, more than half and its health authorities have a Polling data suggests many of our frail elderly – including those in varying say they do not have enough time in responsibility to come to grips with stages of dementia – do not receive the attention they need, when they need it. a typical shift to adequately meet the the serious impact of short-staffing One third of care aides polled report improve care. needs of those in their care. on both workers and residents,” she that the standard of care in their facility “The feedback we’ve received from Nearly three-quarters say they are says. is getting worse, not better. Only 21 per care aides will inform our action plan forced to rush seniors through basic “They cannot continue to scrimp cent say standards are rising. to address short-staffing and improve care routines. on staffing in long-term care at the Care aides also identified more staff seniors’ care,” says Pearson. More than 70 per cent say they don’t expense of seniors and the people as the single most effective way to have the time they need to provide who care for them.” PATTY GIBSON comfort or reassurance when someone is confused, agitated or afraid. And about the same number are concerned that their residents do not receive enough attention or stimulation. “These results are alarming by anyone’s standards,” says HEU secretarybusiness manager Bonnie Pearson. In her first public report since being appointed to the and lack of staff and food quality were most often cited “This is not the kind of care any of us as reasons for dissatisfaction,” reported Mackenzie. position of B.C.’s Seniors Advocate last spring, Isobel would want for our loved ones or for Mackenzie has pointed to concerns regarding the overourselves.” She also raised concerns that best practices in the all quality of care, and in particular, proper dementia She says the sad reality behind polling provision of dementia care were not in place throughcare in the province’s residential care homes. data suggests many of our frail elderly out all facilities, citing staff training and the appropri– including those in varying stages of ate complement of staff as two areas requiring greater Her report was delivered at an October press conferdementia – do not receive the attention attention. ence where HEU, along with other stakeholders, heard they need, when they need it. the Advocate’s key findings during her first six months HEU met with Mackenzie in September to share the Personal interaction is too often limin office. union’s perspective on the impact of chronic staffing ited, and the emotional needs of resishortages and other concerns. “Seniors and family members shared stories of their dents short-changed.

B.C.’s Seniors Advocate underscores short staffing concerns in residential care

“And when staff are rushed off their feet doing their best to meet all their residents’ needs – without being given

experiences with residential care that ran the gamut from ‘exceptional’ to ‘appalling’. The care and compassion of staff was the most cited reason for satisfaction,

Along with other organizations, HEU was among those who pressed government to establish a Seniors Advocate. F A L L / W I N T E R

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Welcome new members to the Hospital Employees’ Union This fall, close to 500 health care workers made HEU their union of choice. In September, about 140 care staff employed by Kolbina Care at Brocklehurst Gemstone in Kamloops voted to join the union. A month later, more than 40 care and support workers at Terraces on

Billionaires vs equality In Canada and around the globe, the gap between the rich and the poor continues to grow at a rapid rate. Here are a few facts about the world’s billionaires taken from Hennessey’s Index at www.policyalternatives.ca • There is one billionaire for every three million people in the world. • In 2014, the total number of billionaires in the world was 2,325 – a seven per cent increase over last year and an all-time record high. • The combined worth of the world’s billionaires in 2014 was $7.3 trillion (U.S.), up 12 per cent from 2013. That’s higher than the market capitalization of all the companies included in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. • Twenty-five per cent of the world’s billionaires live in the United States. It’s the country with the most billionaires – 571 of them. • In 2014, there were 38 billionaires in Canada. Their combined wealth is $105 billion (U.S.) • Toronto is the only city in Canada to rank among the top 10 cities for billionaires in North America. With 103 living in New York, it remains the top city for the world’s billionaires.

7th in Vancouver joined HEU. And on October 30, about 180 care and support staff employed by Baptist Housing at a new Victoria facility, The Heights at Mount View, chose HEU to represent them. The Heights opened in November and replaced two former residential care homes in Victoria – Central

Care and Mount Edwards Court. In November, HEU welcomed back about 120 care and support staff employed by CareCorp at New Horizons in Campbell River. New Horizons members had been contracted out by Park Place in 2013, which was vigorously opposed by workers and the community.

Safety procedures for Ebola

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uring any contagious disease outbreak, employers must apply what is known as “the precautionary principle” when it comes to potential exposure for workers. That means reasonable steps must be taken to reduce any danger in the work site, despite uncertainty that the virus may spread. The Ebola virus has claimed close to 10,000 lives in the past year, with no proven treatment yet available. The arrival of Ebola in the U.S. in August, made it clear that increased levels of pre-cautions for hospitals were needed to protect workers against the virus. With no confirmed cases in Canada, the risk of an outbreak in B.C. is low, but if an outbreak were to occur here, HEU members could be exposed. The B.C. government has created a task force to ensure best practices are put in place across all health authorities. At this time, two hospital sites are designated to treat confirmed Ebola cases. They are Surrey Memorial, and for children, the B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver. WorkSafeBC identifies several employer responsibilities to protect you during an infectious disease epidemic. Your employer must develop an overall plan and inform workers about how they may be exposed. In addition, your employer is responsible for education, training and supervision regarding safe procedures, including the proper use of

personal protective equipment. ignated groups of workers who would Ninety-five percent of patients who make up a care team for suspected or become infected with Ebola show infected Ebola patients. All health care symptoms in two to 21 days. Most workers, including those employed by experience symptoms within 10 days. contractors, who enter a patient’s room Humans are not infectious until they will be documented, kept to a minidevelop symptoms. The presence of the mum, and must be trained in proper virus can only be confirmed through protective procedures and equipment. laboratory testing. Patients with symptoms could show Health care workers are most at up at any health care site. People who risk of coming into contact with are identified as having traveled within infected patients’ blood, bodily fluids 21 days to Ebola-affected areas, and or airborne contamiwho present symptoms nates (i.e. mucus from (fever, malaise, headache, sneezing and coughing) If you are vomiting and diarrhoea) before prevention meamust be directed to triassigned to the sures are put into place. age and isolation. Infected That’s why employers care of an Ebola patients should wear a must establish screening mask and be isolated to a and training procedures patient, you must single room with a dedicatnow. In addition, staff in be adequately ed toilet and closed door. high risk situations must If you are assigned to be educated about how protected and the care of a suspected or to fully cover their bodconfirmed Ebola patient, trained. ies, with no skin exposed. you must be adequately The type of protective equipment a protected and trained. If you think it’s health care worker wears is determined unsafe to work, stop the assignment by the risk of transmission. High con- and notify your supervisor or mantact risk requires full bodysuits, long ager. Tell them you are exercising your fully impervious gowns, hoods, boo- right to refuse unsafe work according ties, face shields, double gloves, and to WCB regulations. Every worker has surgical masks. There should also be a the right and obligation to refuse to protocol for a staff buddy system when perform work, do a task or use equipworkers are putting on and removing ment they believe could cause illness or protective equipment to ensure no injury to themselves or others. self-contamination. You should also contact your OH&S The government is recommending steward, or shop steward, for assistance that targeted training in personal pro- and for followup, so the union is aware tective equipment focus on small, des- of the issue. CAELIE FRAMPTON

• There are 286 female billionaires in the world. • About 11 per cent of the world’s male billionaires and 35 per cent of the world’s female billionaires are not married. • The average billionaire is 63 years old. Almost half of the world’s billionaires are over the age of 65. • 51.9 per cent of the world’s billionaires engage in philanthropy.

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Pregnancy leave ruling a victory for working moms

In November, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously ruled that denying birth mothers the right to receive parental leave in addition to pregnancy leave violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Their decision stemmed from a discrimination suit filed by the BC Teachers’ Federation citing that “the two forms of leave serve different purposes.” The grievance arose three years ago when the Surrey School District denied parental leave requests for teachers who had already received

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pregnancy benefits. The union argued that all parents are entitled to parental benefits, including birth mothers. “This victory… is not just for teachers,” said BC Teachers’ Federation president Jim Iker. “This is a victory for all working women who are pregnant or may become pregnant in the future… [We] are very happy about this decision, which recognizes the health effects of pregnancy and affirms equality rights for women.”

