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A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH

1958 – HEU convention delegates call for a national public health insurance program.

Between the 60s and the 80s, HEU grew rapidly in numbers and strength, building an unprecedented level of activism across the union.

1966 – Federal government passes Medicare legislation. 2014 – Medicare opponents go to B.C. Supreme Court to expand for-profit health care.

{ Part two of our three-part series on the history of HEU }

HEU members fought for Medicare. Now, let’s defend it.

Learn more at bchealthcoalition.ca Medicare founder Tommy Douglas

AGREEMENT NUMBER 40007486

SUMMER/FALL 2014 • VOLUME 32 NUMBER 2 • THE VOICE OF THE HOSPITAL EMPLOYEES’ UNION

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

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FIRST P AGE  REP ORT SUMMER/FALL 2014

ON THE LINE HEU members were out in force on several picket lines earlier this summer. In Abbotsford, Sodexo members took to the street to back their demands for a contract they later ratified, which includes a modest wage hike and no two-tier wages. Members working for Carecorp Seniors Services at the Inglewood Care Centre in West Vancouver also went public in their efforts to settle a first contract. And when teachers put up pickets at schools across B.C., HEU members were there to walk in solidarity and support their call for a fair settlement. S U M M E R / F A L L

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COMMENT

It’s time to put our contracts to work

This is part of the process that makes HEU a democratic union – members bringing forward their experiences from the local level and then collectively deciding the overall direction HEU will take. And as part of our efforts to evolve democracy within Bargaining in our public and private sectors has topped the our union, this convention will be hearing back from HEU’s union’s agenda over the last many months. outgoing Provincial Executive about how we can ensure our Now that the vast majority of members in both sectors have governing structures and leadership are as representative achieved new contracts, our focus shifts from the bargaining BONNIE PEARSON as possible. table to the workplace. This work was directed by Resolution 75 at the 2012 conWhile it may be tempting to think of a contract settlement as an ending to vention with a goal of identifying any the bargaining process, it’s really just the beginning. changes needed to meet the needs of Now that the vast majority of Once a collective agreement has been achieved and ratified, our next task our diverse membership, in terms of HEU members have achieved is to put it to work, on the ground, where it counts. occupation, sector and equity group. Regardless of what sector you work in, your collective agreement provides new contracts, our focus shifts Since then, the P.E. has sought memyou with a solid set of tools to protect and advance workers’ rights in the bers’ ideas and feedback through sevfrom the bargaining table to workplace. eral ways, including discussion groups, In addition to defining workers’ wages and benefits, our collective agree- the workplace. forums and surveys. ments have the ability to hold employers to account for unfair conduct and Armed with that information, they will bring forward recunsafe work environments – but only if they are enforced. ommendations to this year’s convention aimed at building a Whether it’s a matter of protecting one member’s right to fair treatment or using our collecmore responsive union. tive ability to resolve larger workplace issues, it comes down to using the contract tools we It’s the next step in the ongoing evolution of our union’s have negotiated to improve our working and caring conditions. 70-year history. So while bargaining for most HEU members has concluded, we have a lot on our plate if we As we celebrate our seven decades of progress this fall, it want to use our contracts to create fairer, healthier, and more democratic workplaces. is timely to consider the changes we may need to make interAs we step into our 29th biennial convention in November, members from every part of the provnally, going forward, to ensure we continue to be an effective ince will be gathering to set the union’s agenda for the next two years. And like every convention, force for fairness, justice and equality in our workplaces and members will debate key issues and decide HEU’s priorities for local and provincial action. in our communities.

October 13 to 17 is HEU Charter Week On October 13, 1944, the Trades and Labour Congress (predecessor to the Canadian Labour Congress) chartered the Hospital Employees’ Federal Union Local 180 – later known as the Hospital Employees’ Union. The awarding of the charter to a group of health care workers at Vancouver General Hospital marks the official beginning of the 70-year-long story of the HEU – a story which is still being written by members today. This fall, HEU locals will be asked to organize a simple celebration to mark the union’s 70 years. As October 13 falls on Thanksgiving Day this year, locals are being encouraged to organize their event at some point during the week of October #HEU70 13 to 17 – HEU Charter Week. And if you are in possession of some old HEU memorabilia – photos of union events, attendance and minute books, or any other items of historical significance – why don’t you share them? Take a photo and post it to Instagram using the hashtag #HEU70 and be sure to include a description!

Municipal Pension Plan provides income for life

If you are an HEU member working in the public sector, you are enrolled in the Municipal Pension Plan. Your plan is likely one of the most valuable assets you have, because it guarantees ongoing income support for you and your family when you retire. It also provides a number of other benefits such as cost-of-living adjustments and access to medical, extended and dental benefits. Members enrolled in the plan are encouraged to double check the statement issued to you by the pension corporation in either May or June. It’s important because your pension will be based on your five best years’ salary, multiplied by your total months of pensionable services. If you worked full-time, the statement should show 12 months’ pensionable service, unless you took unpaid leave, or you switched to part-time for part of the year, or you just joined the plan. But sometimes, computerized payroll systems and rotating schedules can result in inaccurate reporting by your employer. If you encounter a problem, contact your employer’s payroll department, and if needed, your HEU servicing representative. Want to know more? Fall 2014 seminar schedule coming soon. The pension corporation regularly runs seminars that can provide you with information and things to consider when planning for your retirement. You will receive an email about two upcoming seminars: “Your Pension, Your Future” and “Thinking about Retiring.” The email will include topics covered in the seminars and information on how to register. It will also include posters to put up on union bulletin boards for members to view. For more information, check out this website at <mpp@pensionsbc.ca>.

ON THE COVER: Social Credit cuts to hospital spending, which threatened 1,000 bed closures and 2,500 jobs in 1982, were met with province-wide protest by HEU members, including those (pictured) at Royal Jubilee in Victoria.


Canada’s Federal Court strikes down Ottawa’s cuts to refugee health care • 5 

First Nations, environmentalists vow Enbridge pipeline will never be built • 7 Meet newly-elected CLC president Hussan Yussuff • 10 Migrant workers in Quebec organize to protect their rights • 11 Victoria high school teacher describes deteriorating conditions in B.C. classrooms • 12

Brian Day versus public health care

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hen Associate Chief Justice Austin Cullen calls his court into session on September 8, he will begin to hear arguments in a case that could fundamentally change the nature of Medicare. That’s when one of Canada’s most strident critics of Medicare, Dr. Brian Day, will start the next phase in a constitutional challenge that attempts to dismantle universal public health care in Canada as we know it. Day has spent years testing the rules. His clinics – the Cambie Surgeries Corporation and Specialist Referral Clinic – are infamous for unlawfully charging patients for health care services. Day hopes to strike down the rules that prevent a U.S.-style system in Canada, where people get to pay privately to jump the queue. A 2012 B.C. government audit carried out by the Medical Services Commission revealed that Day’s clinics have been unlawfully extra-billing patients for publicly insured medical services at his clinics. Auditors also found overlapping claims – evidence that suggests double-dipping for the same service by charging both the patient and the Medical Services Plan. Day’s case is being called the most significant constitutional challenge in Canadian history. It’s likely to go as far as the Supreme Court of Canada, but what happens in B.C. will be crucial. That’s why health care advocates will be opposing Day’s arguments for two-tier medicine in the B.C. Supreme

BC HEALTH COALITION PHOTOS

Eighteen years after opening his controversial private clinic, the so-called “Dr. Profit” is using the courts to try to dismantle Medicare. Doctors and health care unions are pushing back.

A BC Health Coalition booth at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival raised awareness about the court case and drew support from festival attendees.

Court this fall. Along with union and domino effect where similar laws will community partners in the BC Health be struck down across Canada, underCoalition (BCHC), HEU has vigorously mining our entire universal public opposed the encroachment of for-profit health care system.” clinics and privatized health care. Specifically, Day is challenging the For all who have fought to protect laws that prohibit doctors from charging and strengthen Medicare, the outpatients extra for services already covered come of this case is critical. under provincial insurance plans. “The stakes are huge. Our memHe’s also taking aim at B.C.’s ban bers take pride in a system that looks on duplicate private health insurance, after all of us when we claiming that these rules vioneed it,” says Bonnie late the Canadian Charter of Pearson, HEU secretary- For all who have Rights and Freedoms. business manager. “This fought to protect “Canada’s health care syscase could have major tem needs improvements that implications for HEU and strengthen are financially responsible and members and for all will result in increased quality Medicare, the Canadians who rely on of care. What we know from an affordable health care outcome of this countries that have implesystem.” mented two-tier care is it creWhile Day contends case is critical. ates enormous administrative that two-tiered health inefficiencies, and without standardized care will improve wait times, other fees for publicly insured procedures, parties in this case, including the procosts skyrocket,” says Dr.Rupinder Brar vincial government, disagree. Having from Canadian Doctors for Medicare. been granted intervener status, the “We need to focus on innovations that BCHC will actively participate in the will make our health care system more case along with Canadian Doctors for sustainable and capable of providing Medicare. health care to everyone in Canada.” HEU and its national union CUPE “Protecting fair and equal access to – along with other unions – are helping Medicare is critical,” says Pearson. “We to support the BCHC’s legal costs. have a long history of advocating for BCHC campaigner Adam Lyneschanges that will strengthen public Ford says a two-tier system lengthens health care, not weaken it.” wait times by drawing a limited supCAELIE FRAMPTON ply of doctors and other health care professionals away from public health HEU members are encouraged care and into the for-profit system. to become members of the “In September, we’ll be in court BC Health Coalition. standing up for Medicare,” says LynesJoin the “Save Canada’s Medicare Ford. “Because if Day wins his case System” group on Facebook for in B.C. and our health care rules updates on this case. are struck down, it could lead to a S U M M E R / F A L L

Why is Medicare important? • Medicare gives Canadians equal access to medically necessary health care. • It’s based on need, not one’s ability to pay, and protects patients from extra-billing and user-fees. • Canada’s universal public health care system is widely supported by the public as an essential part of our national identity.

