Season’s Greetings AND HAPPY NEW YEAR
AGREEMENT NUMBER 40007486
Guardian HOSPITAL EMPLOYEES’ UNION
WINTER 2016 • VOL. 34 • NO. 3
SPECIAL CONVENTION ISSUE
RETURN TO The Guardian 5000 North Fraser Way Burnaby, B.C. V5J 5M3
Delegates to HEU’s 30th biennial set agenda for the next two years.
Joshua Berson PHOTO
Guardian HOSPITAL EMPLOYEES’ UNION
Convention gets down to business
Delegates build culture of inclusion and solidarity
Convention recap Members throw support behind goals of equity and social justice | 8/9
Talking seniors’ care NDP seniors’ critic on the issues affecting residents, workers | 5
Better can happen here B.C. Fed convention sets sights on May’s provincial election | 10 Joshua Berson PHOTO
8 5 COLUMNS Viewpoint
Members are energized to take on the challenge for change | 6
To build stronger locals, we must be truly welcoming and inclusive of all our members | 6
On the Job
HEU member is helping change women’s lives in her community | 13
UNION POWER | More than 600 HEU activists gathered at Vancouver’s Hyatt Regency Hotel in early November to develop the union’s action plan for the next two years.
WHEN THE GAVEL came
down to adjourn HEU’s 30th biennial convention, delegates headed home empowered and inspired to carry out the next phase of the union’s action plan. During the weeklong convention, at Vancouver’s Hyatt Regency Hotel, more than 600 HEU activists debated and voted on resolutions and constitutional amendments on behalf of their locals. They also elected a new Provincial Executive, re-elected president Victor Elkins and financial secretary Donisa Bernardo, and ratified the appointment of HEU’s secretary-business manager Jennifer Whiteside. The convention kicked off with a lively mini-concert by Vancouver hip-hop entertainers Ndidi Cascade and Oluwa Toni, followed by an interactive First Nations greeting by Rebecca Duncan of the Squamish Nation. That collective, feel-good energy set an engaging and positive tone for this year’s convention. From the opening session to adjournment, it was clear HEU members are not only passionate about their work, but dedicated to their union’s fight for fairness, social justice, and human rights. Highlights included a discussion on defending public health care by BC Health Coalition organizer Adam Lynes-Ford and
Dr. Rupinder Brar of Canadian Doctors for Medicare (see page 12); a keynote address by BC NDP Leader John Horgan, who sketched out his party’s vision; and inspiring remarks from Grand Chief Stewart Phillip and Joan Phillip. Several labour leaders also brought solidarity greetings. They included B.C. Federation of Labour president Irene Lanzinger, Health Sciences Association president Val Avery, Vancouver District and Labour Council president Joey Hartman, CUPE National’s president Mark Hancock and secretary treasurer Charles Fleury, CUPE BC president Paul Faoro, and Unifor 468-W president Janine Brooker, who delivered a message of unity from the HEU staff union. They all emphasized HEU members’ critical role in health care and acknowledged the victories achieved when working together. As Hancock noted in his remarks, quoting Greek philosopher Pericles, “Just because you don’t take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.” Lanzinger praised HEU for its leading advocacy role on key issues affecting workers, including equity, health and safety, wages and benefits.
“HEU has such a long and proud history of fighting for the rights of your members, of making contributions to the larger labour movement and being at the forefront of the bigger fight for social justice in this province,” she said. Grand Chief Phillip told delegates, “Activism is about empowerment, it’s never about power. It’s about our ability to hold each other up in this fight to protect our interests.” In addition to carrying out the serious business of convention, delegates took the opportunity to network and enjoy a number of social events.
“Activism is about empowerment, it’s never about power. It’s about our ability to hold each other up in this fight to protect our interests.” They included a cultural celebration at equity night, a discussion on men’s mental health by Dr. John Ogrodniczuk at the men’s gathering, a Q&A with NDP MLA Melanie Mark along with musical and comedy guests at the women’s gathering, and a talk on affordable housing by NDP MLA David Eby at the young workers’ social.
Winter 2016 | GUARDIAN 1
COMMENT Jennifer Whiteside | Secretary-Business Manager HEU is lucky to have such committed members who believe in our union – who are ready and willing to stand up for their own rights – and who are consistent champions for the rights of others.
There is courage everywhere in our union second time in two years, they took their fight – loudly and clearly – to the media, their community and the legislature. And when Vancouver Coastal told the citizens of Sechelt their public care facilities would be replaced by a private one, our members joined the community in massive numbers to say no. The fact is, we don’t back down from a fight. And there is courage everywhere in our union. Since our last convention, more than 3,000 health care workers voted to join or rejoin HEU, despite employer intimidation and threats. In that time, we bargained 63 collective agreements. And at 16 of those tables, members backed their bargaining teams with strong strike mandates. And I have to say, HEU is lucky to have such committed members who believe in our union – who are ready and willing to stand up for their own rights – and who are consistent champions for the rights of others. Truly, there is courage everywhere in our union. It’s at the heart of every fight we undertake to do what’s right for our members, our health and social service systems, and the communities we all live in. Thank you to each and every one of you. Because of you, we are heading into 2017 stronger and more committed than ever to take on the challenges the new year will bring.
THROWBACK HEU HISTORY
WITH OUR 30TH BIENNIAL CONVENTION behind us, and a new year upon us, we are heading into 2017 focussed on our plan to continue building member power right across our union. And that means using all the tools we have to bring the concerns and voices of HEU members to the forefront of every battle we wage, whether it’s in our workplaces, at the bargaining table, or in our communities. As I listened to delegate after delegate step up to make their voices heard on the convention floor, I was truly inspired by the insight and passion so many brought to the issues at hand. At the same time, I was pleased to be able to report on the difference HEU members are making on many fronts – taking on employers, fighting privatization, and speaking out for better care. There’s no question. Our members’ voices matter. When Vancouver Coastal Health switched cleaning contractors last year, members were at the centre of a campaign to keep their union. And when they fought back, they were heard. When Interior Health moved to privatize hospital laundry services, our members raised their voices across the region and campaigned hard – gaining the support of many local councils and more than 13,000 citizens who signed petitions. When members at Wexford Creek in Nanaimo were laid off for the
MAKING HISTORY UNDER THE BIG TOP It’s true. There was a time when HEU conventions were held under the now infamous big tent, hoisted in the Richmond Inn parking lot.