Ottawa to work with thalidomide victims

On December 1, Canada’s House of Commons unanimously passed

a motion, proposed by the New Democratic Party, to provide long overdue compensation to the victims of thalidomide. More than 50 years ago, thalidomide was prescribed to pregnant women suffering from morning sickness. On the Canadian market since 1959, but licensed by Health Canada in 1961, the drug caused severe birth defects and high rates of infant mortality. Malformations included absent and atrophied limbs, deformed hands with missing fingers, cleft palate, deafness, blindness, and many other atrocities. Despite other countries banning the drug and issuing warnings about the


Hundreds reject Harper’s health care plan

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worker for nearly 30 years, Matthews or the second October has seen firsthand what happens when in a row, HEU members governments withdraw support for and allies for Canada’s health care. public health care system From her perspective, privatization mounted a major public in long-term care has resulted in high awareness campaign on staff turnover, lack of the northern training for new staff, half of Vancouver Island. and reduced compenThe message was simple. sation for those delivPrime Minister Stephen ering the care, creatHarper’s government is ing chaos for workers making $5 billion in cuts to and residents alike. health care in our province “Just look at what by cancelling the decadehappened at New long national Health Accord Horizons where the – and B.C.’s Conservative private owner conMPs did nothing to stop it. tracted out all the staff From setting up events and wages were lowto canvassing the public, ered,” says Matthews. HEU members reached “Those workers were 9,000-plus households Standing-room like family members from Parksville to Port only town halls in to the seniors.” McNeil. With deep federal In Campbell River, Campbell River cuts to health care on Yucalta Lodge’s Donna their way, Matthews Matthews helped organize and Courtenay fears privatization the standing-room only will only accelerate. town hall that featured featured Council “I’m worried that Council of Canadians of Canadians chair if there is more privachairperson Maude Barlow. tization, people will As a care aide and activity Maude Barlow.

CUPE National president Paul Moist (right) sends strong message to Courtenay meeting that Canadians must stand strong to protect public health care.

not be able to afford care for their loved ones, as the rates for seniors’ care would go up and the care will suffer.” St. Joseph’s General Hospital unit clerk Alena Sather also took time from her job to pitch in on HEU’s campaign. Like Matthews, she’s also worried about the impending federal cuts. “I’m concerned that most people

Violence against women on the rise A recent study on violence against women, conducted by the Canadian Labour Congress and the University of Western Ontario, revealed that a staggering number of the 8,000 respondents, including HEU members, had experienced domestic violence. Over half (53.5 per cent) of the participants, who experience domestic violence, report that at least one type of abusive act happened at, or near, the workplace. More than 40 per cent said they discussed the incidents with a co-worker. And almost 10 per cent reported losing their jobs because of domestic violence. That’s why women’s groups, human rights activists, and community supporters continue to lobby governments to address the issue of violence against women and girls. As Canadians commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Montréal Massacre on December 6, when 14 young women were murdered at École Polytechnique de Montréal because of their gender, activists across the country took part in rallies and ceremonies to remember

devastating side-effects, thalidomide wasn’t taken off the Canadian market for several months. By then, tremendous damage had already been done. It’s estimated that approximately 20,000 babies were born worldwide with thalidomiderelated deformities and illnesses. Today, there are less than 100 Canadian thalidomide survivors. Many are no longer able to work, and are suffering from debilitating spinal, joint and muscle pain; arthritis and poverty. In 1991, the Canadian government gave modest, one-time compensation payments to the families, on a

the victims, voice their concerns about funding cuts to women’s services, and demand concrete action to make women safer. Here in B.C., the tragic and ongoing situation of missing and murdered Aboriginal women has been in the spotlight for years. HEU is one of many organizations to support the ongoing call for action and to demand a national public inquiry. In 2013, the RCMP launched a formal investigation. Their stats show 1,017 homicides and 164 missing Aboriginal females, totalling 1,181. From 1980 to 2012, the RCMP reported 120 unsolved murders of Aboriginal women in Canada. But those numbers still don’t reflect all of the missing Aboriginal women and girls who have gone unreported. And a recent BC NDP report reveals that domestic violence is on the rise in this province, with 18 domestic homicides in 2014, triple from the previous year. B.C. currently has the highest domestic violence rates in seven years.

case-by-case basis, but the amounts were inconsistent, and recipients had to sign a gag order to receive their money. The Thalidomide Victims Association of Canada is demanding the government take responsibility – like Britain and Germany – and provide life-long financial support and health services for victims of thalidomide. NDP health critic Libby Davies issued a statement, “For over 50 years, Canadian victims of thalidomide, and their families, have dealt with severe side effects, pain, and hardship – suffering that has mostly

been invisible to Canadian society. It is time that this changed. “We have tabled a motion calling on the government to provide the victims with the support they need as they continue to deal with the tragic consequences of using this drug.” Under tremendous media attention and public pressure, Health Minister Rona Ambrose agreed to meet with thalidomide survivors in Ottawa to hear their stories. In a news conference, Ambrose said, “This was an unbelievably, incredibly tragic event and while it happened in the 60s, it reminds me – as health minister – of why

don’t know what the federal government is planning – by getting rid of the Health Accord and chopping health care funding,” says Sather. “I have young kids, so basically looking at what it costs for health care, if the government privatizes it, how can people afford something as simple as treating a broken arm?” For Sather, privatization isn’t a far off distant reality. It happens in the Comox Valley right now, and she has seen how it undermines the public system. During her six years working in the hospital’s emergency room, she saw patients who underwent surgery at a nearby for-profit clinic show up at St. Joseph’s for medical followup. As Sather sees it, this allows the private clinic to profit from the expensive procedures they charge for, while leaving the public system to shoulder the costs that arise from ongoing care for patients. With a federal election a certainty in 2015, HEU will continue to mobilize members and the public in defense of public health care. For more information about HEU’s campaign, please join our Facebook page at <www.facebook.com/save ourhealthcarebc>. NEIL MONCKTON

we have to be so incredibly vigilant about drug safety and the drug approval process.” Ambrose has not yet released details on timelines or compensation amounts.

Progressive voters elect labour-endorsed candidates

There was a lot to cheer about on B.C.’s municipal election night for progressive voters on November 15. By the time ballots were tallied, nearly two-thirds of labour-endorsed candidates had won seats on school boards, local councils and regional boards across the province. And continued on page 6

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Labour must defend all working people

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net and driving down workers’ wages. s unionized workers, we If we are to stop the race to the are fortunate to be part of bottom or combat homelessness, pova broad labour movement erty, and all the other social problems that reaches far beyond our we are dealing with – we need a individual workplaces or labour movement that not only stands the sector we work in – together for our own interests, but whether public or private. for the interests of all working peoThrough our membership in a ple. And that includes non-unionized union, we have the ability to challenge workers as well as the unemployed. unfair treatment, negotiate our wages Solidarity within the trade union and benefits, and protect our rights to movement must be more than a song a safe workplace. we sing. It must be what binds us Most importantly, we are not isotogether and builds the power we lated. We have the backing of a union. need to fight injustice And when needed, in our workplaces and we have the backing in our society. of a movement. At the same time, we It’s easy to take must recognize that we that for granted. have a clear responsiIt’s easy to forget bility, as a movement, that the majority of to use our union workers here in B.C. power for the greater and across Canada good. This should not are on their own be a subject for debate. when they come up When you think about against an unscruit, really, there is no pulous boss. other way. Since 2002, our When I first heard employment stanDonisa Bernardo Brother Jim Sinclair dards have been HEU Financial Secretary was stepping down as weakened to such president of the B.C. an extent that nonunion workers have We have a responsibility, Federation of Labour, I have to say I expealmost no ability to as a movement, to use rienced a moment of deal with mistreatreal sadness. He’s been ment, unfair fir- our union power for a great friend to HEU, ings, harassment, the greater good. This to all working people, bullying, and other and to me personally. forms of employer should not be a subject However, listening intimidation. to his final speeches at This is particu- for debate. both HEU’s biennial larly true for young convention and the B.C. Fed convenworkers, immigrant workers, tempotion, I was moved not so much by his rary foreign workers, and for those departure, but by seeing him in action who may be returning to the work– as passionate and determined as force after a long absence. ever to champion a labour movement It’s also important to remember that represents all working people, that all workers – union and nonnot only those with a union card. union – are affected by the policies Thank you, Jim, for reminding us of right-wing governments that are of this every day you were on the job. steadily unravelling our social safety

PRESIDENT’S DESK

Let’s look for ways to “pay it forward” In October, HEU members united across the province during charter week to celebrate our VICTOR ELKINS 70-year legacy of advancing social, labour and human rights; advocating for fair wages and benefits, and strengthening public health care delivery. A few weeks later, HEU convention delegates re-elected me to a second term as your union’s president. I want to thank those delegates – and our membership – for continuing to put your trust in me to work on your behalf. Together, we have a tremendous job ahead of us as we uphold our commitment to improve working and caring conditions in our health and social services systems. British Columbians rely on the skilled and dedicated work of HEU members, often at their most vulnerable time, when they need medical attention or access to residential and community supports and services. As we say goodbye to 2014, it’s a perfect time to reflect on positive things. We are so inundated by negativity on the news – daily tragedies, disasFor seven days, I had to feed ters, warfare – and it’s important to acknowledge that, but I’d like to myself on $21 – that’s only take this opportunity to concentrate on gratitude, celebrate our diversity, three dollars a day. and look at ways to “pay it forward”. This autumn, I took Vancouver’s Welfare Challenge. It was my second time participating in this community initiative to raise awareness about poverty. For seven days, I had to feed myself on $21 – that’s only three dollars a day. Many of us spend that much on a morning coffee. And I recognized something interesting. Perhaps it was psychological, but normally, I don’t think about food that much. Most days, I’ll be working away and then suddenly realize, “oh, it’s three o’clock, and I haven’t had lunch. I better grab something.” But the first day I started the Welfare Challenge, I woke up hungry. I thought about food all day. I went to bed hungry. And it was like that for the entire week. I felt miserable – all I could think about was my next meal. It made me realize that experience is the daily reality for many people in our communities – and it’s their reality 24/7, 365 days a year – not just for a oneweek challenge. It also reinforced how important it is for us, as a union, and as citizens of B.C., to continue pushing for a living wage for everyone. No child in this province should go to school hungry. And no family should have to choose between eating or paying their rent. That’s why our living wage campaign and all the work being done in cities across the province are so critical to eliminating poverty and its devastating impact on children, families and our communities. In 2015, we have much to accomplish, and I look forward to working with you for positive change – including a new federal government. I wish you all a joyous new year.