What’s wrong with private pay clinics? • Increased inequality: With two-tier health care, individuals with higher incomes are more likely to benefit while those who can’t afford it have limited access to care. • Cherry picking: Private clinics are able to make a profit because they choose the healthiest patients and only perform a limited range of high-volume, low-cost procedures. • Increased wait times: When specialists spend time in a private clinic, that’s time away from their patients in the public system, which increases hospital wait lists and wait times.

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HEU welcomes back Sunridge Place members In a decisive vote conducted on August 5, workers at Sunridge Place in Duncan have again made HEU their union of choice. Workers at the long-term care facility lost their HEU membership in early June after Sunridge Place was sold to a new private owner, Park

Choose the tap instead Bottled water may seem convenient, but here are 10 reasons to use a stainless steel water bottle and choose the tap instead. • Plastic water bottles are made from petroleum. The amount of oil used to make a year’s worth of bottles could fill one million cars for a year. • Bottled water is not safer. Nearly 25,000 chemicals were found lurking in a single bottle of water in a recent German study. The longer the water sits in bottles, the higher the concentration of chemicals. • It takes three litres of water to produce one litre of plastic bottled water. • Bottled water companies in Canada use municipal water sources, groundwater and surface water. Dasani (owned by Coca-Cola) is filtered municipal tap water, bottled in Brampton, Ont., and Calgary. (Pepsi owns Aquafina, also sourced from municipalities.) • It takes more than 700 years for plastic to decompose. • Empty bottles end up as litter (often in the ocean!) or in the landfills, despite being recyclable. In 2009 alone, three million plastic bottles ended up in B.C. landfills. • Municipal tap water is safer, healthier and more regulated than bottled water. • For example, tap water in Metro Vancouver is tested 30,000 times a year. • There are over 90 municipalities in Canada that have gone bottled-water free in their facilities. • In Metro Vancouver, 85 per cent of people choose tap water over bottled water as their main source of drinking water.

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Place, who in turn sub-contracted the facility’s care and support services to another private company, Care Corp. Many of the original Sunridge staff, who were subsequently rehired at lower wages, along with newly-hired employees, stood up to employer

intimidation and exercised their legal right to union representation. Three union supporters fired during the organizing drive were reinstated with back pay after HEU filed a complaint at B.C.’s Labour Relations Board.

Confronting workplace hazards

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nyone who’s been injured knows that accidents can happen in a split second and forever change your life. Each day, HEU members are exposed to job hazards – whether working in the community, residential or acute care. And they frequently make judgement calls to complete an urgent task that could make them vulnerable to injuries. For example, if a resident who requires a two-person lift falls, a care aide may choose to lift the resident back into bed or into a wheelchair if working short-staffed with nobody readily available to help. Otherwise, the resident would not receive the required care. But the worker also risks discipline for not following safety protocol. Whether working on the frontline or behind-the-scenes, all HEU members experience safety challenges – some are occupation-specific, while others cross all job families – such as workload, violence, slips and falls, musculoskeletal injuries (MSIs), exposure to hospital-acquired illnesses, and lack of workplace safety procedures during a Code White or Code Orange [emergency response during mass casualties, earthquakes and fires]. But by law, all workers in B.C. are covered by the Workers Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.

UK saves millions cancelling P3 hospital deal

Perhaps B.C.’s Ministry of Health should take a lesson from Britain about how to start getting rid of costly public-private partnerships (P3s) in health care. For the first time since Britain’s public health system began using P3s (called Private Finance Initiatives in Britain) to build new hospitals, one health authority has managed to free itself from the staggering, long-term debt load that comes with using private financing for public projects. The Northumbria Healthcare Foundation Trust, which used the

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Employers are legally required to (“wet floor” caution signs, fatigue provide a safe work environment by mats) and lifting or pushing heavy assessing and identifying risks, reduc- items such as laundry or garbage bags. Poor ergonomics cause clerical staff ing or eliminating any hazards, and educating workers on how to pro- to experience carpal tunnel syndrome, tect themselves. And, in turn, work- repetitive strain from keyboarders need to know and enforce their ing and mousing, and computer eye rights. (See WCB Act Division 3, part strain. Sometimes, they’re exposed to 115; and OHS Regulation Part 4, sec- car exhaust fumes, mold and dust in tions 4.27–4.31, 4.46–4.53; Part 5 and badly ventilated basement offices. And risks for patient care techPart 6). Under the law, workers have the nical members include: ergonomic challenges from workright to refuse unsafe ing in cramped quarwork. But what exactly It’s imperative for ters; needlestick injuries; is it? For direct care-pro- health care workers exposure to bodily fluids, latex and bio-hazardous viders, a lack (or shortto receive proper products; and chemical age) of ceiling lifts, hazards like chemotherslings, slider sheets OH&S training apy drugs. and sit-to-stand lifts is It’s imperative for considered unsafe, as it and use the tools health care workers to often results in MSIs. available to protect receive proper OH&S They’re also vulnerable training and use the when working alone themselves. tools available to protect with violent or aggressive patients whose risk assessments themselves. If there’s a reasonable belief that are outdated. Hazards for trades and maintenance a task may cause “undue hazard” to workers include: exposure to hazard- you or somebody else, it’s your legal ous material such as mercury, asbes- responsibility to refuse to perform tos, mold, and chemicals poured into that unsafe duty. sinks; equipment malfunctions; inadIf you’re in that situation, you equate “fall protection” safety equip- must contact your supervisor and ment; and improper safety lockup for local OH&S steward or shop steward. electrical or heavy equipment. And WorkSafeBC is available 24/7 at: Support workers get exposed to 1-866-922-4357 (during office hours) chemicals and risk MSIs from having or 1-888-621-7233 (after hours). faulty equipment (such as wobbly BRENDA WHITEHALL wheels on carts) or missing supplies

P3 model to build Hexham General Hospital 10 years ago, has borrowed the Canadian equivalent of $209 million from a county council to buy out the private contract over a 25-year period. Even with interest, the deal will save about $122 million in the long run, or $6.4 million annually, which will be ploughed back in to public health services. Northumberland County Council deputy leader Dave Ledger is on record as saying the deal was good

value for local residents because it would “reduce overall borrowing costs and release resources to support frontline health and social care services across the county.” The same Trust has now secured a second 25-year loan from the Northumberland Council to build a new hospital for Berwick-upon-Tweed without using the P3 model. A decade ago, the B.C. government adopted the controversial British public-private model as a way to finance new hospital projects here, despite warnings that health


Federal court restores refugee health care

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ing treatment which resulted in more complicated health – and more costly – care outcomes. For Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care spokesperson Dr. Philip Berger, these cuts have been devastating for refugees – particularly pregnant mothers and children who he says were picked on and bullied by the ruling Conservative government. The Federal Court agrees. In her ruling, Justice Anne Mactavish wrote that the “2012 modifications to the Interim Federal Health Program potentially jeopardize the health, the safety and indeed the very lives of these innocent and vulnerable children in a manner that shocks the conscience and outrages our standards of decency.” According to Berger who is the medical director at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital’s inner city health program, “The judge refuted every single point made by the federal Conservative government, including the suggestion that refugee claimants are getting superior care than Canadians.” According to the ruling, the federal government must restore health care

CAELIE FRAMPTON PHOTO

ou may have missed it. In a flurry of superior court decisions that overturned several major initiatives of Prime Minister Harper’s government at the beginning of summer, one of the most significant legal rulings against Ottawa restored cuts to public health care for tens of thousands of refugees. In early July, Canada’s Federal Court, the third highest court in the land, struck down Ottawa’s cuts to health care that axed a significant portion of refugee health coverage starting in July 2012. After the legislation came into effect, surveys by refugee advocacy groups found that up to three-quarters of walk-in clinics and most obstetricians, family doctors and midwives were demanding payment up front from refugees seeking health care – fees that few could afford. Facing these financial barriers, refugees have been forced to turn to hospital emergency rooms for help, putting more strain on already over-crowded acute care facilities. Moreover, say health experts, they also delayed seek-

The Harper government’s cuts to refugee health care have drawn fire from advocates and supporters across the country.

coverage within four months. But this is not the end of the story. The federal government immediately moved to appeal the judgement and have asked that Justice Mactavish’s order be set aside, while the matter is before the courts. The Conservative government has until the end of October to submit their appeal.

In the meantime, federal NDP MP and health critic Libby Davies says refugees will continue to suffer. “The original denial of healthcare access for vulnerable refugees was heartless and mean,” says Davies. “But by choosing to ignore the court’s recent decision, the Conservative government is making a bad situation even worse – and putting more lives in danger.”