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And it was under that tent that delegates to the 20th biennial convention in 1996 adopted an historic constitutional amendment giving
formal standing to HEU’s equity committees – which set the stage for a profound cultural shift in the union that continues today.
Your union. Your paper.
HEU IS RAISING THE alarm about the loss of transparency and accountability that would result from an unprecedented sale of publicly funded seniors’ care facilities in B.C. to out-of-country investors. China’s Anbang Insurance Group has inked an agreement to take over B.C.’s largest private retirement home chain – Retirement Concepts – in a deal purported to be worth one billion dollars. More than 1,850 HEU members work at 12 of Retirement Concepts’ 22 sites. The current owners say they will continue to operate the company and that no changes to staffing are planned. But HEU secretary-business manager Jennifer Whiteside is concerned that the lucrative deal may entice other for-profit operators to cash out to foreign investors looking for safe real estate investments in B.C. “Over the last 15 years, the B.C. Liberal government has almost exclusively funded expansion of residential care in the for-profit sector while closing non-profit beds,” says Whiteside. “Right now, more than a third of our residential care capacity is in the for-profit sector. And those operators will all be looking very closely at the Anbang deal. “And what will stop offshore investors from deciding in the future that it’s more profitable to flip the real estate than to maintain and operate nursing homes?” Retirement Concepts is the largest contracted provider of subsidized residential care beds in B.C., representing about 10 per cent of the total. “We have to ask ourselves: is this
Caelie Frampton PHOTO
Feds court offshore investors
UNION CAMPAIGN | HEU’s campaign to raise staffing levels in B.C.’s seniors’ care homes is gaining traction with members and the public. Learn more at <carecantwait.ca>.
the model of care we think is best for frail B.C. seniors?” says Whiteside. “Will real estate deals trump care considerations – and how can our
“Right now, more than a third of our residential care capacity is in the for-profit sector. And those operators will all be looking very closely at the Anbang deal.” health authorities allocate resources and implement clinical and operational policies in a sector that is becoming less and less accountable and transparent?”
The size of the proposed takeover means that the federal government must approve the sale. HEU has written Navdeep Bains, the federal minister in charge, and encouraged him to extend the timelines for the review of the sale to allow for interested parties to share their views. Against this backdrop, the Globe and Mail has reported that Prime Minister Trudeau met with Chinese investors during a November 7 Liberal Party fundraiser, encouraging their investment in health care services for seniors. “So there is also a question of a perceived conflict of interest,” says Whiteside.
HEU WINS POLICY GRIEVANCE AT SUNRIDGE A B.C. arbitrator has ruled in favour of HEU’s policy grievance against a private care provider, citing collective agreement violations in the contracting out of work at Sunridge Place in Duncan. In July 2013, HEU served notice to bargain with Sunridge Place Limited Partnership for a renewed contract. But rather than negotiating, the employer announced plans to sell the facility. HEU continued to pursue negotiations with the new owner, Park Place, who repeatedly delayed responding to requests for vital information to launch the bargaining process. At the same time, Park Place signed a contract with CareCorp to contract out the work, resulting in 265 members losing their jobs and their union. In her decision, Arbitrator Irene Holden cited Park Place for violating the collective agreement’s contracting-out provisions, which required the company to share information and discuss alternatives to contracting out. Since then, Sunridge Place workers have rejoined HEU and settled a first collective agreement. HEU will now seek a remedy for the violation of the collective agreement.
YOUR UNION Community health retraining fund still available About 1,500 HEU members are covered by the multiunion Community Bargaining Association (CBA). And like their counterparts in the Facilities Bargaining Association, HEU’s community health workers were impacted by the BC Liberals’ 2002 contract-shredding legislation Bill 29. But as a result of a 2007 Supreme Court of Canada decision that ruled parts of Bill 29 to be unconstitutional, a compen-
sation settlement was reached between health unions, health employers and the provincial government. Since then, an ongoing fund has been operating to help retrain workers. If you were laid off after January 28, 2002 due to retendering, contracting out, or bumping from a CBA job, or if you’re currently working in community health but are interested in skills development, you may be eligible for reimbursement of training costs. Application forms and information are available on HEU’s web-
site at <www.heu.org/education/ community-health-retrainingfund>. You can also contact BCGEU representative James Cavalluzzo at 604-291-9611, or by email at <email@example.com>.
North Island transition agreements protect workers On November 18, after nearly two years of negotiations between HEU, St. Joseph’s General Hospital (SJGH) and Island Health, agreements were reached that will protect members’ rights in the transi-
tion to two new facilities being developed under the North Island Hospitals Project. The agreements include two labour adjustment plans for workers at SJGH and Campbell River Hospital, and a transfer agreement for SJGH employees to go to Island Health. Joint union-employer information meetings were recently held to provide impacted workers with details of the agreements and to answer any questions. Members are encouraged to contact their local executives for updates.