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HEU played an important part in this victory. As part of its political action work, HEU collaborated with other unions and the B.C. Federation of Labour to elect progressives to local office in seven communities. Starting with co-hosting campaign workshops targeted to private and public sector union members over the spring and summer in Prince George, Courtenay and Powell River, HEU moved to mobilizing its members by email, social media, direct mail and phone calls over

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the fall in the lead up to election day. In the end, HEU’s efforts helped elect 27 of 37 trustees and councillors, with outright sweeps of almost all seats contested by labour-backed candidates in Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Prince George and Powell River. HEU also supported its own members seeking local office, resulting in the successful re-election of Colwood’s Gordie Logan and Pouce Coupe’s Andre Lavoie who were both handily reelected to their respective

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municipal councils. And in one of the most high-profile races in B.C., the union put its support squarely behind two-term Vision Vancouver councillor and former HEU communications director Geoff Meggs. Attacked by right-wing candidates for supporting his party’s continuance of a six-year-long ban on contracting out civic work in Vancouver, Councillor Meggs secured the tenth and final council seat with the help of HEU’s 6,000 members who live in the city.

Day’s constitutional challenge delayed Dr. Brian Day’s constitutional challenge, which attempts to dismantle universal public health care in Canada, has been postponed. In August, a B.C. Supreme Court judge granted a request from Day’s legal team for a six-month delay of the court trial – which had been scheduled to begin in September – in order to pursue a resolution with the defendant, the B.C. government. If no settlement is reached,

the trial is scheduled to resume in March 2015. While it’s possible that a resolution to the case could be reached before March, the BC Health Coalition is urging people to write to the government to tell them that you want restitution for patients and consequences for Dr. Day’s clinics. You can send a message here: <www.bchealthcoalition.ca/what-you-cando/send-message-bcgovernment>.


A union built to overcome tough times The 1990s were a decade of reform when HEU fought strategically to defend members’ interests. Big wins on pay equity and job security held the promise of better days ahead. But as political fortunes turned, it was clear that even the right to bargain was at risk.

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s the 1980s drew to a close, HEU members had held their own against a number of attacks on collective bargaining and cuts to health care, carried out by an increasingly scandal-ridden Social Credit government. But a difficult round of bargaining in 1989 – where health unions failed to coordinate their negotiations – left HEU members on the picket line for 17 days, with disappointing results. A frustrated membership demanded more involvement in the bargaining process. And at HEU’s 1990 convention, delegates passed resolutions to change the union’s bargaining structure and create a new strike fund, financed by a special dues increase. It was a time of renewed activism as the union readied itself for a change of government and the prospect of significant reforms to health care delivery.

A DECADE OF REFORM The Socreds’ response to reduced federal transfer payments under Prime Minister Brian Mulroney Conservatives in the 1980s had been to attack public sector wages, close hospital beds, and cut services. To their credit, the NDP government – elected in 1991 – largely absorbed the deep cuts to transfer payments made under Mulroney and later, under Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. But there would be changes. And cuts. A 1991 Royal Commission promoted a “closer to home” approach to health care, emphasizing communitybased health services and prevention. It also led to the creation of regional health boards, charged with managing services and budgets. There would also be program cuts and the controversial closure of Vancouver’s Shaughnessy Hospital. HEU responded by negotiating a groundbreaking Health Labour Accord in 1993, which led to a shorter work week, an agency to provide retraining and redeployment of displaced health care workers, and other employment security provisions.

STRIKING FOR PAY EQUITY Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, HEU was a staunch advocate for ending gender-based wage discrimination – and most of the union’s efforts on this issue had been focused on the job classification and benchmark system. But by the end of the 1980s, even with a benchmark and classification system in place, equal pay for work of equal value still did not apply across the board. That’s why “pay equity” topped HEU’s bargaining agenda in 1991.

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It was not an easy round of talks, with health employers relying on Socred legislation still on the books to stall the talks, and to prevent the union from exercising the strong strike mandate it had received from members. In April 1992, with strong support from the membership, HEU launched a series of targeted job actions, including rotating department-by-department walkouts. The actions resulted in the appointment of a conciliator whose recommendations for a settlement – including pay equity language – were ratified overwhelmingly by members. The pay equity language established a process by which HEU members received more than $500 million in pay adjustments by the end of the decade. The principle of pay equity remains one of HEU’s most important achievements, and a benchmark in our work to eliminate wage discrimination.

PARITY WITHIN HEALTH CARE Another huge win for the union in the 1992 settlement was the achievement of wage parity between hospitalbased workers, and those working in publicly run residential care facilities – who had been paid five per cent less. While it was a key victory, the job wasn’t yet complete. Many HEU members in the long-term care sector were employed by non-profit and for-profit operators covered by separate agreements at inferior wage rates. But in 1996, the NDP government passed legislation that reduced the number of bargaining units in the public health sector from dozens to just five – and by the end of the decade, the workers at funded private and non-profit long-term care facilities were covered by the new facilities collective agreement. With parity between long-term care and hospital workers in place, the union pressed for legislation that would recognize that community-based health workers deserved to be paid on the same basis as their facilities colleagues. On the eve of the 2001 election, the NDP passed legislation that would phase in parity between the community health and facilities subsectors. The union organized a large number of community social services workers in the 1990s, and in 1999 these members put their demands on the map with a high profile 12-week strike.

A MORE DIVERSE UNION At this time, HEU was also taking steps to recognize the diversity of its members. In 1996, convention delegates estab-

On April 10, 1992, more than 8,000 HEU members marched from Vancouver General and St Paul’s hospitals to back their demands at the bargaining table for pay equity.

lished HEU’s equity standing committees, giving voice to workers who had often been marginalized within the workplace and in the union. Earlier in 1991, HEU had filed a lawsuit against the Medical Services Commission, which had denied benefits to the same-sex partner of a union steward. The result was a court ruling establishing recognition of same-sex spouses for the purposes of benefits coverage. The union also won a key decision in the Supreme Court of Canada establishing the right of unions to organize First Nations health care workers. Today, the union proudly represents HEU members from four nations: Nisga’a, Gitxsan (Gitanyow, Gitwangak), Skidegate (Haida Gwaii) and Stz’uminus.

BROKEN PROMISES, BROKEN SYSTEM HEU’s successes at the bargaining table, and the Health Labour Accord in particular, became a target for the Opposition BC Liberals and their new leader Gordon Campbell, who campaigned against

the Accord in the 1996 election. But burned by his ’96 election defeat – the future premier sat down with the HEU Guardian in November 2000 and famously promised: “I am not tearing up any agreements.” That promise was broken on the last weekend of January 2002, when a new B.C. Liberal government pushed through Bill 29 – legislation that set the stage for a wholesale privatization of health care support services. Bill 29 nullified contracting-out protections that had been in the HEU contract since the late 1960s, along with a prohibition on negotiating any such measures in the future. The legislation also eliminated the employment security provisions that formed the core of the Health Labour Accord, and repealed provisions that would have led to parity for community health workers. The impact of Bill 29 on HEU members was devastating. An estimated 8,000 jobs were lost in the first five years as health authorities and long-term care operators contracted out a long list of health services. continued on page 12

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Honouring our past. Embracing our future.