Patients, supporters fight to save groundbreaking clinic One of Vancouver’s groundbreaking clinics to offer a multi-disciplinary service model risks losing critical programs if the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority (VCHA) follows through with its plan to cut funding and transfer some patient services this October. Mid-Main Community Health Centre delivers comprehensive medical and dental services to residents and families in the Little Mountain district of Vancouver’s east side. The team-based, non-profit society, which provides “house calls” and extended clinic hours, is widely known for its proactive approach to preventative health – keeping patients with complex or chronic illnesses, and

authorities would be locked into 30-year deals that would cost taxpayers millions more in the long run. In the Fraser Health Authority, for example, the P3 model was used to build Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Center, the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgical Centre, and the redevelopment project at Surrey Memorial Hospital. In a recent review of FHA’s operations, HEU told the health authority, “we continue to be concerned about the financial burden placed on FHA (and other health authorities) by their forced participation in public-private partnership projects.”

frail seniors, out of acute care hospitals – by delivering inter-professional treatments at home or at the clinic. Along with funding cuts, the VCHA plans to close a handful of other clinics and transfer Mid-Main’s “high-needs” patients to Raven Song, a neighbouring community health centre. “Mid-Main patients do not want to be transferred to Raven Song if they are in a health crisis,” says health advocate and Mid-Main patient Marcy Cohen. “They want to continue to be supported at Mid-Main by the doctor and staff they already know and have a positive relationship with.” Rather than downgrading MidMain’s services, which includes a nurse practitioner, pharmacist and

For these three projects alone, annual payments will amount to more than $60 million in the current fiscal year and rise to nearly $85 million in 2018. “Going forward, FHA will pay out an estimated total of $2.7 billion to these private partners,” stated HEU in a written submission. “This represents a significant, long-term and fixed operating cost over which FHA has very little flexibility in terms of capital refinancing or adjusting the level or nature of non-clinical services.” Under the P3 model, health authorities are tied to a fixed 30-year schedule and must pay millions of dollars in

support staff, supporters say the innovative clinic should be used as a provincial model. The centre, they say, should set the bar for similar clinics in other communities and pave the way for more Mid-Mains, not fewer. As a result of these cuts, MidMain could be forced to revert to a physician’s “fee-for-service” funding model, something they had abolished years ago when they shifted to salaried doctors. “A shift back to fee-for-service would lead to shorter visits – 10 minutes per patient – end Mid-Main’s current team-based model, and undermine the clinic’s ability to provide preventative and holistic care,” adds Cohen. “These cuts go against

service payments out of their operating funds every year.

Seattle adopts highest minimum wage in U.S.

In recent years, several North American cities have initiated grassroots anti-poverty campaigns in response to mounting evidence on the negative impact of low-wages on families, child development, and communities. That’s why workers in Seattle, Washington celebrated Mayor Ed Murray’s announcement this spring to introduce new minimum wage laws. After assembling the Income

the government’s own stated priorities of the importance of supporting people in community-based services rather than in acute care.” Founded 20 years ago, Mid-Main now treats about 6,000 medical patients and 18,000 dental clients each year, even providing subsidy for those with inadequate insurance or low incomes. Their doctors and dentists are also on call 24/7 for emergency services. Mid-Main patients have launched an online fightback campaign to maintain funding for the clinic’s model of care. For more information and to sign on to support this campaign, visit <http://supportmidmain.ca/>.

Inequality Advisory Committee – comprised of non-profit agencies, business and labour – Murray presented city council with the committee’s recommendations to standardize and raise minimum wages. The proposal considered the costs of health care benefits with wages – not unlike B.C.’s living wage calculations – and a phase-in plan to lessen the impact on small employers. Small businesses (up to 500 employees) will reach the city’s new $15 an hour minimum wage over the next seven years, beginning with increases in April 2015. Employers with more than 500 continued on page 6

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Support your local progressive candidates

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That’s why I urge all HEU members hen we talk about to put the November election on their government, we radar and look for ways to support tend to think proprogressive, local candidates. vincially and federThose who are elected will make vital ally before we think decisions that can either strengthen locally. But in so our local communities and economies, many ways our daily lives are most or weaken them. They will determine affected by municipal governments. whether or not to sell off – or contract They are responsible for everything out – certain public services to private from safe drinking water, garbage and companies. sanitation, libraries, parks and green And they will decide important spaces to transportation, schools, fire questions about both the affordabildepartments, policing, recreation cenity and accessibility of community tres, community centres and so much services. more. Along with our sisThey are our first ters and brothers in line of defense in other unions across the protecting the public province, we can make services that make a significant impact on our neighbourhoods who gets elected. and communities To that end, HEU’s liveable. And they Political Advisory have the power to Committee (PAC) is lobby provincial and currently connectfederal governments ing with CUPE BC to on issues that are assess how we can work technically outside together to mobilize a their jurisdiction, strong turnout among but impact the lives Donisa Bernardo our memberships. of their citizens. HEU Financial Secretary In addition, sevOne of the most eral HEU activists are recent, high profile working with their local labour counexamples is the Enbridge Northern cils to identify progressive candidates Gateway Pipeline, where a number in their communities who are running of municipalities have taken a strong for office. stand against it, based on how it will By the time you read this Guardian, impact quality of life at the local level summer will be drawing to a close. and climate change on a global level. It’s a perfect time to make a commitLocal governments also have the abilment to finding out more about the ity to deal with important social issues fall campaigns shaping up in your like poverty reduction, endorsing a livmunicipality. ing wage, environmental sustainability, Even though most of us are busy and supportive housing. Depending with work and family responsibilities, on what kind of a vision they have for taking even a small amount of time to the future of their municipality, they get involved and galvanize support for can make decisions that literally shape strong local candidates can make a big our towns and cities for years to come. difference. So it matters to every one of us who If you want to know more, email we elect on November 15 as our next <politicalaction@heu.org>. councillors, mayors, school trustees and parks board members.

PRESIDENT’S DESK

Fairness works During June’s regional meetings, I was pleased to report that the “Together, FAIRNESS WORKS” campaign, organized by the Canadian Labour Congress, is making an impact. Perhaps you’ve seen the “fairness works” VICTOR ELKINS commercials that ran on TV last fall and again earlier this spring? Or the ads posted on some city bus shelters? They’re all part of a massive public awareness project about the value of unions, not only to union members, but to the entire community. We’ve been actively participating in this campaign, along with our sisters and brothers in CUPE National and many other unions across Canada. Our collective goal is to counteract the anti-union forces who are trying to weaken labour’s ability to defend and advance workers’ rights. According to the CLC’s polling, the ads themselves are working. They’re The ability to join a union is reminding people that unions make life better and fairer for everyone. a legacy passed on to us. But it takes more than a successful And it’s one we can’t afford ad campaign to mount an effective to take for granted. fight back. It takes reaching out to union members, and potential new members, who can be just as influenced by antiunion propagandists as the general public. In HEU, that means reaching out to all our members and becoming more inclusive. This is particularly important for new members and younger members who are the future workforce in health care and community social services. And just as importantly, they are the future of our union. It’s a big job. It means working together at the local level, talking with one another, and making room for new members – many who may not know how our union works or how to become involved. As CLC’s research shows, when union members have an honest conversation with each other about what they get from having a union at work, they reach the same conclusion. They see the value of belonging to a union and they realize how much worse off they would be without a union. Make no mistake about it, there is a determined business lobby with deep ties to Conservative politicians who want a workforce with fewer rights, lower wages, and no ability to stand up for fairness in the workplace. The only thing standing in their way is the union movement. Our 70-year history, which we are celebrating this year, is living proof of how much we can achieve when we work together and stick together to build and defend our rights. So let’s make it a point to start talking with one another about why unions matter. Conversation by conversation it is possible to make sure that every HEU member understands just how much union representation and a union contract contributes to their health, income, safety and security. The ability to join a union is a legacy passed on to us. And it’s one we can’t afford to take for granted.

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employees (including those in national chains) have a three-year implementation period, or four years if compensation packages include health benefits. Seattle City Council voted unanimously to pass the legislation, which sparked a backlash from local businesses. Under the moniker Forward Seattle, business owners launched a petition campaign to bring the controversial minimum wage law to a referendum during this November’s election. But on July 23, Forward

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Seattle declared defeat when it was unable to gather enough signatures to get the issue on the ballot. The International Franchise Association – a group of business stakeholders – has filed a discrimination lawsuit in a Seattle court, citing inequities in applying the new legislation and its potential impact on small business owners. Currently, Washington state’s minimum wage is $9.32 an hour.

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HEU wins awards

In May, HEU received two national awards – Best Overall Print Publication and Best Poster – during a ceremony hosted by the Canadian Association of Labour Media (CALM) in Montreal. HEU’s flagship newsmagazine the Guardian received the top award for the third time in the last five years. In announcing the award, the presenter issued the following judge’s statement: “HEU’s Guardian stands out first and foremost for the caliber of writing in its

pages and a clean, cohesive design... “The Guardian manages to be both selfreflective and outward looking, and the topics covered demonstrate an attention to community engagement and a commitment to advancing the interests of workers as a whole, locally and internationally.” The second accolade was awarded for the union’s origi-

nal poster marking the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Ending Violence Against Women, produced by HEU’s in-house graphic designer Elaine Happer. The judge noted the poster was “direct and bold”and showed “the harsh realities and violence women face everyday.” CALM is a nationwide organization supporting the work of labour communicators and union activists since 1976.