Winter 2016 | GUARDIAN 3
IT’S THE LAW
B.C. teachers score Supreme Court victory THE SUPREME COURT OF CANADA has sent another clear message that workers’ collective bargaining rights are protected under their right to freedom of association guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. On November 10, the Court ruled the B.C. government violated that right, when it passed legislation stripping class size protections from B.C. teachers’ collective agreements. The decision was a stunning victory for the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF), which called it “a vindication of all the years we have spent fighting the B.C. government’s unconstitutional legislation.” The case goes back to a January 2002 law (Bill 28), when the newly elected B.C. Liberal government imposed a collective agreement on the province’s teachers that eliminated existing language on classroom conditions. In a rare move, the Supreme Court’s ruling was handed down from the bench directly following the hearing. It overturned an earlier decision by the B.C. Court of Appeal, which had reversed a trial judge’s original finding in favour of the province’s teachers. And it follows a Supreme Court of Canada decision in 2007, which ended a five-year, HEUled court battle, and for the first time established collective bargaining as a charter-protected right. That landmark decision had also stemmed from similar legislation passed by the BC Liberals in 2002 (Bill 29), which shredded health care agreements and cleared the way for mass layoffs and privatization of health services. Known as the Health Services decision, it’s been the cornerstone of other major victories on labour rights, including this latest win by the BCTF and the 2015 Supreme Court win by the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour, which established the right to strike as a charter-protected right.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
Did you get your flu shot?
Government’s policy applies to all health care workers BESIDES RAIN and frigid temperatures, winter also brings influenza season, usually from late November to the end of March. According to Canada’s Public Health Agency, more than 7,000 Canadians were hospitalized last year with influenza, including 600 flu-related deaths. That’s why it’s important to review workplace flu shot policies – which are aimed at keeping health care workers and their vulnerable patients and residents safe – and to ensure HEU members know their rights and responsibilities in complying with established protocols. When the B.C. Ministry of Health introduced the controversial Health Care Worker Influenza Control Program Policy four years ago, a group of health care unions, led by HEU and HSA, filed a grievance around its implementation. As a result, the policy was modified in the summer of 2013. Original policy provisions required health workers to wear an identifying badge if they received the flu shot and to notify a supervisor if they knew of any policy violations – forcing workers to be “whistleblowers”. The revised policy removed the requirement to wear a badge and altered the language to read that workers were now “expected” rather
than “required” to report non-compliance. The unions also pushed back on the mandatory nature of the policy, particularly around wearing masks. But on October 23, 2013, an arbitrator upheld the employers’ directive that health care workers, who do not get a flu shot, must wear a mask at work throughout the flu season – even if there’s not a declared influenza outbreak. Since that ruling, all health personnel must provide proof they’ve had a flu shot. If not, they’re required to wear a mask. The employer must provide enough properly fitted and safe masks for all employees. And if workers decline to be immunized without justification – such as a medical reason supported by a physician – and still refuse to wear a mask, they may be subject to progressive discipline, including termination. Although the Ontario Nurses’ Association was successful in its “Vaccinate or Mask Policy” arbitration in 2015, B.C. is a different story as there’s clear language around vaccinations in our collective agreements (see facilities Article 6.02, for example). All workers in hospitals, care facilities and in community health are covered by this provincial policy. It also includes volunteers, outside contractors and visitors.
YOUR UNION HEU members mark Orange Shirt Day
BOSTON BAR | HEU’s Indigenous Peoples Standing Committee commemorated Orange Shirt Day with children attending a Boston Bar public school.
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HEU’s First Nations Standing Committee (now called the Indigenous Peoples Standing Committee) visited a public school in Boston Bar to share food, and deliver books and Every Child Matters T-shirts to all of the students to commemorate Orange Shirt Day (September 30). The committee, along with about 60 students, joined teachers and staff for a BBQ lunch to raise awareness in their community about the atrocious treatment of children in Canada’s residential school system.
Run by churches and funded by the Canadian government for more than a century, an estimated 150,000 First Nations, Métis and Inuit children were taken from their families and forced into residential schools to assimilate into white culture. The last residential school closed in 1996. But by then, thousands of Aboriginal survivors had come forward to tell horrific stories of abuse, eventually leading to the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada in 2008. The Orange Shirt Day movement was launched in 2013 to encourage
The simple act of caring is heroic. Edward Albert, actor
NDP OPPOSITION CRITIC
Selina Robinson on seniors’ care
The BC NDP opposition critic on seniors, Selina Robinson, sat down with the Guardian to talk about the state of residential care and what it means for seniors and the HEU members who deliver the care. Neil Monckton spoke with the CoquitlamMaillardville MLA in late November.
In my conversations and tours of residential care facilities, I am hearing there are not enough resources and not enough staff. When I talk to the care workers specifically, there’s also the issue of moral distress. They know what they need to be doing – but there’s not enough time. And I have certainly been hearing stories of really capable caregivers who truly love their residents – the people they care for – but they can’t do the job they are trained to do and the job they want to do. The way I see it, the number-crunchers are only looking at tasks. And they are not looking at the care, as well. Tasks are about how much time you need to give medication, to prepare a meal, or to give a bath. But care is about more than that. Care is about having a conversation. Care is about singing to patients, or stroking their hand, and just sitting with them. Care is about reading a book with them, or listening to them tell a story of their family. If the NDP is elected next May, we would start by putting in the necessary resources to ensure all publicly funded long-term care beds meet the province’s own minimum standards of care hours per resident per day. Right now, 80 per cent don’t, and that’s got to change. And we’d look at legislating staffing standards – enforceable standards – to make sure B.C.’s seniors get the care they need.
Canadians to wear orange in the spirit of healing and reconciliation. The colour orange was chosen because in 1973, a young girl named Phyllis Webstad proudly wore a new orange shirt on her first day at St. Joseph Mission Residential School, but it was stripped away from her and replaced by an institutional uniform.
Proposed Care Aide Registry change shifts costs, accountability The B.C. Ministry of Health recently released a discussion paper outlining their intention to
Neil Monckton PHOTO
As the opposition critic on seniors, what are the main concerns you hear about the care of seniors in the province’s residential care facilities?
Since 2001, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of facilities owned and operated by private companies. Many of these operators then contract out services to subcontractors and/or repeatedly flip contracts.
The lack of transparency and accountability for privately owned and operated companies in seniors’ care makes it difficult to assess the value received from these facilities, even though they are almost entirely subsidized by public dollars.