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AGAINST THE BACKDROP of HEU’s 70th anniversary, From more than 630 delegates gathered at Vancouver’s the moment Hyatt Regency Hotel to honour seven decades of progress, and move the union forward. delegates streamed into Over the course of the five-day convention, delegates connected with union the opening session of HEU’s sisters and brothers from every part of 29th biennial convention, it was the province, elected a new Provincial Executive (P.E.), and tackled the busiall about remembering where ness of the union. And while convention honoured we’ve come from, celebrating many of HEU’s longest standing traditions, this year introduced a few new the best of who we are, and twists that surprised and engaged delegates and guests alike. planning for the challenges Right off the top, convention opened with a rousing rap-infused rendition of that lie ahead. HEU’s signature anthem “The Heart of Health Care” – a collaboration between veteran songstress Heidi Archibald (who wrote the original) and Vancouver hip hop artist Rup Sidhu. For the first time, HEU delegates were able to interact with each other through the union’s newly launched Facebook page. And more than 300 delegates took advantage of a special opportunity to take home an individual portrait of themselves on the front cover of the Guardian – all of which were then posted, “liked” and “shared” on Facebook. As participants were embracing modern social media tools, they were also seizing an opportunity to take a stroll through the past in HEU’s “history room”, where original records, photos, ledgers, and other union ware stretching back to 1944 were on display.

ON THE PLENARY FLOOR

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On the plenary floor, delegates carried forward HEU’s proud history of democratic decision-making as they rolled up their sleeves to consider a roster of resolutions

and proposed constitutional amendments. More than half of the registered, voting delegates were attending their first HEU convention. Most stepped up as first-time speakers to join seasoned delegates in thoughtful and often passionate discussions, ranging from workplace matters to constitutional and policy changes to broader social justice issues. A key resolution directed the incoming P.E. to develop a five-year strategic plan aimed at defending public services, regaining free collective bargaining, taking back control in the workplace, and enforcing our collective agreement rights. The plan builds on work undertaken by the Responsive Union Project following the 2012 convention, and will be presented for discussion at HEU regional meetings in 2015. Delegates also adopted resolutions directing HEU to: organize a member-to-member political action campaign in advance of the 2015 federal election; lobby government on the impact of shift work on health care workers; ensure the involvement of women and members of equity-seeking groups in all union activities; and support campaigns aimed at returning HEU work to the union. On the constitutional front, convention passed several amendments, which included enshrining First Nations sector bargaining in the constitution, and making facilities bargaining conferences less formal and restrictive. Delegates also adopted or reaffirmed policy related to the recognition of immigrant workers’ educational credentials, the rights of temporary foreign workers, increased funding for B.C.’s women’s centres, First Nations’ access to safe drinking water, and support for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women.

FUTURE PRIORITIES In her final convention address, outgoing HEU secretarybusiness manager Bonnie Pearson reflected on HEU’s democratic roots as a rank-and-file union, the union’s achievements, and the times “when we fell short of the mark.”

Meet your new Provincial Executive PRESIDENT

Victor Elkins

cardiac perfusion assistant, PHSA amalgamated An HEU member since 1990, Victor was first elected to the P.E. in 2006. Now in his second term as president, he has also served as first and second vice-president, and on several FBA bargaining committees. Victor has worked on numerous P.E. subcommittees: political action, pay equity, global justice, equal opportunities and the Pink Triangle standing committee, and has represented HEU at the B.C. Fed, the CLC and CUPE National. SECRETARY-BUSINESS MANAGER

Bonnie Pearson

Convention delegates ratified Bonnie

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as the union’s secretary-business manager. She is HEU’s top administrative staff person, main spokesperson for the union, and chief negotiator for the FBA. Bonnie has announced her plans to retire, but will continue in her position until her successor is appointed by the P.E.

FINANCIAL SECRETARY

Donisa Bernardo

pharmacy assistant, Kamloops/Thompson Donisa was first elected to the P.E. in 1998 as a regional vice-president. She is now starting her fifth term as the union’s financial secretary. She is the chair of the FBA Education Fund, co-chair of the

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B.C. Fed’s women’s committee, and a former member of CUPE National’s women’s task force. She is currently a trustee on the Municipal Pension Plan’s board.

VICE–PRESIDENTS

Carolyn Unsworth

1st vice-president care aide, Queen’s Park Carolyn joined HEU in 1983, and has served in every position on her local executive. A P.E. member since 2006, she has served as second and third vice-president and as a regional vice-president. She has worked on many P.E. subcommittees and has represented HEU on environmental committees for CUPE National and the CLC, as well as serving on the B.C. Fed’s health & safety committee.

Barb Nederpel

2nd vice-president clerk/care aide, Kamloops/Thompson First elected to the P.E. in 2012 as regional vice-president, Barb became a member of HEU in 2006 and has served on the union’s LPN advisory committee, the 2012 FBA bargaining committee, and the 2010 resolutions committee. She has served on CUPE National’s political action committee, the CUPE National/Council of Canadians Health Accord Campaign, and the B.C. Fed’s political action committee.

Ken Robinson

3rd vice-president diet technician, Kelowna amalgamated An HEU member since


convention 2014

TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS Reporting on the financial highlights of the last two years, HEU financial secretary Donisa Bernardo told delegates the union’s fiscal outlook is both healthy and secure despite recent challenges. At the same time, she reminded delegates that it was important to be prudent and continue to build on the union’s solid financial foundation “if we are to remain strong and capable of taking on whatever challenges the future may have in store. “Everything we have built together, everything we have achieved together, from our earliest years onward, took vision and guts and solidarity,” she said. “But it also took resources. And how well we manage those resources is just as key to our successes and our stability today as it was 70 years ago.” Bernardo asked delegates to recognize HEU’s responsibility not only to the current members, but also to future generations. “I truly believe that what we build today must be just as lasting for those who come after us, as what we have inherited from those who came before us.”

POLITICS MATTER On the broader political front, HEU president Victor Elkins had a strong message for delegates. Acknowledging that some members suggest the union should stay out of politics, he said, “As members of the largest, and oldest, health care union in B.C., it’s always been our responsibility to push for the changes we need to improve health care delivery. “At our work sites, we use the tools we’ve negotiated in our

1988, Ken has served seven terms on the P.E. – including president, first and third vice-president and as regional vice-president. He has also represented HEU at the B.C. Fed, the CLC and CUPE National. Ken served on the FBA bargaining committee, and HEU’s environment, anti-privatization, patient care technical, and trades and maintenance subcommittees.

TRUSTEES

Betty Valenzuela

Senior trustee-elect health records clerk, Vancouver General Betty first served on the P.E. as trustee in 2012. Long-time secretary-treasurer at her local, Betty has also served as shop steward, classification steward and trustee, and on her local’s Employee

collective agreements to make whatever positive changes we can, to better our working and caring conditions,” Elkins said, pointing out that it’s just as important to advocate for common goals that affect everyone, like affordable housing, eliminating poverty, and supporting strong public education.

SOLIDARITY GREETINGS During the week, delegates heard from several speakers throughout the labour movement, who congratulated HEU on its many campaigns and victories over the decades. CUPE National president Paul Moist and secretary-treasurer Charles Fleury both pledged continued support from Canada’s largest public sector union to defend HEU members in future struggles, and to protect public health care. Vancouver and District Labour Council president Joey Hartman brought greetings of solidarity on behalf of her members, as did CUPE BC president Mark Hancock, and Janine Brooker, president of Unifor 468-W, HEU staff’s union. In a rousing speech on day four, BC NDP leader John Horgan applauded the union and its members for its leadership in fighting privatization in health care, protecting seniors’ care, and pushing for a living wage. And to thunderous applause, he committed a future NDP government to repealing any piece of Bill 29 legislation left standing. “We will destroy it.”

Family Assistance Program. She has also participated on a number of HEU subcommittees and on CUPE National’s global justice committee.

Kelly Knox

Senior trustee ward aide, St. Paul’s Elected senior trusteeelect in 2012, Kelly will now serve as senior trustee. A labour council delegate and local grievance committee member, Kelly became an HEU member in 1986. Elected to the P.E. in 1996, he has also served as regional vice-president and trustee and is a long-time shop steward at his local. He is currently a warden and has served in various positions at his local as well as on the HEU and CUPE National pension

committees, and the CUPE National and B.C. Fed OH&S committees.

Jim Calvin

CONVENTION PHOTOS BY JOSHUA BERSON AND CAELIE FRAMPTON

The only constant over the decades is change, she said. “Change is inevitable. It can be both exhilarating and scary. However, knowing how to handle change – by both honouring the past and embracing HEU’s future – has been key to the union’s successes that I have witnessed.” With that in mind, Pearson urged delegates to grab hold of the opportunity to focus on four key priority areas, now that contracts for the majority of HEU’s public and private sector members have been settled for the next few years. They included: strengthening unity across the private and public sector unions in B.C.; stepping up engagement and mobilization of members on the ground; putting negotiated contract provisions into full effect; and enforcing occupational health and safety regulations.