Northern Gateway pipeline go ahead sparks tidal wave of court challenges “If Enbridge has poked the hornet’s nest of aboriginal unrest, then the federal Conservatives, Stephen Harper’s government, has spent the last few years whacking it like a pinata…the Harper government’s role in this debacle will not be forgotten.” Eden Robinson, Canadian novelist (rabble.ca)

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CAELIE FRAMPTON PHOTO

n June 1, Prime Minister to the Tsilhqot’in Stephen Harper gave Nation. It was Enbridge the go ahead the first time to build its controver- in Canada that sial Northern Gateway Aboriginal title twin pipeline along a had been grant1,200 kilometer route ed to a specific that would transport bitumen from tract of land. Alberta’s oil sands to Kitimat, B.C. And among other The announcement came with no things, it spelled fanfare, no photo op, and no com- out that economment from the man who had blatantly ic development backed big oil from the start, dismiss- on land where ing First Nations’ opposition, relaxing title is established environmental standards and demon- needs the conizing environmentalists in the process. sent of the First From the outset, resistance to Nation. Enbridge’s proposed Northern It also defined Gateway pipeline was about two Aboriginal title as things: respecting First Nations’ existing not only authority over their lands and pro- for the present tecting the environment. generation but It was a powerful combination. for future genera- Thousands of people turned up to a night time demonstration to voice their opposition to the Enbridge pipeline during the National Energy Board’s Joint Review Panel hearings held in Vancouver. Over time it created a tidal wave of tions. opposition to the Enbridge project The decision Within the next few days, eight portation companies, logging trucks, led by First Nations, which swept was heralded as a game changer. CN rail, cutting across our territories. First Nations from Haida Gwaii to in municipal governments, scientists, Gitxsan HEU member Raechelle Now, if they want to do this today, we Yinka Dene territory west of Prince environmental and community orga- Wilson (whose Gitxsan name Xsim have a say. They can no longer just run George – including the Gitxsan – nizations, politiGan O’otsinx means through our lands like they used to. had launched court challenges against cians, and concerned house of shadows) That is a victory,” says Wilson. the federal government’s approval of citizens of every From the outset, is a matriarch of the As to her opposition to the pipe- Northern Gateway. stripe. resistance to Enbridge’s House of NiiGyep line and tankers that would go Nine other challenges were filed Of the more than in the Wolf clan. through Gitxsan land, Wilson says, earlier this year, all of which have the 10,000 submissions proposed Northern She was elated by “If Enbridge was to come in, it would potential to block Enbridge’s pipelines to the National the decision saydestroy our livelihood. It would and tankers project. Gateway pipeline was Energy Board’s joint ing, “This proves destroy our traditional hunting and PATTY GIBSON review panel, which about two things: we have a say over fishing grounds, our wild salmon, our was charged with our lands, we have medicinal plants, our clean water, … deciding whether or respecting First Nations’ the right to manage all the things we need to live. We don’t not to recommend authority over their our lands in the best own the land, we are caretakers of the project approval, 98 way we can, and the land. We have to keep things pristine percent opposed the lands and protecting the responsibility to WHERE DOES HEU for the future.” pipeline. keep them sustainIt was that same concern that environment. STAND? Even in Kitimat, able for our future prompted Wilson to work with the the only town that stood to benefit unborn children.” Skeena Watershed Coalition where 1990 HEU supports land claims at all from jobs associated with the Wilson says the announcement also aboriginal and non-aboriginal people negotiations with the First Nations pipeline, citizens voted more than 58 brought back memories from her are working to stop the threat of coalof B.C. and supports the concept of per cent against the project. Observers younger years when bed methane gas at the time noted the result would the Gitxsan joined aboriginal title. drilling in the area. have been even higher if members of forces with their “We have the right to “We have to stand the Haisla First Nation village (a few Wet’suwet’en neigh1998 HEU supports the position up for our rights,” kilometers outside the town bound- bours in 1984 to pur- manage our lands in that referendum is not required to says Wilson. “These ary) would have been allowed a vote. sue a major 13-year settle First Nations’ land claims, but the best way we can, big companies want And while Enbridge tried hard to court battle for land that these are fundamental human to come in and deal suggest it had some First Nations sup- ownership and self- and the responsibility to rights issues. with us, but they port, that assertion didn’t hold up to government. don’t realize develthe fact that over 130 First Nations It ended with keep them sustainable opment must be 2010 Delegates direct HEU to had signed on to a declaration reject- the historic 1995 for our future unborn done in a way that lobby the Provincial and Federal goving the pipeline and tankers project. Supreme Court of keeps our territoernments to stop the development of children.” So in the wake of Harper’s low-key Canada Delgamuukw ries pristine. They the proposed Enbridge pipeline. announcement, it was no surprise decision, which set a have to understand, it’s not only about that a crescendo of voices responded new precedent for proving aboriginal the money, it’s about the future.” by vowing the pipeline would never title and legitimized oral history tes2010 Delegates direct HEU to On July 10, Gitxsan hereditary be built. timony. lobby the Provincial and Federal chiefs served notice to CN Rail, logWhat did come as a surprise, But it did not stop continued governments to make permanent the ging companies and sport fisherhowever, was the Supreme Court of resource extraction and development moratorium on coalbed methane gas men to leave their territory along the Canada’s unanimous decision nine in Gitxsan territories. drilling in the Sacred Headwaters. Skeena River. days later granting Aboriginal title “There are many companies – trans-


Gaining STRENGTH, organizin

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WHILE HEU’S EARLY YEARS had laid the foundation for B.C.’s first major health care union, the following decades saw unprecedented activism and rapid growth as thousands of unorganized health care workers discovered new rights and a collective voice in HEU.

During the next chapter of HEU’s history, Queen Elizabeth II was our nation’s monarch, the Maple Leaf became our new national flag, and Canadians elected five prime ministers: John Diefenbaker, Lester B. Pearson, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney. It was an era dominated by anti-war protests, wage controls, free trade, and the race to space. And while our American neighbours were embroiled in the civil rights movement, Canadians fought for and won Medicare and other social programs that endure to this day. It was a time of tremendous change, and HEU was evolving with it to become the province’s biggest health care union.

1966 with the passage of the Medical Care Act, which went into effect nationwide in 1968. By then, health insurance and hospital funding were administered cooperatively by the provincial and federal governments. With secure hospital funding in place, HEU was in a stronger position to bargain contract improvements. Like Tommy Douglas, HEU’s earliest leaders had a dream – to negotiate one collective agreement to protect the rights of all its members, regardless of gender or geographic location, by standardizing working conditions, wages and benefits. That dream was finally realized with the Provincial Master Agreement (1968-1969), which covered members working in 63 unionized B.C. hospitals.

THE RADICAL 60s

THE TURBULENT 70s

As a social justice union, HEU activists took to the streets with fellow Canadians in peaceful demonstrations against the Vietnam War, nuclear weapons and Apartheid. And from its earliest years, HEU was a leader in advocating for universal health care – not just for workers, but for all citizens. They lobbied government, bargained employer-paid medical insurance, and participated in rallies to generate public support. That groundswell of activism spread from coastto-coast as Canadians called for health care to be recognized as a fundamental human right. And nowhere was that movement stronger than in the modest prairie province of Saskatchewan, the home of political leader Tommy Douglas. For decades, Douglas had a dream – that all Canadians be covered by a publicly delivered, comprehensive health plan. Medicare – Canada’s universal health care system – finally became the law of the land in

The 1970s was a rollercoaster ride for public sector unions, who were tossed back and forth between victories and setbacks. These peaks and valleys had a huge impact on HEU. Not only was the union pushing back on legislation that affected wages and collective bargaining rights, but they also had internal struggles. A mass exodus of senior HEU activists and officials – mainly due to retirements and illness – left the new leadership with an equally new staff to carry out the work of a growing and increasingly complex union. Determined and resilient, HEU fast-tracked its learning curve and came out swinging against Socred health minister Ralph Loffmark’s attack on health care – cutting hospital services and jobs, while freezing and slashing wages. The union launched a successful fightback campaign – which included unprecedented meetings with B.C. Premier W.A.C. Bennett, Prime Minister Trudeau and former Prime Minister Diefenbaker – that resulted in a renewed master agreement with improvements like a shorter workweek (37.5 hours) and modest wage increases.

Growth and consolidation The decades-long shift to a national medical plan – with the passage of the Hospital Insurance Act (1949), the Hospital Insurance and Diagnostic Services Act (1957) and the Medical Care Act (1966) – combined with shared provincial and federal financing, created a health care model that required tremendous hospital expansion and the need to recruit staff for these new facilities. As the union’s membership grew, HEU opened regional offices in Kelowna and Prince George to better serve members. By 1971, HEU represented workers at 69 facilities – mostly acute care hospitals – but the long-term care (LTC) sector was largely unorganized. And it showed. The conditions, especially in privately operated facilities, were deplorable for both residents In 1974, convention and workers. delegates resolved At HEU’s 1974 conven- to organize the LTC tion, delegates resolved to orga- sector, and for the nize the LTC sec- next decade, the union tor, and for the next decade, the launched its biggest union launched and most successful its biggest and most success- organizing drives. ful organizing drives. Lead campaign organizer Sharon Yandle recalls, “[HEU] had tried off and on in the 1950s and 1960s. The union had been able to sign up a majority, to get certified in a number of places, but it hadn’t been able to get the first collective agreement.” Private employers were brutal. Striking workers were often replaced by “scabs”. And workers were usually intimidated


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’60s-’80s into settling for substandard contracts, or lose their jobs. But that began to change under Dave Barrett’s 1972-1975 NDP government, who revised the B.C. Labour Code, making it easier for unions to certify and secure first contracts through mediation. It gave workers hope that they would finally be able to negotiate fair contracts. By 1974, HEU had organized 94 per cent of health care workers in B.C. But the union came under renewed attack when the anti-union Socreds returned to power in 1975.

Despite the Provincial Master Agreement being the baseline for the “mini-master”, HEU’s LTC workers still earned five per cent less than their acute care counterparts. Although government policies continued to be used as leverage by B.C. health employers against frontline workers, HEU made bargaining gains at the end of this turbulent decade when an arbitrator ruled in favour of wage and benefits comparability between health care workers and provincial government employees.