What would an NDP government do to counter the negative impact of these practices?
What would an NDP government do to strengthen transparency and accountability in this sector?
A John Horgan government would recognize that continuity of care for seniors is critical. We would look at some of those contracts and make sure operators could not lay off entire staffs. And there has to be some sort of successorship provisions to ensure workers who have been caring for these residents are able to continue to care for them, if a company changes hands. Because that’s crucial to relationshipbased care. In the end, all governments make choices. The choice facing us as British Columbians is do we want a government that thinks of seniors’ care as tasks to be accomplished? Or are they people to be cared for?
I sit on the public accounts committee for the legislature and I review the value for public dollars spent on a variety of government initiatives, but I have yet to see anything about residential care facilities. And that’s why I plan to ask the auditor general to take a look into spending on seniors’ care. We need to know how public dollars are being spent on the private sector’s delivery of seniors’ care. What value are we getting for the money? For example, I have certainly heard stories of some private operators spending less than five dollars a day per person for food which is unbelievable. Yet there’s no accountability right now in the system that says how much we should spend on food per person per day.
move the existing B.C. Care Aide and Community Health Worker Registry from oversight by health employers and unions, to a yetto-be-established nursing college. The proposed change would transfer the costs of regulation from employers and unions to individual care aides and community health workers, while ignoring the challenging caring conditions that exist on the frontlines of health care. The current registry model is intended to address incidents of abuse, and does so very effectively. The proposed model could hold individual care aides and community health workers responsible
for a wide range of systemic, quality of care issues over which they have no control. The current registry was established by the Ministry of Health, in collaboration with health unions and employers in 2010, to provide a fair investigation process at no cost to care aides, along with a standardized training curriculum. HEU will make concerns clear to the Ministry of Health, while continuing to pressure government to deal with the current staffing crisis in seniors’ care – where four out of five facilities do not have the funding to meet the ministry’s own minimum staffing guidelines.
HEU TV and online ads boost awareness of staffing crisis The union’s Care Can’t Wait television ad ran for three weeks in the fall, and the Facebook version of the popular ad has gone viral. Learn more at <carecantwait.ca>.
Winter 2016 | GUARDIAN 5
WORKING FOR YOU
HEU’S Research & Policy Department is the knowledge hub of the union, providing critical research and analysis for other HEU departments, including legal, communications, health and safety, and bargaining. The department heads the union’s membership database, networks with coalitions and other labour researchers, and liaises with the Living Wage for Families and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, among others. The team also files Freedom of Information requests to gather information for union campaigns and projects.
Caelie Frampton PHOTO
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE FACTS
Donisa Bernardo | Financial Secretary
We have tremendous work in store for 2017. Judging by convention, our members are mobilized and energized to take on the challenge for change.
AS 2016 DRAWS TO AN END,
people either reflect back on what they did or didn’t accomplish this year, or look ahead to what they hope to achieve in 2017. I tend to be futureoriented, while still paying homage to the past. When my family emigrated from Italy when I was 13 months old, my parents saw Canada as the land of opportunity in terms of having a better life and better access to social programs, like health care and education. My Dad worked for CN Rail. It was a union job with decent, family-supporting wages and benefits. My parents never took those benefits for granted. They recognized Canadians had to fight hard for those union wages, benefits and social programs to even exist.
Now, here we are facing the threat of having our safety net, including Medicare, yanked away from us. Just look at Dr. Brian Day’s lawsuit aimed at creating a private health care system. Canadians do not want a queue-jumping health scheme which favours those who can pay out-of-pocket, including for services already covered under Medicare. The Christy Clark government is hell-bent on privatizing more public services, downgrading jobs and wages – promoting a system that keeps hard-working people straddling the poverty line. It’s unacceptable in a province as wealthy as British Columbia. We have one of the lowest minimum wages in Canada. We have a housing affordability crisis. We lack affordable child care, and we still do not have a poverty reduction plan. That’s why we continue working with labour allies to promote a $15 an hour minimum wage. That’s also why we continue investing resources in campaigns to fight back against privatization, fight back against a two-tier health care system that gives preferential treatment to those who can afford to pay for private services, and fight back against any legislation which erodes our rights as workers, as British Columbians and as Canadians. And that’s why we need a provincial government who shares our values – preserving public health care, eradicating poverty, defending labour rights and our pension plans, addressing affordable child care, and tackling the seniors’ care crisis. We have tremendous work in store for 2017. And judging by convention, our members are mobilized and energized to take on the challenge for change, including a labour-friendly government. I wish you all a safe, peaceful and happy holiday season.
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Victor Elkins | President
PRESIDENT’S DESK Over the past two years, I’ve seen a real desire to take equity more seriously. I know there’s much more to do, but I believe we’re on the right track.
LOCALS ARE THE FOUNDATION of
HEU. If we’re to keep building our union power across this province, we need strong, functioning locals that can inspire, involve and mobilize members. As we continue to look for better ways to build stronger locals, it’s important to remember we can only do this if we’re truly welcoming and inclusive of all our members. Over the past two years, I’ve seen a real desire to take equity more seriously. I know there’s much more to do, but I believe we’re on the right track.
Language is an issue
Let’s look at the language we commonly use in the labour movement – he/she, brother/sister – does it reflect differences? Does it include or exclude? Some of our First Nations and transgender members tell us it excludes them. So, we need to address that. When we support equity-seeking members to become active in the union, we’re so much stronger for it. In looking ahead, many seasoned HEU activists are close to retirement. That’s why we need to engage with and recruit younger members. After all, it’s the younger generation who will be the future of our union.