REGIONAL VICE-PRESIDENTS: FRASER

Jodi George

Trustee mental health rehabilitation assistant, Chilliwack amalgamated From 2012 to 2014, Jim served as trustee. This is his second elected term. An HEU member since 1993, he has held various local executive positions, including vicechair and chief shop steward. Jim currently serves as local chair, shop steward, trustee and grievance committee member. Jim has served on HEU’s patient care and pensions subcommittees, as well as CUPE National’s health care committee.

renal dialysis tech, Surrey This is Jodi’s second term as regional vicepresident. She became a member of HEU in 1988, and has held many positions on her local executive, including chair, treasurer, trustee, shop steward, OH&S rep, and political action committee chair. Jodi is also a labour-management committee member at her local and has served on HEU’s antiprivatization and political action subcommittees.

Debbie Dyer

unit clerk, Royal Columbian Debbie, who joined continued on page 10

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In a compelling keynote speech to HEU’s convention, Canadian Doctors for Medicare chair, Dr. Monika Dutt, spelled out the extreme threat Day’s court case represents to public health care as we know it.

Why Brian Day’s Medicare challenge must be defeated Day) revealed that in roughly a 30-day period, the clinics overbilled patients $491,654 with $66,734 of overlapping Health care workers have a unique and claims – meaning that both the patient important role in the fight to preserve and the government paid for a service. and improve equitable, publicly funded Day was issued a warning: stop health care. overbilling or you will be penalized. We have extraordinary capacity to Instead of complying, Day decided advocate for improvements and to that the best defense was a strong offense. defend against attempts to privatize So he filed a constitutional challenge, health care in Canada. under the Canadian Charter of Rights One of our primary obligations is and Freedoms, against the B.C. health to correctly identify where the biggest care laws that prevent extra billing. threats are coming from and then to He claims that the prohibition throw our whole selves behind the against private payment embedded effort to push back in the Medicare Protection against those threats. In Day’s world, Act violates section 7 of the As we speak, the charter, which guarantees life, fundamental basis we are no longer liberty, and security of the of our health care person, and section 15, which system is being put to patients. We are guarantees equal treatment. the test by Dr. Brian consumers. The type of health care Day’s quest to open system that Day is proposing up Canadian health care to for-profit seriously undermines the universal interests. system that Canadians support and Day opened the Cambie Surgery rely on. Corporation in Vancouver in 1996. In Day’s world, we are no longer Soon after, patients began complaining patients. We are consumers. to the B.C. government about being If health care becomes an issue of billed for medically necessary services. consumer choice, we will lose the In 2008, B.C.’s labour movement principles of universal access and equity pressed for action and compelled the that have shaped our system. Patient provincial government to enforce its care would compete for priority with own Medical Protection Act. This led to the generation of profit – this means the government auditing Day’s clinics. the patients most at risk would be the A financial audit of the Cambie ones who are least healthy, those with Surgery Corporation and the Specialist complex health issues and those who Referral Clinic (also co-owned by are challenging to serve for any reason. (The following is an abridged version of Dr. Dutt’s address to delegates.)

We see this in American hospitals that have closed psychiatric wards and trauma units because they don’t turn a profit. Two-tier care not only changes the quality of care, it changes the financial burden on patients. In the U.S., 62 per cent of all personal bankruptcies filed in 2007 resulted from medical bills. And 69 per cent of those who filed medically related bankruptcy were insured at the time of their filing. In the U.S., unions have had to negotiate contract by contract for their health benefits. Imagine having to bargain our way back to Medicare, one contract at a time. Of course, when defenders of Medicare point out how unsustainable and inequitable the American system is, Day counters with the defense that he doesn’t propose switching to an American system. He says he wants us to have a system more like Germany’s. And friends of the Cambie clinic, like the Fraser Institute, agree. What they fail to mention is that Germany spends more of their GDP on health care than Canada and, even after closing those hospital beds to curb costs, still manages to run up a $10 billion deficit every year. There is another problem with the idea of changing Canadian health care to the German system, or the French system, or the Swiss system. This isn’t Germany, France or Switzerland.

All of those countries invest more in social programs than Canada does. We can’t just cherry-pick all that is good about systems in Europe and expect the same results. Unlike other countries that may have elements of private, for-profit care, they are not next door to the U.S. It isn’t the Danish insurance companies that are clamouring to get access to our health care markets. If Brian Day wins, we’ll soon see Wall Street-traded private insurance companies knocking on our doors. Canadian Doctors for Medicare are on the front line defending health care. We have intervenor status in the Day case, jointly with the BC Health Coalition and some leading doctors in B.C. The case was to start on September 8. At the end of August, Day’s legal team requested a six-month delay of trial ostensibly to negotiate a resolution with the B.C. government. We need to make sure that any settlement between Day and the B.C. government protects patients and upholds Canadian health care law. It the parties cannot come to agreement, we will continue to defend public health care in court and work alongside you as advocates for equitable, quality and timely care. Medicare exemplifies the highest expression of Canadians caring for one another. This is a vision worth fighting for, in our health care system, and in all of our social justice efforts.

Shelley Bridge

been actively involved with her local. She is currently chair and serves as a shop steward and has been a grievance committee member. Sarah has worked tirelessly in her workplace on the campaign to have hours brought back to HEU members. Sarah also served on the resolutions committee.

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HEU in 1998, is in her first term on the P.E. She has been active in her local for the past 14 years, and is currently serving as chair. She has been a shop steward, vice-chair, grievance committee member and works on her local’s political action committee. Debbie has also served on HEU’s political action subcommittee and was an FBA bargaining committee member in 2012 and 2014.

INTERIOR

Dawn Thurston

multi-service worker, South Similkameen This is Dawn’s first elected term to the P.E. Dawn is currently chair of her local as well as a shop steward and OH&S steward. She first joined HEU in 2001, and

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has previously served on her local executive as trustee and secretarytreasurer. Dawn has worked with the essential services committee and served as her local’s strike captain.

Jody Berg

care aide, Hillside-Pioneer, Salmon Arm A first-time P.E. member, Jody has been an HEU member since 2008. For the past six years, he has served as OH&S steward, warden, conductor and shop steward at his local and is now chief shop steward and chairperson. Jody served on this year’s constitutional amendments committee and is a bargaining committee member.

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long-term care aide, Columbia View This is Shelley’s second term as regional vice-president. She joined HEU in 1991 and helped organize an HEU facility in Trail. Chair of her local for the past 21 years, she has held many positions, including chief shop steward, secretary-treasurer, treasurer and OH&S rep. Shelley has served on HEU’s resolutions and constitutional amendments committees, the care aide steering committee and on HEU’s trades and maintenance, support workers and political action subcommittees. NORTH

Sarah Thom

care aide, Fort St. John Since joining HEU in 2012, Sarah has

Mike Cartwright

power engineer, Prince George A member since 2007, this is Mike’s first term on the P.E. At his local, Mike is an active shop steward, OH&S committee member and senior trustee. He has also served as vice-chair and local grievance


convention 2014

Members honoured for activism

Louella Vincent

community support worker, WHR Lower Mainland An HEU member since 1992, Louella is serving her fifth elected term on the P.E. She has been a member of HEU’s community social services bargaining committee, and has served on HEU’s equal opportunities, political action and support workers subcommittees and HEU’s seniors’ care and living wage campaigns. Louella has also represented HEU on the B.C. Fed’s human rights

“Your union, your leaders, your activists and your members will always have a special place in my heart,” he said. “There is not a union in this country that has put up the fight you have to protect public health care.”

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VANCOUVER COASTAL

On the final day of convention, outgoing B.C. Federation of Labour president Jim Sinclair received no less than eight standing ovations for his leadership over the past 15 years, and his support for HEU during that time.

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A packed Equity Night celebration on the third day of convention, sponsored by HEU’s five equity standing committees, featured Katari Taiko drummers (right) Bhangra dancers, henna tattoos, fabulous food, door prizes and more.

committee member. Mike served on the FBA bargaining committee in 2012 and 2014, and has participated on the trades and maintenance subcommittee.

A parting gift

Sinclair also thanked HEU for fighting Bill 29 all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. “Because of you, there are now laws in Canada that say every working person has the right to join a union and bargain a collective agreement. Thank you for that.”

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Convention gavels were awarded to members at Sunridge Place in Duncan and Inglewood Care Centre in West Vancouver for their outstanding leadership in the face of layoffs and contracting out. Both groups of workers are employed by the subcontractor, CareCorp. In June 2014, Sunridge contracted out the work of about 185 HEU members, who quickly organized and recertified with HEU in an August vote. During the organizing drive, members Valonna Martin, Daphne Schertzer and Laurie Leerholm were all fired. But they were reinstated after HEU challenged the dismissals at the Labour Relations Board.