HEU’s first provincial strike

Pay equity and human rights

During the 1970s, a national wage and price control mandate filtered down to the provincial level, and the newly elected Socred government refused to pay wage increases in a contract that HEU members had just ratified under an NDP government. That led to HEU’s first provincial strike in April 1976 that lasted for three weeks. “The 1976 hospital strike was the first strike of its kind in Canada...controlled by essential service legislation,” said Jack Gerow, secretary-business manager at the time. HEU members were ordered back to work by Allan Williams, the Socred’s labour minister, who introduced Bill 75 – the Hospital Services Collective Agreement Act. That legislation contained a silver lining for HEU, as it legalized provisions recommended by mediator D.R. Blair in settling the current contract, which government and employers had refused to honour. The celebration was short-lived, however, when the federal Anti-Inflation Board vetoed provincial jurisdiction on the grounds of a national economic crisis. Prime Minister Trudeau’s edict to control and roll back wages and benefits meant that HEU members took an eight per cent hit – and even had to pay back wage increases they had received prior to the federal directive. By 1977, the union’s membership had ballooned to 18,500 workers in 113 acute care facilities. HEU also organized 21 private hospitals, and secured a first contract for 350 Lower Mainland workers through arbitration, which gave members a wage increase, sick leave and medical benefits. “The overwhelming reason that these workers sought to join the union ultimately didn’t have anything to do with wages,” said Yandle. “It had to do with the conditions of patient care, and it had to do with the sense of unfairness. And that sense of unfairness is what motivates people to join unions.” In response to HEU’s grassroots organizing and public campaign to raise awareness about substandard private care, the B.C. government introduced a universal LTC program in 1978 to standardize care and wages. After a series of arbitrated first contracts failed to meet the needs of the union and LTC employers, the parties agreed to create the Long-Term Care Standard Agreement – referred to as the “mini-master” – to be used as a framework for new certifications.

By 1970, HEU had embraced the fight to end gender-based wage discrimination, and filed a successful human rights complaint, winning substantial wage increases for 10 female radiology attendants at VGH. A 1973 complaint, filed on behalf of practical nurses in Kimberley, yielded similar results, which led to a major equal pay campaign. More than 600 human rights cases were filed by HEU members. Finally, the BC NDP government of the day negotiated an agreement with HEU that saw 8,400 of its members receive “anti-discrimination” pay adjustments. Though progress continued to be made through the job review process in the 1980s, women were still concentrated in the lowest-paid occupations. And, in a female-dominated sector, both men and women were underpaid in comparison to other industries. That’s why the union put “pay equity” at the top of its bargaining agenda.

THE REACTIONARY 80s The decade began with a hostile Socred government, who came to the 1982 bargaining table with a long list of concessions. HEU opted for binding arbitration – to protect benefits – in the face of a twoyear wage freeze imposed by government. In protest, HEU organized a multi-union, provincial Alliance to Save Health Care campaign – raising public awareness about hospital bed closures, waitlists, layoffs and unsafe workloads. On July 7, 1983, more than 50,000 people protested on the streets of Vancouver after the Social Credit government delivered a budget speech that threatened public sector jobs, wages and services. Premier Bill Bennett introduced more than 25 bills – under his “restraint program” – to strip away hardearned tenants’, labour and human rights; restrict collective bargaining, and reduce education, social services and health care funding. This led to the biggest push back any B.C. govern-

ment had encountered – more than 500,000 workers under the moniker Operation Solidarity – were joined by the Women Against the Budget coalition, the Lower Mainland Budget Coalition comprised of trade unions and community organizations, and the Solidarity Coalition of human rights’ activists. Massive rallies and sit-in protests took place across the province. Yet, Premier Bennett dismissed demonstrators as “special interest groups [trying to] picket their way to prosperity.” After enormous public sector pressure, Bennett withdrew some of the anti-union bills, which restored job security, collective bargaining and seniority rights, and also killed legislation to allow direct-patient billing by doctors, therefore protecting Medicare. “The Socreds’ big lie has to be exposed,” said HEU’s secretary-business manager Jack Gerow at an August 10, 1983 rally in Vancouver. “This budget has nothing to do with restraint. It is an ideological attack on certain groups in society and that is what has to be made clear. The only thing the Socreds are trying to restrain are people’s basic rights.” For most of the decade, collective bargaining was described as “one step forward, one step back” – as arbitrators would award contract improvements, only to be overruled by the government.

Organizing seniors’ care By 1983, about 70 per cent of the LTC sector had been organized by HEU, including 77 residential care facilities. In 1985, more than 650 HEU members – working in 14 LTC sites – went on a 45-day strike to protest against the inferior working and caring conditions in the private sector, and to demand comparability with workers under the master agreement. It’s a fight that continues today. HEU survived – and thrived – during these turbulent decades. But in the next chapter, the union would encounter another rocky road, mired by government interference in collective bargaining, contract-shredding, and fightback campaigns against contracting out. Primary source: The Heart of Health Care by Patricia G. Webb BRENDA WHITEHALL


NOTEWORTHY NEWS ABOUT ISSUES AFFECTING WORKING PEOPLE HERE AND ABROAD

LRB rules IKEA guilty of unfair labour practices

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ave money. Live better. when more than 200 workers at a the first contract was being bargained, That’s the curJonquiere, Quebec outlet voted to the court concluded. As a result, the rent brand slogan for join the United Food and Commercial Supreme Court ordered Walmart to Walmart. Workers (UFCW) union. make appropriate reparations to the Yet, the world’s bigIn fact, UFCW’s success was not fired workers, possibly with damages gest private employer only a first in Canada, it was the first and interest. may have to consider adding one time a Walmart had been unionized A first for Walmart workers’ rights more phrase to its corporate mantra in North America since the company’s in Canada, this judgment opens a new – unions welcome. founding in 1950. chapter in the 20-year, David-versusIn a recent Supreme Court of Canada However, the victory was short-lived. Goliath fight to organize one of the decision against Walmart Canada, the By February 2005, just as the workmost anti-union corporations on the country’s top justices determined the ers’ first contract was going to arbitraplanet. company broke Quebec’s labour laws tion, Walmart announced it was closAccording to legal experts on both when it shut down sides of the issue, the effects one of its stores after of this Supreme Court rulit had unionized. ing will be felt throughout For Canada’s trade Canada. From now on, busiunion movement, it’s nesses where unionization is a positive outcome in underway will have to tread a decades-long fight more carefully before resortto organize Walmart ing to the kinds of tactics that in our country. Walmart employed. It’s been 20 years For UFCW’s national presisince Walmart came dent Paul Meinema, Walmart north of the border. In is now on notice. that time, the megaAccording to the union, 24 retailer has grown different groups of Walmart Across North America, Walmart’s low wage, anti-union policies from the 122 stores it workers across Canada have are meeting opposition, from workers and their communities. first acquired in 1994 tried to join the UFCW since from Woolworths, ing the store. It claimed the Jonquiere 1994. In every one of those cases, to 391 outlets employing over 91,000 location was unprofitable. Walmart has done whatever it can to Canadians today. However, in a nine-year legal battry to convince them otherwise. And right from its jump into tle by the UFCW on behalf of the “Year after year, Walmart uses dirty Canada, Walmart’s been clear it will terminated workers that finally came tricks to stop its associates from exerdo anything to keep unions out of before Canada’s top court this past cising their democratic right to join a its stores. In fact, one of its first June, Walmart’s dishonesty was finally union,” says Meinema. “The Supreme actions was to exclude the purchase exposed. The justices concluded that Court ruling sends a message that no of any unionized Woolworth-owned Walmart was acting inconsistently with one is above the law. Woolco outlets when it bought out normal business practices – the store “Employers must respect the law the dying retail chain. was performing well and Walmart had and the rights of their employees It wasn’t until September 2004 even promised bonuses for employees. when making business decisions.” that a successful organizing drive There simply was no good reason to NEIL M ONCKTON took place at a Canadian Walmart, close the Walmart in Jonquiere while GETTY IMAGES PHOTO

The B.C. Labour Relations Board has ruled that IKEA breached the province’s labour code by bargaining in bad faith. The July 24 decision found that IKEA bargained directly with employees and through a website posting that offered an extra $2.50 an hour, additional unspecified weekend premiums and other enhancements to employees who would cross the picket line. The LRB also revealed that IKEA was trying to induce the workers, represented by Teamsters Local 213, to abandon the union and bypass its exclusive bargaining agent rights. The LRB has ordered IKEA to pay damages to the union, remove the offending web posting, and stop paying monetary incentives. Teamsters Business Representative Anita Dawson says the union is extremely pleased with the decision. “This shows IKEA for what it is; a company which makes billions of dollars a year in profits yet refuses to negotiate to bring an end to this dispute but is willing to underhandedly pay more than what was in the last offer they gave us.” IKEA locked its employees out on May 13, 2013, over 15 months ago.

Supreme Court rules against Walmart

It’s a new era at the CLC – meet Hussan Yussuff

I My intention is to build a more inclusive and proactive movement.

I believe a better world is possible. I wake up every morning with the intent to contribute as much as I can to making this happen. It’s an honour for me as the new CLC president to be able to lead us at this important time in history. In the last eight years, the federal government without any hesitation, has been doing more to roll back the rights that we have taken for granted for decades in this country. The labour movement has suffered systematic attacks on our rights and social programs, and I think our current government has unions in their crosshairs. In the last year-and-a-half, workers have been legislated back to work six times. This government is sending the message loud and clear that negotiations are no longer about workers appropriately improving their lives. This type of behaviour needs to stop. The CLC is going to fight to stop that kind of attack and do whatever is necessary to ensure this government understands that if they want to keep waging war

on us, we’re going to respond. As a movement, we need to show Canadians that we are standing up for the rights of all workers, so that everyone can enjoy the benefits that we have gained in the trade union movement. A large portion of the public does not support our movement. They see the divide of better pensions and wages for unionized workers versus non-union workers. We need to bridge this divide by sharing the merits of our work for all Canadians. My intention is to build a more inclusive and proactive movement. This can be done through recognition and support for labour federations and labour councils; for women, workers of colour, Aboriginal workers, youth, LGBTQ and workers with disabilities. It is clear that a fully united and effective labour movement must speak on behalf of all its members and take action to achieve a better life for all working Canadians. H U SSAN YU SSU FF • CLC PRESIDEN T

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Quebec migrant workers organize to push back against racist policies, corrupt employers As the controversy surrounding Canada’s temporary foreign workers program continues to pit Canadian-born workers against their foreign counterparts, little is being done to address the substandard, often dangerous conditions these workers are forced to endure.