Supporting new activists
As an organization, we seek opportunities to support new activists wherever possible. Those opportunities often inspire members to champion issues in their communities, like one HEU sister who initiated a local “red dress” campaign after attending the Summer Institute for Women, and the two HEU sisters who learned about the impact of domestic violence in the workplace during CLC’s winter school. They later did a presentation at the Fraser regional meetings on the issue. I’m honoured to be an HEU member, especially because our union is committed to achieving justice for all. We have a long and proud history of working for meaningful change in all areas of our lives – at home, at work, and in our communities. It’s why we confront sexism, racism, homophobia and transphobia. It’s why we promote the rights of people with disabilities. It’s why we fight for better public health care and education. It’s why we fight to end poverty. And it’s why we stand with Indigenous peoples and speak out for reconciliation. When we stand together, we are always stronger. And we need that now in the world more than ever. Wishing you and your family a warm holiday season.
HEU’S 30TH BIENNIAL CONVENTION • OCT. 30 - NOV. 4 • HYATT REGENCY VANCOUVER
Meet your new Provincial Executive A major order of business at every HEU convention is electing the union’s Provincial Executive. These 22 women and men – including secretary-business manager Jennifer Whiteside – are charged with carrying out the wishes of convention and leading the union over the next two years. FULL-TIME OFFICERS
REGIONAL VICEPRESIDENTS – INTERIOR
cardiac perfusion assistant PHSA Amalgamated
Jennifer Whiteside FINANCIAL SECRETARY
Donisa Bernardo pharmacy assistant Kamloops/ Thompson
ward aide St. Paul’s
Betty Valenzuela SENIOR TRUSTEE health records clerk Vancouver General
Talitha Dekker TRUSTEE accounts receivable clerk Kamloops/ Thompson
VICE-PRESIDENTS Barb Nederpel 1ST VICEPRESIDENT clerk/care aide Kamloops/ Thompson
REGIONAL VICEPRESIDENTS – FRASER Tracy Struck portfolio clerk Royal Columbian
Rhonda Bruce rehab assistantacute care South Okanagan
Shelley Bridge care aide Columbia View
Jody Berg care aide Hillside-Pioneer, Salmon Arm
REGIONAL VICEPRESIDENTS – NORTH Mike Cartwright power engineer University Hospital of Northern B.C.
Lisa Crema Ken Robinson 2ND VICEPRESIDENT
diet technician Kelowna Amalgamated
booking clerk White Rock
Jim Calvin 3RD VICEPRESIDENT mental health worker Chilliwack Amalgamated
Maria Rodriguez resident care aide Maple Ridge and Fraser Crossing
life skills support worker Prince George
REGIONAL VICEPRESIDENTS – VANCOUVER COASTAL Louella Vincent community support worker WHR Lower Mainland
Ernie Tanguay maintenance worker Vancouver General
John Fraser dietary aide Powell River
REGIONAL VICEPRESIDENTS – VANCOUVER ISLAND Barb Biley medical stenographer Comox
Bill McMullan residential support worker Kardel
UNION DEMOCRACY AT WORK HEU’s Provincial Executive (P.E.) is elected by convention delegates every two years. The P.E. is responsible for implementing the goals and policies set by HEU’s membership, and guiding the work of the union between conventions. P.E. members represent all regions of the province, and come from a variety of occupations and sectors. You can read more about your elected representatives in their bios posted on HEU’s website <www.heu.org/provincial-executive>.
Winter 2016 | GUARDIAN 7
HEU’S 30TH BIENNIAL CONVENTION • OCT. 30 - NOV. 4 • HYATT REGENCY VANCOUVER • HEU’S 30TH BIENNIAL CONVENTION • OCT. 30 - NOV. 4 • HYATT R
MORE THAN ANY OTHER in recent memory, HEU’s 30th biennial convention underscored members’ STRONG AND UNIFIED COMMITMENT to the goals of equity and social justice.
Convention builds memb Throughout the weeklong gathering, delegates debated resolutions and constitutional amendments in a spirit of inclusion that consistently reinforced the convention’s overarching theme – member voices, union power, united for action. Whether it was mandating the union to advocate for badly needed affordable housing, or an increase in assistance to bring people with disabilities above the poverty line, or support for teens aging out of foster care when they turn 19 – it was clear members want their union to be part of a movement working to end poverty and inequality in Canadian society. At the same time, they made it clear they want a union that truly represents HEU’s diverse membership. And to that end, they mandated their Provincial Executive (P.E.) to dedicate the time and resources needed to ensure a strong equity lens is applied to the structure, work and opportunities of the union. In a passionate discussion supporting that resolution, delegates affirmed that “social and economic justice cannot exist without achieving justice and representation for members who are underrepresented in the life of our union.” Delegates also directed HEU to continue to lobby and stand behind the investigation of murdered and missing women on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, endorse the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and to actively support CUPE National’s Red Dress Campaign, which raises awareness of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada. In other business, convention called for HEU to continue to resource its campaign to improve staffing levels in seniors’ residential care, to combat privatization and contracting out of residential care services and infrastructure, and to lobby for meaningful successorship protections when changes in ownership and contract-flipping occur in B.C.’s privately owned and operated care homes. Delegates also threw their support behind continuing HEU’s work to secure a renewed Health Accord between the federal and provincial/territorial governments that ties federal funding to the public delivery of services and aggressive enforcement of the Canada Health Act.
A POWERFUL TRIBUTE A moving video-dance performance, created by Redline Interactive for the CLC’s Fairness Works Initiative, honoured the dozens of Indigenous women who have been murdered or gone missing on B.C.’s Highway of Tears – a 720-km stretch of Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert. While performers Jade Brown and Amanda Gould danced on stage, the accompanying video moved us along the highway with a special visual effect of women in red dresses disappearing one by one from the screen. 8 GUARDIAN | Winter 2016
They also called for HEU to continue campaigning against the contracting out of surgical procedures to private, for-profit clinics as well as the B.C. government’s proposal for three-day stays in private surgical facilities. Throughout the course of discussions, the atmosphere of cooperation and inclusion that characterized this year’s convention was not only evident by the number of new delegates who braved the mics, but also by the many long-time delegates who felt comfortable and motivated enough to speak for the first time on the plenary floor.