In November 2013, about 300 Inglewood workers voted to join HEU. CareCorp has broken promises to increase pay, has issued incorrect paycheques, and has failed to address staffing levels and workload. But HEU members – Jhovie Porganan, Susan Kendrick, Josephine Ramel-Marquez, Elsa Rada and Victoria Harper – are leaders among a group of HEU members that continue to fight for better treatment from CareCorp. The employer pushed for a decertification vote, and the union filed an unfair labour practice with the Labour Relations Board. HEU is currently in the submission process to support our claim. To commemorate HEU’s 70th anniversary, a special convention plaque was awarded to the Vancouver General Hospital local for its role in founding HEU. The plaque reads: “In 1944, women and men in two unions at Vancouver General Hospital united to form what is now the 46,000 member strong Hospital Employees’ Union.” Other awards were presented to Sister Ivonne Santizo (HEU Social Justice), for her strong activism for immigrant workers; Sister Maggie Phinney (HEU disAbility Rights) for her founding work in creating the union’s Blue Poppy campaign; and the late-Sister Carol Bunch (Mary LaPlante Sisterhood) for her efforts to promote women’s issues in the union, community and trade union movement.

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Congratulations to the following HEU members and locals who were honoured for their outstanding activism during the past two years.

Before leaving the podium, Sinclair presented HEU with a framed Vancouver Times front page story from July 18, 1965, which announced Ottawa’s funding for provincial medicare programs. It had hung in his office throughout his tenure as B.C. Fed president.

committee, women’s committee, and LGBT working group, and on CUPE National’s child care committee.

John Fraser

dietary aide, Powell River Health Care Workers John became a member of HEU in 2004. He was a member of the first Sodexo bargaining committee and currently serves as local chair. He has held many positions on his executive and is now in his third consecutive term as regional vice-president. John has served on HEU’s support workers, OH&S, men’s and antiprivatization subcommittees, and has represented HEU on CUPE National’s OH&S committee.

Leonora Calingasan

health care assistant, St. Vincent’s An HEU member since 1994, Leonora has been the secretarytreasurer of her local for the past eight years. This is her first term on the P.E. Leonora has served in many local executive positions, and in 2014, co-chaired HEU’s patient care subcommittee. VANCOUVER ISLAND

Bill McMullan

residential support worker, Kardel Bill is now serving a second term on the P.E. as regional vice-president. Bill became an HEU member in 2003. On his local executive, he’s currently a shop steward and senior trustee-elect. He is on

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the labour-management committee for Kardel local, and has served on his local’s OH&S committee. Bill has also served on the equal opportunities and environment P.E. subcommittees.

Barb Biley

med steno/cook, Comox An HEU member since 2001, Barb was re-elected for the second time as regional vicepresident. Barb has been a shop steward on her local for the past 10 years. A former local chair and chief shop steward, she has held various positions, including secretary, trustee and grievance committee member. Barb has also served on HEU’s anti-privatization and trades and maintenance subcommittees.

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NOTEWORTHY NEWS ABOUT ISSUES AFFECTING WORKING PEOPLE HERE AND ABROAD

Postal workers, allies file court challenge to retain home mail delivery A federal court challenge to fight the elimination of doorto-door mail delivery in Canada was filed in early November by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers and several allied organizations, including the DisAbled Women’s Network, the National Pensioners’ Federation and the Alberta Network for Mental Health. In the year since Canada Post – backed by the Harper Conservative government – announced its decision, CUPW says a massive groundswell of opposition has been steadily growing, and members have worked hard to keep the issue in the spotlight and to rally public support. The challenge is based on the principle that such a drastic decision exceeds Canada Post’s jurisdiction and should be made by the Parliament of Canada. CUPW says the announcement in December 2013 came with little or no consultation or accountability. The Notice of Application asks the court to declare that Canada Post’s elimination of mail delivery to homes is contrary to the Canada Post Corporation Act ss. 15 (1) and section 1 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as the Canadian Human Rights Act, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Canadian Postal Service Charter and Canada’s Universal Service Obligation. Learn more at <ww.cupw.ca>.

Harper’s attack on Canadian democracy

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tephen Harper. He’s been the Prime Minister for almost nine years. His party has had a majority government since May 2011. And at least one-third of Canadians, according to the latest polls, will vote for his candidates in the next election. Should Canadians be worried? You bet they should. Let’s start with Medicare. Last April, billions of dollars in cuts started to roll out across the country. For B.C., that adds up to $5 billion less for health care in the next decade. Yet, universal public health care is not the only nation-defining feature that the Conservatives are bent on dismantling. Many of our core democratic traditions are also at stake. Take the role of government when it comes to fostering an informed public. According to a recent survey, 90 per cent of federal scientists don’t feel they can speak freely about their research. Last year, a New York Times editorial called the Harper government’s restrictions on Canadian scientists “an attempt to guarantee public ignorance.” Not happy with only silencing sci-

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HEU members campaigned hard against privatization, program cuts and facility closures. The union’s leadership was even arrested for blockading the trucking of hospital laundry to Alberta. But bolstered by an overwhelming majority in the legislature, the Liberals pressed on with a legislative agenda that undermined workers’ rights and public services. In 2004 bargaining, HEU members in the facilities subsector launched a province-wide strike over government’s demands for wage cuts and further privatization. In response, government imposed back-to-work legislation that included an imposed contract with across-the board wage cuts. Union members defied Bill 37 for several days, before the strike was ended with an agreement to limit job losses. Stiff penalties were imposed on the union by the courts. It was a hard moment for union members and a controversial chapter in the union’s history that led to years of introspection and rebuilding.

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entists, the Harper government has also turned its attention to muzzling organizations that criticize its policies, particularly around climate change. Last February, the CBC revealed how the Canada Revenue Agency was auditing several environmental groups, including the David Suzuki Foundation, to make sure they weren’t using charitable donations for advocacy that exceeded federal guidelines. The audits alarmed many in philanthropic circles including Imagine Canada, the national umbrella organization for charities. “We’re concerned about what appears to be an increase in audits around political activity and, in particular, around environmental organizations,” Imagine Canada president Marcel Lauzière told the CBC. Then there is the slide in our nation’s reputation on the world stage under Harper. In 2010, Canada made a bid at the United Nations for a seat at the Security Council, but was forced to abandon the effort, leaving the seat for Portugal. Canada’s former ambassador to the UN, Paul Heinbecker, told the Globe and Mail at the time that Harper’s decisions to decrease African aid, its support of Israel, and its stance on climate change and peacekeeping were just some of the policies that put our country offside with the international community. Human rights have also suf-

BACK TO FUNDAMENTALS Within a decade, the Campbell Liberals had reversed much of the progress the union had made toward parity across the health sector and pay equity gains achieved in the 1990s. There was greater fragmentation in the management and delivery of health programs as many hospital support services were contracted out to foreign multinational corporations. In residential care, there was a shift from nonprofit to for-profit operators – which has resulted in chronic contracting out and contract-flipping, lower wages, uncertainty for workers, and poorer caring conditions for seniors. Against this backdrop, HEU embraced its pioneering traditions and launched an aggressive decadelong organizing drive that brought thousands of new and former members into the union. These members brought new energy – and the union launched a living wage campaign that connected HEU’s

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fered under the Harper government. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), RCMP, and other security agencies were authorized to use and share information secured by torture. When asked recently if Harper would reverse this policy following a damaging report by the Obama administration that condemned U.S. security services for torturing foreign nationals, the prime minister asserted our country had no role in the matter. It’s a claim that many security analysts find absurd. “It gives us a good conscience” to be able to deny participation in torture, but “it doesn’t take away the fact that we’re as guilty as them,” former CSIS intelligence officer Michel Juneau-Katsuya told the CBC in December. But it is in Ottawa where Stephen Harper has made the most profound changes to Canda’s democracy. “Parliament has been radically changed,” said iPolitics columnist and author Michael Harris in a CBC interview this past October. “What Mr. Harper has done… is make it almost dysfunctional.” For example, Harper’s use of massive omnibus bills to bury legislation attacking unions, the environment, Aboriginal rights and many other aspects of Canadian society make the business of parliament very difficult. Proposed laws can no longer be properly studied or debated by MPs, so are passed with little public debate or knowledge, and reasoned opposition. For Harris, he sums up Harper as a “profoundly anti-democratic figure.” And that’s something every Canadian should be concerned about come the next election. NEIL M ONCKTON

push for higher wages with broader community efforts to achieve economic security for working families. HEU’s fight for justice was confirmed in July 2007, when the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that key provisions of Bill 29 had violated the constitutional rights of members. The decision had wide-reaching implications for the entire labour movement as it established, for the first time, collective bargaining as a charter-protected right for all Canadian workers.