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ncreasingly, employers are using Canada’s “guest worker programs” to access a vulnerable international labour pool and drive down wages, creating unnecessary hostility against migrant workers in the process. And despite a temporary foreign worker population that has grown to more than 330,000 since 2002 – when Ottawa expanded its guest worker programs to include “low-skilled” positions – immigrant settlement services have been drastically cut in most provinces. Once these workers arrive in Canada, they are largely at the mercy of their employer with few services to assist them and fewer still to advocate for decent working conditions. As a result, many temporary workers coming to Canada end up isolated, with little or no information about their rights or how to protect themselves from unscrupulous employers. Organizations like the Immigrant Workers Centre in Montreal, however, are helping to fill the gap. Run by a handful of paid organizers and a group of dedicated volunteers (many who are, or who have been,

The origins of the IWC are deeply rooted in the immigrant communities who have long worked in the most exploitative industries in Montreal. migrant workers themselves), the IWC has the appearance of a much bigger operation given the quality and quantity of the work produced. Volunteers teach language classes, workshops on occupational health and safety, and employment standards. Law students offer a weekly legal clinic. Workers can get help to access employment insurance, address workplace problems, find information about their employment and social rights, and much more. The origins of the IWC are deeply rooted in the immigrant communities who have long worked in the most exploitative industries in Montreal. Organizers from the FilipinoCanadian community, who were working to unionize Filipino workers in the textile industry, along with their academic allies, founded the centre to create a political space for organizing,

workers from a small town about two hours away from Montreal planned to drive to Montreal after their shift ended at 11 p.m. However, their employer arbitrarily extended their shift to 4 a.m, then again to 7 a.m. Instead of attending, they sent a message of solidarity, and regrets for their absence. But after so many hours of working on the kill floor, ‘where the pigs sound like children’, the emotional and physical toll of their job prevented them from making the trip.

based on a grassroots model. hangouts week after week. But after Skeptical of service-based models of two years, organizers had developed organizing, the IWC organizers knew a core group of workers in each main that supporting workers to develop industry where migrant workers are their skills and confidence to selfpresent. advocate and lead campaigns was a Initially, organizers offered workway of building stronger, more endurshops on problems that migrant ing resistance. IWC organizer Joey Caluguay says the centre was conceived of “as a labour, education and campaign centre, for workers and their families to feel safe and to support their efforts to get organized and fight back.’’ It is this very powerful idea and practice of rank and file leadership development that is a core value of the centre and key to their organizing model. Since 2000, the IWC has developed considerable credibility for its capacity to organize and advocate. It has taken LUIGI PASTO PHOTO on, and won, complex www.luigipasto.com Employment Insurance and occupational health and safety cases, helped Volunteers with the Immigrant Workers Centre, pictured above with organizer Joey Caluguay workers recover tens of (right), are central to supporting workers to develop the skills and confidence necessary to thousands of dollars in self-advocate and lead campaigns. unpaid overtime and overpaid income workers face every day, such as how to Experiences such as this are constant tax, developed a program combining file an occupational health and safety reminders that the stakes are high for workcomputer literacy with labour educacomplaint, employment standards, or ers, and that this is a long-term project. tion, developed a guide for migrant file an income tax report. “We’re pushing a boulder up the workers regarding their rights, and In the beginning, Joey notes that it hill, always, but witnessing the perthe list goes on. was the staff that gave workshops and sonal transformation process after But most importantly, the centre organized the meetings. Now, “the workers have been involved for a empowers workers to organize colmembers are becoming their own while...that is the seed of what we’re lectively and advocate for themselves. organizers and educators.’’ working for,’’ says Joey. “Case work is important to underIn all, 100 people participated Of the more than 44,000 migrant stand what’s going on,” explains Joey, in the founding of the association. workers in Quebec, most live and “but the approach has to be based on That day was full of learning about work in Montreal. They come from case work as an workers’ rights Tunisia, Guatemala, the Philippines, organizing tool, and witnessing Spain, Italy, Mauritius, Bangladesh not a social work “We’re pushing a boulder up the testimony, and Indonesia, among other exercise.’’ shared in several countries. The success the hill, always, but witnessing languages, of They work in many of Quebec’s of this approach workers from major industries: agriculture, linguisthe personal transformation was evident at many different tic testing labs, telecommunications, the founding in process after workers have countries and aerospace and machine parts producNovember 2013 many different tion, slaughterhouses, landscaping, of the Association been involved for a while... industries. restaurants, industrial laundry, and of Temporary that is the seed of what we’re It also set recycling plants. Foreign Workers the principle JENNIFER WHITESIDE working for.’’ (ATFW). demands of the MONTREAL WRITER & RESEARCHER For years, the association – IWC worked to make contact with access to permanent residency, workThe IWC does not have charitable ers’ rights, and support services for all temporary foreign workers across tax status. You can help support the migrant workers. Quebec. centre through paypal at this link: One group of workers was notably It is painstaking work – distributhttp://iwc-cti.org/lattet-tfwa/ absent, however. ing leaflets at metro stations or at the local Tim Horton’s or other worker A group of Filipino slaughterhouse

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Facilities members ratify agreement HEU members have voted 65 per cent in favour of ratifying a five-year collective agreement that includes 5.5 per cent in general wage increases and a 500 FTE cap on contracting out. The June vote includes members of 10 other unions also covered by the agreement. HEU’s secretary-business manager Bonnie Pearson says the new contract provides some stability and certainty for members whose workplaces have been disrupted by restructuring and privatization. And she said the strong strike mandate delivered by members in May gave the union bargaining committee

BALANCING IT ALL

the backing they needed to force employers to step back from the huge concessions they were demanding from workers. “We now have an opportunity to spend some time educating members about their agreement and to put an emphasis on enforcement,” says Pearson. The new collective agreement also includes a transition to a joint administration of benefits, renewed funding for the FBA Education Fund, and restoration of previously frozen vacation day accumulation. In addition, there are modest improvements to evening, night, weekend and on-call differentials and to the transportation allowance.

The negotiations took place against the backdrop of the government’s so-called “economic stability” mandate. The wage increases contained in the agreement reflect the pattern that had been established by other public sector unions last fall. “Despite the narrow bargaining mandate established by government for health employers, we were able to secure improvements in several areas including limits on six-day rotations and a joint union-employer study on the health risks of shift work,” says Pearson. There are more than 270 occupational classifications and 47,000 workers covered by the agreement.

Celebrate support workers on August 26 “Health thrives with support.” That’s the theme of HEU’s seventh annual Support Workers’ Day which will be celebrated on August 26. Quality support services are vital to the delivery of quality care. HEU support workers carry out critical roles on the health care team in housekeeping, dietary, laundry, transportation, and in the supply chain. But these jobs are often invisible to the public and even to other health care workers. So on August 26, the HEU support workers’ subcommittee encourages locals to organize a visible event in the workplace to honour support workers.

WHY CLASS SIZE MATTERS

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HEU to meet with Seniors Advocate HEU has secured a meeting with B.C.’s new Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie to discuss a range of problems affecting staff and residents in the province’s long-term care facilities. The early September meeting is part of the union’s ongoing campaign calling for badly needed improvements in residential care delivery. Of primary concern is chronic understaffing in many residential care facilities, which members say

PATTY GIBSON

High school teacher TARA EHRCKE is an outspoken advocate for better learning and teaching conditions in B.C.’s public school system.

ike most teachers in B.C.’s public school system, Tara Ehrcke’s got a lot on her plate. On any given day, she’s dealing with numerous competing challenges to meet the needs of her students. And she’s doing it in an environment that is increasingly overcrowded and where the make-up of the student population is increasingly complex. A high school math and computer education teacher by profession, Ehrcke is also the parent of a teenage daughter, an activist in her union, the author of a regular online blog, and a passionate voice for better learning conditions in B.C. classrooms. In the midst of the contract dispute between B.C. teachers and the provincial government, Ehrcke talked with the Guardian about two core issues that have reached the tipping point in our public classrooms: class size and class composition. Having found her first job in a private school, where she taught for one semester before she was able to land a position in a Victoria public school,

Please email photos and a brief description of your local’s Support Workers’ Day activities to: <supportworkers@heu.org>.

“It’s not just that there were fewer students in the private classroom, between 12 and 18, there was more adult supervision everywhere…at break time in the playground, in the hallways, during assemblies in the gym.”