KEY CONVENTION REPORTS
Early in convention, delegates heard reports from the union’s three full-time executive officers. HEU financial secretary Donisa Bernardo opened her address to delegates with an important message. “I’m happy to report our union’s finances are stable and healthy,” she said, “but we still need to be diligent to keep them that way as we move forward into the future.” And she reported that the union provided educationals to more than 2,200 members, which included training over 600 shop stewards and 850 health and safety stewards in the past year. Bernardo emphasized the importance of continuing to invest in campaigns to fight back against privatization, a two-tier health system, and any provincial or federal legislation that erodes the rights of workers. “We have a provincial Liberal government hell-bent on privatizing public services, downgrading jobs and slashing wages – promoting a system that keeps hard-working people straddling the poverty line. It’s unacceptable.” HEU president Victor Elkins delivered a strong message about building local activism at the grassroots of the union, while recognizing the challenges locals face because of ongoing restructuring and the heavy workloads members are dealing with. “Locals are the foundation of HEU,” he said. “If we are to keep building our union power, right across this province, we need strong, functioning locals that can inspire, involve and mobilize members.” And he called on local leaders to recruit and support younger
REGENCY VANCOUVER • HEU’S 30TH BIENNIAL CONVENTION • OCT. 30 - NOV. 4 • HYATT REGENCY VANCOUVER
ROSE AUSTIN Gitxsan Health Care local, New Hazelton I am learning more about the procedures of convention, and feeling that we are a part of a bigger movement. A highlight for me was First Nations issues, including the Red Dress Campaign and the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, because those are very dear to my community… also to be able to stand here and give voice and know there are people who do care.
TANIA MENDOZA Canadian Blood Services local, Vancouver
As a first-time delegate, I had no idea what to expect. This convention has really inspired me to get more involved.
members to get involved. “It is the younger generation who will be the future of our union,” he said. “To succeed, however, we need to open up opportunities for them to serve, even when it means stepping aside.” In her inaugural speech to convention, HEU’s secretary-business manager Jennifer Whiteside emphasized the importance of continuing to strengthen HEU’s relationships within the union, the community and the labour movement, as well as recognizing the value of creating stronger lines of communication with government and employers. Whiteside also urged delegates to recognize the need to confront issues related to inequity and exclusion in order to build member power. “We have to recognize that we have a moral responsibility to eliminate bias and prejudice, not only in our workplaces, but within our union,” she said. “And it will take leadership at all levels to make this a reality.”
AND THE AWARD GOES TO
And at every convention, HEU recognizes locals and members for their outstanding contribution to the union, a specific campaign, or their communities. This year, one of the top honours was the presentation of the union’s Convention Gavel to HEU’s Wexford Creek local for their courageous campaign against contracting out. Shirley Paul (Waverly of Chilliwack local) was presented posthumously with the HEU Local Plaque to recognize her lifetime of activism. And in recognition of their comprehensive 14-month battle against Interior Health’s plan to contract out hospital laundry services, special plaques were presented to the locals of five major laundry sites who will be privatized – although several smaller sites will be retained as pubic services. Other award recipients were Joanne Foote (HEU Social Justice Award), Lynne Taylor (HEU disability Rights Award) and Bonnie Pearson (Mary LaPlante Sisterhood Award) – see page 15.
RODOLFO HERMIDA Fort St. John local This is my first convention and it’s been an eye-opener for me. Being on the resolutions committee has taught me a lot about HEU and about the convention itself. It’s such a great opportunity to be part of it all.
LEAH BUMPHREY Squamish local I find convention incredibly inspiring. We’re such an amazing, diverse group. I love how inclusive HEU is. When you look around, you see a sea of every colour, and to me that is a blessing. I’ve also learned I am strong enough to get up and speak in front of 600 people, that I don’t have to shy away from that. I hope that in the next two years, I can become a better activist.
ANTHONY CHENG Pioneer Crest local, New Westminster
I’m a first-time delegate, and I’m proud to have been on the sergeant-at-arms committee. I’ve been getting to know people who are really involved… there is so much support for regular people like me. I am proud to be an HEU member and I have been since day one.
MELISSA NEIDI, Kimberley local It’s been great to see all the new delegates participating… new people and a lot of younger people. A lot of the minority groups are feeling more a part of the union and using their voices. I didn’t see that two years ago.
KATHLEEN JACKSON Village by the Station local, Penticton It’s my first convention. Highlights were the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women presentation, the equity, and the Care Can’t Wait campaign. They are all amazing. Everybody needs to know more about them and be more proactive.
LAURA (LAURIE) DANE Sunridge local, Duncan It’s fascinating to be here and be directly involved with the democracy of our union. I find it thrilling. Resolutions are my favourite part. I love seeing the power we have, and using that for the good of everybody. We all seem to be onboard with that, and it’s fantastic.
VICTORIA HARPER Inglewood local, West Vancouver I’ve felt my leadership abilities uplifted at this convention, and feel this will benefit my local. I am strong enough to fight for my rights, but convention has given me more education and skills to empower others. It blows me away to think that without this strong union and the support of all its members, we wouldn’t be here. We cannot do this alone.
CLAIRE ENS St. James local, Vancouver This is my first convention, and I have been learning a lot and taking in all of the information from the debates, speeches and the procedures. I’m learning everything right now, so it’s all very exciting for me. And it’s exciting to see so much enthusiasm and energy behind the Care Can’t Wait campaign, but there is so much to do still.
Joshua Berson/Caelie Frampton PHOTOS
I’ve learned how we come up with resolutions and constitutional amendments, how everything is discussed and decided on the floor. The most important thing for me has been to realize that every vote really counts.