LOOKING AHEAD The Hospital Employees’ Union was built on a legacy of pride, resilience, and as a voice for change. We inherited a sense of fairness and equity from those who founded the union in 1944. As we celebrate 70 years and pass the torch forward to our next generation of HEU members, it’s a legacy we can be proud of. BRENDA WHITEHALL AND MIKE OLD


B.C. Fed launches campaign to defend public services “For decades, the right has flooded the airwaves and taken over the political podiums with its anti-tax hysteria. But Canadians are waking up to the simple truth that taxes are the price we pay for civilization, and that scrimping on taxes means scrimping on civilization.” Linda McQuaig,

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author and journalist

ife in the 21st century, as we know it, would not be possible without public services. They form the backbone of a civilized and safe society. Our taxation system – the way we pay for vital public services – is being undermined. The amount of money government collects to spend on the collective “us” is on a rapid decline. But there is a high cost attached to every tax cut that governments deliver –

a cost that hits working people hardest. For every few dollars lower- and middle-income earners may save on their income tax, they pay for it in lost or reduced services and increased user fees. So lower taxes may sound like a good idea, until you look at the crucial role taxes play in shaping the cities, province and country we live in. Tax policy is not only about taxes. It’s about values, vision and ultimately about politics. Taxes enable us to pursue our aspi-

Lanzinger and Ekman elected to top B.C. Fed posts Former BC Teachers’ Federation president Irene Lanzinger is the first woman and the first public sector union leader to be elected president of the B.C. Federation of Labour. Delegates to the 56th B.C. Fed convention in November also elected BCGEU northern regional director Aaron Ekman to succeed Lanzinger as the B.C. Fed’s secretary-treasurer. “Sister Irene is an experienced leader who will successfully articulate labour’s vision to members, government, and through the media,” says HEU secretary-business manager Bonnie Pearson. Among other business, the weeklong convention adopted two new

campaigns aimed at securing a $15 per hour minimum wage and defending public services. HEU’s delegation included more than 150 members. Many rose on the plenary floor to back these campaigns and speak to several other issues, including the need for better mental health services, support for special needs children, and the call for a national inquiry into murdered and missing Aboriginal women. The B.C. Federation of Labour represents over 500,000 members from affiliated unions across the province, working in every part of the B.C. economy.

CAELIE FRAMPTON PHOTO

At no time in modern B.C. history have corporations earned so much and contributed so little to public revenue.

rations as a society, and thereby greatly enrich our quality of life. Our taxes collectively pay for everything from health care, education, social services, fire departments and policing to highways, bridges, water and sewage systems, parks and so much more. Imagine if we all had to purchase those services individually. It’s estimated that individual Canadians use an average of $41,000 worth of public services every year. That’s $9,000 more than what the average Canadian earns in a year. Unfortunately, we are in a climate where Harper’s Conservative government and B.C.’s Liberal government have been relentless in cutting taxes, and subsequently reducing public services. A key initiative to combat the antitax mentality that is steadily eroding our public services was launched during the B.C. Federation of Labour convention in November. Its aim is to shift the public debate from one of “taxes are bad and should be cut” to an understanding that we

need a fair taxation system where corporations pay their share. In the last 10 years, B.C. companies have taken home an extra $12 billion in after-tax profit at the expense of average citizens and the public services they rely on. At no time in modern B.C. history have corporations earned so much and contributed so little to public revenue. And on the federal front, the general corporate income tax rate was slashed from 29.1 per cent in 2000 to 15 per cent in 2011. This has led to corporations having over $500 billion in cash surpluses. A strategy paper adopted by B.C. Fed delegates during convention provides a foundation for aggressively challenging the constant and repeated right-wing propaganda against taxes. It was the product of a Public Sector Summit sponsored by the B.C. Fed in March 2014, and will serve as a key document at a second Public Sector Summit planned for 2015. The campaign will work to change public perception on taxes and stop the stampede of tax cuts that have fundamentally changed Canada.

B.C.’s labour movement is up to the challenge

A The current austerity agenda is nothing more than a race to the bottom.

As a labour movement, we have a number of significant challenges ahead of us, and the attack on public services and the people who work in the public sector is at the top of the list. Regressive, anti-union governments at the provincial and federal level have spent the last decade undermining workers’ rights, dismantling job security and eliminating vital programs that the public rely on every day. The current austerity agenda is nothing more than a race to the bottom. The result is tax cuts to the wealthy, replacing funding for children, seniors and the vulnerable. Health care is one sector that is particularly hard hit. In B.C. we have been steadily underfunding health care since the election of the B.C. Liberal government. In 2001, B.C. spending on health care was $235 per person above the national average. By 2011, our spending was $164 per person less than the national average. When you consider the context – an aging population, increased demands on the system, and limited access for patients outside urban centres – this is a real crisis. Privatization, underfunding and understaffing are taking a toll

on our public health care system. No one knows this better than HEU. You continue to fight the privatization of health care, organize and re-organize health care workers, and provide remarkable care under difficult conditions. Your commitment to our health care system is commendable. The labour movement must be at the forefront of challenging the attack on the public sector. We are outspoken advocates for public services, and relentless defenders of the people who dedicate their lives to the delivery of public services. We must use all the tools in our toolbox to fight this attack. That is why the B.C. Fed is moving ahead with another Public Sector Summit in January – to ensure our efforts are coordinated and calculated. We know what is at stake for workers in B.C. As the new president of the B.C. Federation of Labour, I am excited and motivated to take on this fight, and to work with unions to ensure our collective movement stands in the way of more cuts and stands up for working people in B.C. IRENE LANZINGER • PRESIDENT, B.C. FEDERATION OF LABOUR

F A L L / W I N T E R

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HEU bursary recipients

Political Action! Chilliwack-area care aide Taren Hornsby spent November 26 at the B.C. legislature learning about the political process. Hornsby had a chance to meet a few MLAs, have lunch with Opposition health spokesperson Judy Darcy, and watch Question Period. Hornsby’s visit to the legislature was the prize in a draw among those who signed up for the union’s political action team last year.

JANUARY FEBRUARY MARCH

JANUARY 2

HEU offices open

JANUARY 21-23 Provincial Executive meeting

JANUARY 25 – FEBRUARY 20

CLC: Pacific Region Winter School

FEBRUARY

Black History Month

FEBRUARY 11-12 Independent/Private Sector Bargaining Conference

FEBRUARY 25 Pink Shirt Day

MARCH 8

International Women’s Day

MARCH 21

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

MARCH 22

World Water Day

MARCH 24-26

Provincial Executive meeting

PUBLICATIONS MAIL AGREEMENT NUMBER 40007486

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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 same-sex 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 under the P.E.’s direction. Here are the 2014-2015 recipients and their sponsoring locals:

Receiving $350 bursaries: Tayler Redman (Victoria General), Julia Bilinski (UBC), Natkamol Limapichat (Royal Columbian – Bill Black), Sydney Renning (Royal Columbian – John Darby). Receiving $500 bursaries: Tyler Ridout (Maple Ridge – Tara Hansen Memorial), Jayne Roberts (Prince George), Pasha Hossainnia (Vancouver General), Jessie Ford (PHSA Amalgamated – Cathy Peters Memorial), Faith Cheung (Vancouver General), Linda Muir (Richmond), Kristen Luttmerding (P.E.), Gurkiran Parmar (Burnaby), Shea Archibald-Lacasse (P.E. – Alex Patterson), Lindsay Cooper (Royal Jubilee), Anh (Amy) Do (St. Paul’s – Robert Standell), Patricia

Pitt (P.E. – Ginger Goodwin). Receiving $1,000 bursaries: Mariamawit Teula (Surrey and P.E. – Edward James Mary Lyn Diana addresses mayoral Ashmore Memorial), candidates forum in Vancouver Courtenay Harach pal accountability assembly (P.E. – Ray held in advance of the civic McCready Memorial), elections, on October 9. Joan Gicho (Surrey – Iris More than 800 people Andrews Memorial). attended to hear mayoral candidates speak to transit, Member promotes housing, social isolation living wage at Metro and poverty issues. All comVancouver Alliance mitted to a living wage for HEU member Mary Lyn Vancouver. Diana, a housekeeper The Alliance is a broademployed by Compass based coalition of 50 at B.C.’s Children’s and organizations from across Women’s Health Centre, Vancouver which includes shared her moving personal faith groups, commustory about the need for a nity advocates and labour living wage at the first Metro unions, including HEU. Vancouver Alliance munici-