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Ehrcke was astounded by the difference between the two. “It’s not just that there were fewer students in the private classroom, between 12 and 18, there was more adult supervision everywhere…at break time in the playground, in the hallways, during assemblies in the gym,” she says. “The impact of 30 students to one teacher in a public school goes way beyond the classroom,” she says. “It means the environment overall is loud, chaotic, crowded and there aren’t enough adults to be able to

monitor and intervene on inappropriate behaviour.” As to the impact inside the classroom, Ehrcke describes it this way: “Your starting point is 30 children for five hours a day, every day, with all their individual needs and personal behaviours. There are students living in poverty, students with behaviour problems, students with high anxiety, students with diagnosed and undiagnosed learning or intellectual disabilities, and more students with autism.” A loud, over-stimulating environment, she says, is exactly what can trigger challenging behaviours and unpredictable events. Hence, a significant part of any given day is not only dealing with individual learning concerns, but also dealing with students with very serious learning, social and emotional needs. “Your job is to ensure the safety and well-being of all those children. And yet, you have so little control when it’s you and 30 children,” says Ehrcke. “No teacher wants the anxious child to fall apart in their classroom, or a child with autism to have a meltdown, or unpredictable outbursts of violent behaviour.” As for the learning component, she says, “You aren’t just preparing a single lesson. You have to build-in design adaptations, modifications, and in some cases whole individual programs for each child at the level they are at.” It’s this reality that has made class size and composition such a critical issue for B.C. teachers. It affects the whole school – the quality of education for students and the working conditions for teachers. “Working and learning conditions are completely inter-related. Reacting, responding, managing all of these pressures on a constant basis really takes its toll on teachers, who can be under so much stress they can barely cope.” In Victoria, one in 10 teachers over a five-year period will need a stress-related leave. As she states in her online blog Staffroom Confidential: “The ‘public’ in public school does not just mean providing a building with some tired teachers to deliver a curriculum measured on some standardized tests. A good public school system will provide high quality opportunities to every single child. While our public schools have many wonderful programs and many dedicated teachers, the sad truth is that there are also overcrowded classrooms, children falling behind, and a workforce exhausted from trying to fill in the gaps.”


puts themselves and their residents at risk. “Many long-term care homes simply don’t have enough staff, 24/7, to provide the standard of care any one of us would want for ourselves and our loved ones,” says HEU secretary-business manager Bonnie Pearson. An HEU project initiated last fall under the banner Time to Care brought to light a number of pressing issues facing care aides and other health care assistants working in long-term care facilities. “By far, the top concern reported by participating members was short-staffing and the risks associated with it,” says Pearson. HEU will also press for greater movement on a

number of recommendations coming from the B.C. Ombudsperson’s landmark investigation into seniors’ care, including the need to create enforceable standards of care and better protections for residents and workers disrupted by large scale staff turnover that result from contracting out. “We look forward to a meaningful and productive discussion on the issues that matter most to our members and the residents in their care,” says Pearson. The Seniors Advocate has a broad mandate to monitor system-wide issues affecting the well-being of B.C. seniors and make recommendations to government.

Pharmacare update A policy grievance filed by HEU, on behalf of the Facilities Bargaining Association (FBA), has resolved some problems encountered during the implementation of the Pharmacare tie-in, bargained in 2010. A settlement reached between the FBA and the Health Employers Association of BC (HEABC) restores coverage for 10 specific high-use drugs for members who were prescribed those medications under the previous drug plan. In addition, members who were charged fees by doctors for Special Authority Requests on or after December 1, 2012 will also be reimbursed upon completion of an Extended Health claim form, which includes the original receipt

and relevant information. Members who had an approved claim for one of the listed drugs six months before the Pharmacare tie-in came into effect – December 1, 2012 to June 1, 2013 – can now be reimbursed if they paid out-of-pocket for any of the 10 specific drugs listed in the agreement. And they will be covered for those drugs going forward. Members who stopped taking one of the 10 listed drugs under the new plan, but had an approved claim between December 1, 2012 and June 1, 2013 can also receive coverage for that drug going forward.

Pacific Blue Cross will contact all members or dependents who qualify for this coverage. Members do not need to contact the union themselves to qualify. The parties also clarified which Pharmacare rules are applicable to FBA members, including the price per pill limit. FBA members are entitled to a dispensing fee reimbursement of either $9 (as per the previous collective agreement) or the Pharmacare maximum, whichever is higher. The Pharmacare program was agreed to in the 2012 round of FBA bargaining, and came into effect for members on June 1, 2013. That agreecontinued on page 14

ON THE JOB

BRENDA WHITEHALL

Media production specialist ROB LYONS is using his unique skills set to communicate and educate through cutting-edge technology.

HEALTH CARE BEHIND THE LENS

I

t’s always intriguing to unearth an obscure HEU job that pushes the work from behind-the-scenes into the spotlight. For Rob Lyons, a media production specialist at Children’s and Women’s, his job is actually behind a lens. “People find it unbelievable that this job even exists,” says Lyons, who joined HEU in 2011. “I have a pretty wide range of duties: video production, photography, live webcasts, graphic design, sound recording. Part of what I really like about the job is the variety. “We also do a lot of intricate and highly skilled computer work, and provide technical support to all the onsite classrooms and lecture halls. “The most exciting part of this is programming the high-fidelity mannequins in the simulation lab, and running full medical scenarios there. A team from Women’s just won an award for work that was based on some scenarios that we contributed to.” With less than 12 media production specialists (also called media services technicians) in B.C., the scope of work is incredibly diverse. Working for both Women’s and Children’s foundations, Lyons does editorial and clinical photography for surgeons and clinics, such as plastic surgery; and films surgical procedures for educational purposes.

“I do a lot for the foundations’ magazines, whether we’re putting a kid on the cover or shooting a profile of a doctor. Sometimes, we’ll do photos of lab stuff, but it’s mostly if they’re doing an article on someone or they need a photo for an annual report or a medical journal.” He says his favourite duty is filming surgeries. “It’s kind of exciting because it’s a pretty serious situation. But I think that’s where we make the most contribution because it’s the most clinical aspect of our job.” Lyons works closely with the surgical team to avoid obstructing the process. “The surgeons are great to work with, friendly and very accommodating. They’ll tell you when you can move in, or

ask you to get over their shoulder and get a close up of something. It’s a lot more cooperative than I thought it would be. I thought I would just be a fly on the wall in the corner, but they really let you get involved and get close to get what they want.” Interestingly, his background as an athlete prepared him for handling the O.R. more than any clinical training. “I was a skateboarder for over 25 years, so I was no stranger to the emergency room and getting stitches. But I think you get disconnected looking through the camera. I can’t watch it on TV, to be honest. I don’t have the stomach to watch surgery on television. But when I’m in the operating room, it’s very differ“The surgeons are ent and doesn’t seem great to work with, to bother me at all. I actually want to get friendly and very closer to see more.” accommodating. Although the Vancouver native They’ll tell you when mostly trained on the job, he has an extenyou can move in, or sive film background, ask you to get over working independently on TV shows their shoulder and and websites after graduating from film get a close up of school. something.” “Before this, I shot things like fashion videos and corporate mining communications – or worked on television shows, like sci-fi shows – so it’s all kinda fringey and materialistic, entertainment. But being able to use my skills and abilities to contribute to a community social cause like health care is a pretty rare opportunity.” Lyons got involved in the union through a Job Review Request, which he says was a big learning experience and his first step into activism. “I’ve been really thankful for all of the support from the union. I’ve seen that there’s a real need to have people supporting the union the way they support us.”

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continued from page 13

ment linked members’ prescription drug coverage to the list of drugs covered by the B.C. government’s Fair Pharmacare program. For more information, visit <www.heu.org>.

New care aide schedules

Following HEU’s successful grievance regarding the Vancouver Island Health Authority’s handling of HCA/ care aide postings at Royal Jubilee and Victoria General Hospital earlier this year, the health authority agreed to implement the arbitrator’s recommendations and create new postings. At press time, most new postings had been made available to care staff. Prior to the January post-

SEPTEMBER OCTOBER NOVEMBER DECEMBER

SEPTEMBER 1 Labour Day

OCTOBER 1

Trades and Maintenance Day

OCTOBER 18

Health Care Assistant Day

OCTOBER 22-24 Provincial Executive Meeting

NOVEMBER 2-7 HEU 29th Biennial Convention

NOVEMBER 24-28

B.C. Federation of Labour Convention

DECEMBER 1 World AIDS Day

DECEMBER 3

International Day of Persons with disAbilities

DECEMBER 6

Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

DECEMBER 10

Human Rights Day

DECEMBER 8-12 Provincial Executive Meeting

PUBLICATIONS MAIL AGREEMENT NUMBER 40007486

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ings, HEU had strongly objected to VIHA’s process, their proposed six-day rotations, the inclusion of days, evenings and nights in the same rotations, and the increased use of part-time positions.

Blue Poppy contest winners HEU’s Persons with disAbilities standing committee’s third annual Blue Poppy contest winners are: In the 8-15 year-old category, Tristan Coleman of Penticton (Robert Coleman) took first place and won an iPad. Second place winner Amrit Kaur Jaswal of Vancouver (Kuljeet Kaur Jaswal) won an iPad Mini; and runner-up Mackenzie Jones of Skidegate (Nadine

Jones) won an iPod Shuffle. In the 2-7 year-old category, Tyeshia Bailey of Surrey (Suzi Rothenburger) won the first prize iPod Touch. Second place winner Sophia With of Nelson (Eileen With) won an iPod; and runner-up Liam Erbemish of Revelstoke (Carolyn Chwyl) won an iPod Shuffle.

Bridging program for regulated pharmacy techs extended HEU and Lower Mainland Pharmacy Services have agreed to extend the deadline for conversions under an agreement covering Regulated Pharmacy Technicians. HEU members now have until November 2015 to com-

plete bridging courses under the agreement. The original deadline was November 2013, and that had been previously extended to November 2014. Members in pharmacy who complete their bridging and register with the College of Pharmacists within the newly extended timeline will become Regulated pharmacy Technicians. They will keep their existing position without displacement or reposting, and receive the new higher rate of pay (grid 32). Since HEU and the employer agreed to the conversion process, more than 300 Pharmacy members across the Lower Mainland have completed the bridg-

ing program and have converted. More are scheduled to write their final exam in September 2014. The union has established a similar extension with Interior Health Authority and is looking to establish similar extensions, where appropriate, for Pharmacy Technicians elsewhere in the province. The FBA Education Fund was renewed in the most recent round of Facilities bargaining, and will be open for member applications shortly. This union fund has supported Pharmacy Techs interested in pursuing the regulated title. Members can receive up to $2,400 towards their bridging.