Winter 2016 | GUARDIAN 9
News from here and around the world
B.C. FED CONVENTION
HEU members in the union’s contracted support service sector are moving forward with their plan to secure a fair deal from their employers – Acciona, Aramark, Compass-Marquise and Sodexo. In an industry where the CEO of B.C.’s largest private health care employer – Compass-Marquise – works barely two days to earn the same annual salary as one of their full-time HEU employees, it promises to be a tough round of bargaining. That’s because these corporations are focused on returning as many dollars to their shareholders as possible. Last year alone, they posted combined global profits of more than $2.3 billion US. By the time the Guardian went to press, negotiations for all agreements covering 4,000-plus HEU members working as housekeeping and dietary workers at Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island facilities were finally underway.
Labour sets sights on May election UNITING UNDER the slogan “Better can happen here,” the B.C. labour movement set its sights on next May’s provincial vote as an opportunity to make a positive, progressive impact on communities and families. Nearly 1,100 delegates from unions across the province gathered in Vancouver in late November for the B.C. Federation of Labour’s convention, where they hammered out action plans on a range of issues to improve justice and economic security for British Columbians – and to set out a plan for next year’s election. “Government can be such a positive force for change for working families if it’s on our side and working for us,” says Irene Lanzinger, who was re-elected president of the BCFL. “But we have a government in B.C. that’s not on our side, and doesn’t care about working people. We have a premier who puts the interests of the rich and powerful first – and the needs of ordinary people last.” Social justice was a strong theme running throughout the five-day convention, with delegates supporting greater inclusion and economic security for those who have been marginalized from society and the workforce. The convention took a strong stand against transphobia and supported better access for migrant workers and refugees to health care and other public services. Delegates also supported
Joshua Berson PHOTO
READY TO FIGHT AND WIN
UNITED | B.C. Fed delegates threw their support behind a range of policies that will build strong communities.
improvements to income assistance, a restoration of programs to assist women facing domestic violence, and an expansion of affordable housing. “It was a good week for B.C.’s labour movement,” says HEU secretary-business manager Jennifer Whiteside. “We heard powerful
“Better can happen here because of the values and commitment of B.C. unions.” voices from every affiliate speak out for a fairer and more inclusive society for all British Columbians – not just union members. “Unions are the pathway to a decent life, so the call at this convention for more organizing was both important and welcome.” A number of resolutions championed by HEU also found favour
among delegates, including support for a renewed Health Accord, opposition to blood plasma sales, and on the endorsement of the calls for action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on residential schools. The union’s campaign for improved staffing levels in residential care – and an end to contract-flipping – was also endorsed by delegates. And the BCFL’s “Better can happen here” launch included a call for more investment in seniors’ care. Cedarview Lodge member and care aide Dionisia Yogyog took part in the launch and spoke to all delegates about the issue. “I felt it was an honour to represent seniors and my fellow co-workers,” says Yogyog, who was attending her first BCFL convention. You can sign up for the BCFL’s “Better can happen here” campaign at <togetherforbc.ca>.
Canada’s water crisis at a boiling point MAKE NO MISTAKE, the world is running out of accessible water. In 2015, the United Nations (UN) reported that demand for water will increase by 55 per cent over the next 15 years. By that time, global water resources will meet only 60 per cent of the world’s demand. A 2016 report from leading scientists warned that two-thirds of the global population currently lives with severe water scarcity for at least one month every year, and almost two billion suffer severe water scarcity for at least half of every year. Despite our shared mythology of limitless water, Canada is not immune to the world’s most pressing problem. We face serious issues of water contamination, eutrophication, over-extraction, glacial melt and climate change. 10 GUARDIAN | Winter 2016
Canada is not immune to the world’s most pressing problem.
Corporations are eyeing Canada’s water, setting up bottled water operations and bidding to run water services on a for-profit basis. There are even renewed calls to allow bulk commercial water exports to drought-stricken states. It’s time to abandon our erroneous beliefs that Canada has unlimited supplies of water, that Canadians have taken care of this water heritage, or that we still have lots of time to do so. We need a strong, national plan of action based on a new water ethic that puts water protection and water justice at the heart of all our policies and laws. The path forward is clear, if not simple. MAUDE BARLOW
Excerpt from “Boiling Point: Government Neglect, Corporate Abuse, and Canada’s Water Crisis” by Maude Barlow. © 2016, ECW Press Ltd. www.ecwpress.com Wolfgang Schmidt PHOTO
Annual salary of Compass-Marquise CEO?
Days CEO works to earn annual salary of full-time hospital housekeeper?
Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta PHOTO
*Source: 2015 Compass-Marquise financial reports, USD
Premier Rachel Notley at Labour Day BBQ in Edmonton.
Notley government puts people first ARE WORKING FAMILIES better off under Alberta’s NDP government? A look at what has been accomplished so far suggests they certainly are. When the Alberta NDP rode a populist revolt in 2015 against the provincial Conservatives, it ended a 47-year governing streak, ushering in a massive change in government priorities which significantly impact ordinary Albertans. Just seven weeks following their election in May 2015, Rachel Notley’s NDP reversed the deep cuts to public service spending that the defeated Conservatives had campaigned on. And by refusing to cut health care, teaching and other frontline public sector jobs, the Alberta NDP
instead funded 12,000 new student K-12 spaces, boosted services for vulnerable children and families, and froze post-secondary tuition for two years. They also put another half-billion dollars into health care. And most notably, the NDP recently ended the privatization of diagnostic services and put a halt on plans to expand outsourcing of laundry services. And the changes keep coming. On the labour front, the choices being made by the Alberta NDP are not only benefitting union households, but are helping to ensure hundreds of thousands of unorganized workers are also seeing important gains, such as improved
workplace protections and higher wages. From bringing in occupational health and safety regulations that for the first time offer protection to 60,000 workers on farms and ranches, to boosting the provincial minimum wage to $15 per hour by October 2018, Premier Notley’s NDP government is working hard to make Alberta a more equitable province. These are the kind of changes that are not only about making the lives of ordinary citizens better today, they may also set the province on a more stable course for generations to come. Historically, Alberta’s economy has run from boom to bust over the past half century due to the
policies of past Conservative governments that, in the good times, put corporate profits first, and in the bad times, left the province’s cupboards bare. Inevitably, that approach has resulted in massive cuts to public services during economic downturns. Clearly, under Notley’s leadership, Alberta is trying to get off the boom-bust-cuts cycle. Despite steeply declining resource royalties, her government has committed to deficit spending in an effort to get Canada’s fourth-most populous province through the bad times, while protecting public services and the jobs that go along with them. NEIL MONCKTON
Caelie Frampton PHOTO
Federal health deal on life support
HEALTH ACCORD | One year ago, advocates gathered in Vancouver at the first federal-provincial health ministers’ meeting to call for a new Health Accord, but at press time a deal remained out of reach.