Solidarity shines in the film Pride

I

t’s the beginning of the yearlong 1984 coalminers’ strike in Britain, under Margaret Thatcher’s rule. A young, gay rights activist named Mark Ashton (played by Ben Schnetzer) watches television and sees police beating up workers on the picket lines. Ashton has a revelation. The struggles facing the gay community are similar to the struggles facing the miners. “Who hates the miners? Thatcher. Who else? The police, the public and the tabloid press. Sounds familiar?” Ashton asks his fellow queer Londoners. It takes some convincing, given pected allies, bound together by support and friendship, can their experience of being bullied and beaten by homophobic make our movements stronger. men. Nevertheless, Ashton persuades a group of gay and lesbian As one of the miners says: “When you are in a battle, against activists to raise money for the striking workers, resulting in a an enemy so much bigger and stronger than you, to find out moving, hilarious and uplifting film, based on a true story. you had a friend you never knew existed, well that’s the best Lesbian and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) feeling in the world.” begin by gathering change in buckets on the streets Like Billy Elliott, another British film about of London and in local dance clubs. working class hardships, this movie is anchored by When the National Union of Mineworkers is Pride fantastic music. reluctant to accept their donations, the gay group Feature Film From a memorable dancing scene in a commuconvinces a remote union local in South Wales to Comedy/Drama. nity hall to the disco hit “Shame, Shame, Shame” accept the collections. to a moving rendition of “Bread and Roses”, music Available on DVD. It’s at this point, when worlds collide. lifts the balance between sorrow and comedy in Neither group is ready for the culture clash that Directed by Matthew this film. occurs when members of LGSM pile into a van to Warchus. The alliances formed between the gay groups take the cash directly to the village of Onllwyn. and unionized workers marked a turning point Written by Stephen While some in the community cannot reconcile for LGBTQ issues in the UK. Mining unions began their homophobia, in a period where the AIDS scare Beresford. to participate in pride parades, and in 1985, the is just emerging, several villagers defend the group (2014, 117 minutes) British Labour Party passed a resolution to supwho has come to support them financially. port gay and lesbian rights. Through the course of the film, each group finds something Few films have the effect of an audience breaking out into to learn from the other. applause at the end. This is one of them. The miners’ struggle ends up radicalizing the gay community The film, which also won this year’s Queer Palm Award at in the United Kingdom, and in turn LGSM creates a new level Cannes, was released on DVD in late December. of understanding about gay issues for the miners. CAELIE FRAMPTON Pride reminds us that the solidarity forged amongst unex-

G U A R D I A N • F A L L / W I N T E R

Film Review

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EQUITY MATTERS Retirements In July, admitting clerk Gay Allen (Port Alberni) retired from the out-patient booking department after 38 years of service. She also worked in O.R. booking as a nursing ALLEN unit assistant from 1997 to 2012. A tireless activist, Gay held many positions on her local executive, including chief shop steward, grievance committee, shop steward, vice-chair and chair. She was also a labour council delegate. Co-workers, management and the residents will all miss her. John Cochran (New Vista) retired in September after more than 13 years as a maintenance worker. For the past COCHRAN four years, John served on his local executive as OH&S steward. He also participated on the staff task force, which raises money and allocates donations to needy New Vista residents. He loved his years working with New Vista staff and residents. “It was a great place to work,” says John. “It was so rewarding to be able to help the residents.” In retirement, John plans to spend more time with his two daughters. He and his wife also plan to travel and enjoy life in their home in Puerto Vallarta. New Vista members and residents wish John all the best! After 34 years of service, Esther Kosick recently took early retirement from her accounts receivable clerk position at Royal Columbian Hospital. KOSICK Esther began her HEU career as a dietary aide at Burnaby Hospital in 1980, and then worked as a computer operator and cafeteria cashier. After taking some night school classes, Esther got a job in the finance department as an accounts receivable clerk and treasury cashier. She plans to do some volunteering and travel to Europe in her retirement. Best wishes, Esther! Val Nygaard (Bella Coola) is excited to retire at the end of December. She got hired at Bella Coola General

Hospital in 1985 as a relief cook and also worked as a lab aide. On her job application, NYGAARD she was asked the following question: “If given employment, how long are you willing to stay?” And Val’s response was “a number of years”! And it has been a number of years – 29! During her career, Val worked primarily as a head cook. An avid gardener, Val’s retirement plans include growing more flowers and vegetables, and completing basement renovations. Residents and coworkers wish Val a very happy retirement!

In Memoriam George Duro Gravonic (age 65) passed away on September 13 at home. After serving in the Royal Canadian Navy Medical Corps GRAVONIC for 13 years, George retired as Master Corporal Gravonic CD in 1979. George then began his second career at Victoria General Hospital, where he worked in many jobs, including food services, stores, portering, laundry and housekeeping. George was active in his local as a shop steward. Although George had hoped to travel upon retirement, illness forced him onto disability in 2007. Kind and caring, George is fondly remembered for his mischievous grin and great sense of humour. He will be missed by his faithful canine companion BooBoo, his family, friends, HEU sisters and brothers, and residents at Victoria General. After a long battle with cancer, Clifford (Cliff) Thomas Metcalfe (age 79) passed away peacefully on July 19 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Sechelt. He worked as a dietary aide at Cedarview METCALFE Lodge, took early retirement, and moved to Gibsons. He then won $500,000 in Lotto 6/49. A long-time activist, Cliff worked diligently on behalf of Cedarview’s members. He is remembered as witty and full of fun and laughter. He will be missed by his many friends, family and the

labour community. Due to diabetes-related health issues, Stephen (Steve) Morrall (age 61) passed away while in hospital in Victoria on November 5. Steve was a long-time activist, who started his HEU career in 1985 as a MORRALL maintenance supervisor at the Queen Charlotte local. From 1984 to 1986, he served on the union’s Provincial Executive as a regional vice-president and member-at-large #1. In 1986, Steve began as a rep/organizer in HEU’s Prince George regional office. In 2003, he became director at HEU’s Victoria office, where he retired in 2011. Steve is remembered as fair and supportive, and for having a great sense of humour. As Terri Griffin, the current director of HEU’s Victoria office, recalls, “Steve was a firm believer and advocate for the rights of the working class, from his days as a shop steward until his retirement as the director of HEU’s Vancouver Island regional office. And Steve was renowned for mentoring members and staff during his years with HEU.” His colleagues, friends and family all deeply mourn Steve’s loss. It is with great sadness that HEU announces the passing of Sister Carol Bunch (61) in early October. A long-time community health worker, Carol BUNCH was elected to three terms on HEU’s Provincial Executive. She was active in her mid-island local for more than 25 years – serving as chairperson and chief shop steward on her local executive – and participated on CUPE National committees as well. Carol was honoured at HEU’s recent biennial convention in November as the recipient of the Mary LaPlante Sisterhood Award, which was accepted by her husband, Graham Bunch, a retired HEU member, and Carol’s daughter. Carol overcame huge obstacles in her life, which made her a tireless, outspoken advocate for women’s rights and social justice. As a recovering alcoholic, she was fond of saying, “AA gave me a life. The union gave me a voice.” Carol is deeply missed by her family, friends, colleagues and all who worked with her.

1.800.663.5813 or 604.438.5000 Lower Mainland Ask for Equity Officer Sharryn Modder ediversity@heu.org

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

fnationspeople@heu.org

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.

women@heu.org

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?

NOTIFY US OF YOUR CHANGE OF ADDRESS

by visiting our website and filling out our online form! www.heu.org/change-address-form

“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, Bonnie Pearson, Donisa Bernardo, Carolyn Unsworth, Barb Nederpel, Ken Robinson, Kelly Knox PROVINCIAL EXECUTIVE

Victor Elkins President Bonnie Pearson 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

Provincial Office

5 000 North Fraser Way Burnaby V5J 5M3 604-438-5000 EMAIL heu@heu.org WEB www.heu.org Regional Offices VA N C OU V E R I SL A N D

Victoria 201-780 Tolmie Avenue Victoria V8X 3W4 (250) 480-0533 Comox 6-204 North Island Highway Courtenay, V9N 3P1 (250) 331-0368 I N T E R IOR R E G ION Kelowna 100-160 Dougall Rd. S. Kelowna V1X 3J4 (250) 765-8838

Nelson 745 Baker St. Nelson V1L 4J5 (250) 354-4466 N ORT H E R N

1197 Third Ave. Prince George V2L 3E4 (250) 564-2102

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FALL/WINTER 2014 • VOLUME 32 NUMBER 3 • THE VOICE OF THE HOSPITAL EMPLOYEES’ UNION

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

OUR FIGHT FOR FAIRNESS

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In this third and final installment of HEU’s 70-year history, we chronicle how the union navigated political change, health care reform and privatization.

Profile for Hospital Employees' Union

HEU Guardian: Fall/Winter 2014  

HEU Guardian: Fall/Winter 2014  

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