Making art for social change

Q

The exhibit, which included workshops and dialogues, is the uestion: What happens when you bring together first phase of the AGEWELL Chataquata Project, a partnership 12 HEU members working in seniors’ care to crebetween Arts Health BC and Judith Marcuse Projects which is ate progressive art? funded by the City of Vancouver. Answer: An intricate, colourful art piece that It is also part of the larger Arts for Social Change research expresses the realities, hopes and contradictions project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research that mark their daily experiences as care-providCouncil of Canada. ers. Arts Health BC Executive Director Nicki Kahnamoui says Entitled Help Us, Help Them, the entry was one of more than the HEU piece was unique in that it was one of the few entries 100 submissions chosen for public presentation in the AGEWELL that came from care-providers and the only artwork that was Chataquata Project Exhibition, Dialogues and Workshops held produced by a group. in Vancouver during late Regarding the overall exhiMay and early June. bition, she says, “What really HEU education director stood out was the diversity Juli Rees was thrilled with the and range of creative exprescollective art piece produced sions. People were thirsty to by HEU members. express themselves.” “After talking about their Of the more than 100 own feelings in providing entries, the exhibit included a care, and their frustrations wide range of creative media when they are not able to from poetry, pottery and visuprovide the quality of care al art to photography, sculptheir residents need and ture, performances, memory deserve, members worked boxes, and much more. together with a graphic “I loved the variety and recorder and multimedia range, both in terms of the artist to generate a truly media used and the topremarkable piece of art.” HEU members’ contribution to the AGEWELL Chataquata ics being covered…policy She says the piece speaks Project Exhibition entitled Help Us, Help Them. issues, self-reflections, sex, to their vision of a “home disability, humour,” she says. with heart” while including the stresses and restrictions they “We had a painting of polar bears, for example, and at first contend with, as staff, in trying to make that happen. I thought ‘what does this have to do with seniors’ health?’ The art piece is a three-dimensional, cardboard-crafted “home” Until the care-provider dropping it off from a seniors’ home that incorporates felt and wool as its principle media. explained that painting was a method the 89-year-old resident The Artist’s Statement introducing the piece at the exhibit used to help manage chronic pain.” described it this way: Kahnamoui says the exhibit provided a way to reach out “We are frontline health care workers. We care for seniors to the community and encourage members of the public to in nursing homes, and often spend more time with them than express their thoughts and feelings about aging and seniors’ with our own families. well-being through the art medium of their choice. “Our struggle is finding the time to care for the daily physiNow that the exhibit is over, the project’s facilitators will identical needs and ongoing emotional needs of our aging residents. fy the major themes that emerged in the exhibit and invite further How can we provide a home with a heart, when there are so few dialogue on those topics from interested groups and individuals. of us to provide for those needs? We think it is important to You can learn more about the AGEWELL Chataquata Project help our residents live the final stage of their lives with respect at <info@icasc.ca>. and grace. Don’t you?”

G U A R D I A N • S U M M E R / F A L L

PATTY GIBSON

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EQUITY MATTERS Retirements Care aide Sherry Nornberg (Rotary Manor) retired May 28 after 25 years. Known as a leader and mentor to many people, Sherry was a labour council delegate who NORNBERG held many positions on her local executive, including OH&S, grievance committee, shop steward, and the political action committee. As a retiree, she plans to travel to New Orleans and Texas, and visit her family in Alberta. “Sherry never planned to be in Dawson Creek for so long,” says coworker Angie Bonazzo. “But the staff and management at Rotary are grateful she did. Rotary Manor will not be quite the same without her.” Co-workers, management and the residents will miss her. Enjoy your retirement, Sherry! After more than 15 years as an HEU member, Wendy Smith (Simpson Manor) retired on May 1. A cook at her facility for 30 years, she also served on her local executive for three years in the positions of senior trustee and senior SMITH trustee elect. “I find I am ready to retire, but am also kind of sad,” says Wendy. “I will miss all my coworkers – some I’ve known for 20-25 years.” Wendy plans to occasionally travel with her long-distance trucker husband. She looks forward to sleeping in every day, spending more time with her four grandchildren and enjoying life. She will be missed by all at Simpson Manor. Happy retirement, Wendy! The union wishes Thomas Vasa (Central City Care) the best in his retirement years. Thomas retired May 31 after 18 years as an HEU member, the last five as housekeeping supervisor. He has been active VASA on his local and has held the positions of secretary-treasurer and OH&S steward on the joint OH&S committee. Thomas started working with Central City Mission in 1975 and is proud to have

helped bring HEU to represent members at Central City Lodge. He is remembered as a caring, dedicated and hardworking member. In retirement, Thomas plans to do volunteer work, participate in badminton and tennis, spend time with his family and travel in the U.S. He will be greatly missed by staff and residents.

In Memoriam Mary Alexandra Black passed away in Kamloops on June 17 at the age of 101. Mary was the wife of William (Bill) M. Black, HEU’s first secretary-business manager. She was also a strong trade unionist who played an integral role in HEU’s history. The Heart of Health Care:

BLACK

The Story of the Hospital Employees’ Union had this to say about her activism: “Those who worked closely with her considered her almost as important as her husband in providing leadership during the union’s formative years. She was a trade unionist in her own right. Her father was a labour activist and a conscientious objector, a fact so outrageous in southern Ontario during the First World War that she was stoned by neighbourhood girls…Those familiar with Bill Black’s leadership were later unable to say where Bill Black’s contribution to HEU ended and Mary Black’s began.” Born in Stratford, Ontario, Mary was the eldest child of Rachael and Alexander McCormack, Scottish immigrants and pioneer social activists. Mary followed in her parents’ footsteps when she became the first secretary in the CCF’s Vancouver office. On December 7, 1934, Mary spoke on behalf of unemployed women before Premier Pattullo and George Pearson, the Minister of Labour. While preparing her presentation for the Joint Committee on Unemployment, Mary met

1.800.663.5813 or 604.438.5000 Lower Mainland Ask for Equity Officer Sharryn Modder

William Black, whom she married in 1936. Bill became HEU’s secretary-business manager in 1944. Mary later became an HEU staff person, the only one listed in HEU’s Constitution and By-Laws (Article 26 - Honourary Members). Solidarity forever, Mary, for you made the union strong.

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

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.

Staff Retirement

FIRST NATIONS

women@heu.org

HEU bids farewell to longtime communications officer Margi Blamey who retired on July 1. Margi joined HEU’s communications department in 1998 after spending years as a union activ- BLAMEY ist with roots in the Public Service Alliance of Canada, and as a communications specialist in the federal government. During her time at HEU, Margi worked on a number of projects including the Women’s and Political Action committees, seniors’ care issues and as a longtime board member of the BC Health Coalition. She also handled much of the union’s media relations. Margi’s colleagues will remember her poise and professionalism as well as her sharp analysis and wideranging knowledge of health care policy. A dedicated feminist, Margi also worked with several women’s rights organizations on behalf of the union. In her retirement, Margi is looking forward to spending more time with her grandchildren, and ramping up her daily workouts.

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.

WOMEN’S

TALK TO US TOLL-FREE! PROVINCIAL OFFICE

• Burnaby Site 1-800-663-5813

REGIONAL OFFICES Northern Office

• Prince George 1-800-663-6539 Okanagan Office

• Kelowna 1-800-219-9699

Vancouver Island Offices

• Victoria Site 1-800-742-8001 • Comox Site 1-800-624-9940 Kootenay Office

• Nelson 1-800-437-9877

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, Ken Robinson, Carolyn Unsworth, Woody Laforest, Kelly Knox PROVINCIAL EXECUTIVE

Victor Elkins President Bonnie Pearson Secretary-Business Manager Donisa Bernardo Financial Secretary Ken Robinson 1st Vice-President Carolyn Unsworth 2nd Vice-President Woody Laforest 3rd Vice-President Kelly Knox Senior Trustee Jim Calvin Trustee Betty Valenzuela Trustee Lynnette Kingston Regional Vice-President Fraser Jodi George Regional Vice-President Fraser Shelley Bridge Regional Vice-President Interior Barb Nederpel Regional Vice-President Interior

Dawn Thurston Regional Vice-President Interior Louella Vincent Regional Vice-President Vancouver Coastal John Fraser Regional Vice-President Vancouver Coastal Beverly Trynchy Regional Vice-President Vancouver Coastal Tracey Beckley Regional Vice-President North Carol Connor Regional Vice-President North Bill McMullan Regional Vice-President Vancouver Island Barb Biley Regional Vice-President Vancouver Island Carol Bunch 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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A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH

1958 – HEU convention delegates call for a national public health insurance program.

Between the 60s and the 80s, HEU grew rapidly in numbers and strength, building an unprecedented level of activism across the union.

1966 – Federal government passes Medicare legislation. 2014 – Medicare opponents go to B.C. Supreme Court to expand for-profit health care.

{ Part two of our three-part series on the history of HEU }

HEU members fought for Medicare. Now, let’s defend it.

Learn more at bchealthcoalition.ca Medicare founder Tommy Douglas

AGREEMENT NUMBER 40007486

SUMMER/FALL 2014 • VOLUME 32 NUMBER 2 • THE VOICE OF THE HOSPITAL EMPLOYEES’ UNION

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T H R P O R W O T Y EC T C A

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

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Profile for Hospital Employees' Union

HEU Guardian: Summer 2014  

HEU Guardian: Summer 2014  

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