With the clock ticking on a new national agreement – or Health Accord – to establish federal funding levels for public health care in the years to come, provincial governments and Medicare advocates are concerned that Ottawa may put the entire health system in jeopardy. “When Canadians voted for change in the 2015 federal election, they didn’t expect the Ottawa Liberals under Prime Minister Trudeau to carry on with Harper’s
$36 billion in health care cuts,” says HEU secretary-business manager Jennifer Whiteside. “The possibility of deep cuts comes at the same time a recent Nanos poll shows that a majority of Canadians – with a high of 70 per cent in B.C. – are in favour of paying higher taxes in exchange for expanding public health care services.” Since last January, provincial health ministers have met three times with federal health minister Jane Philpott to develop a new Health Accord. But each meeting has ended in a stalemate, with many of the provinces continuWinter 2016 | GUARDIAN 11
Day case threatens public health care
Joshua Berson PHOTOS
“Our current laws don’t allow the sale of private insurance for services already covered by MSP,” says Dr. Brar. “We do that because we know that putting private insurance companies in the position to deny patients coverage for services – like visits to the emergency room or cancer treatment – is bad for our health, social equality, and our wallets.” Lynes-Ford spoke about the impact this shift could also have on Canada’s labour movement, including the “brain-drain” of doctors working in private clinics instead of public institutions,
PRIVATE CLINICS | Public health care advocates Adam Lynes-Ford (BC Health Coalition) and Dr. Rupinder Brar (Canadian Doctors for Medicare) outlined how Brian Day’s court challenge could unravel current Medicare protections.
IF WE ARE to win the fight to save Medicare in the court of public opinion, we need all hands on deck. That was the message to convention delegates from BC Health Coalition organizer Adam Lynes-Ford and Dr. Rupinder Brar of Canadian Doctors for Medicare – referring to an unprecedented court challenge from private clinic CEO Brian Day that if successful could remove the laws that ensure Canadians’ access to health care is based on need, not wealth. “A win for Brian Day would be a loss for Canadians,” said Lynes-Ford. “If long wait times is truly the illness that Brian Day wants to treat, his cure would be much worse than the disease.”
Dr. Brar affirmed that groups like the BC Health Coalition and Canadian Doctors for Medicare are fighting this case on behalf of all Canadians, who rely on a universal health care system. “A two-tier system would mean longer wait times, poorer health and skyrocketing health care costs for Canadians,” she explained. “Brian Day owns two for-profit clinics in Vancouver, one of which is the largest in the country. He has been the loudest cheerleader for privatizing health care in Canada for many years.” Besides creating an American-style, pay-forservice system, Day wants to introduce a parallel private health insurance model.
“A win for Brian Day would be a loss for Canadians. If long wait times is truly the illness that Brian Day wants to treat, his cure would be much worse than the disease.” which would further impact waitlists. It could also result in more privatization and contracting out, with subsequent layoffs of unionized health care workers. “And all unions will be forced to bargain for the kind of comprehensive private medical insurance that workers in the U.S. require,” says Lynes-Ford. “The cost of an average insurance plan in the U.S. is about $16,000 per year for a family of four. “Having to bargain for these kinds of plans would make it extremely difficult to ward off concessions or get contract improvements. And for all of us as public health care advocates, we’d face a grim future for our chances of winning a universal system back.” Following the presentation, delegates adopted two motions to protect, maintain and strengthen Canada’s public health system. BRENDA WHITEHALL
NEWSBITES ing to press Ottawa to reverse the Harper cuts. “Unless action and dialogue starts almost immediately, I would find it very difficult to actually achieve any kind of substantive agreement for the year’s end,” said Newfoundland and Labrador’s health minister John Haggie to reporters at the end of October’s health ministers’ meeting. Then in mid-December, the premiers and prime minister talked health care over a working dinner, again with no result. With the provinces and Ottawa still far apart as we head into the new year, the possibil12 GUARDIAN | Winter 2016
ity of a negotiated agreement that ensures stable and adequate health care funding is growing dimmer. “If massive cuts go ahead next April, it will effectively starve the system, destabilizing care and making it more difficult to improve coordination and integration within the public system that has served our country for over 50 years,” adds Whiteside.
High food bank use tied to precarious work According to the annual hunger count report from Food Banks
Canada, more than 863,000 Canadians turned to a food bank in the past year. Here in B.C., food bank use climbed 3.4 per cent, with 103,400 people accessing a food bank between March 2015 and March 2016. One third were children. And it’s the third year in a row that food bank use in B.C. has increased. Shawn Pegg, the director of policy and research at Food Banks Canada and report author, says the increase in B.C. is tied to the high cost of living and the disappearance of high-paying jobs.
“We see people working two or three part-time jobs and still being unable to make ends meet. We also see people transitioning back and forth between low-paid work and social assistance,” he said.
First Canadian woman on national bank note Canadian civil rights pioneer Viola Desmond has been selected as the face on the new $10 bill, becoming the first Canadian woman to grace a national bank note. On November 8, 1946, Desmond was arrested, jailed and fined for
ON ANY GIVEN NIGHT IN CANADA, 3,491 WOMEN AND THEIR 2,724 CHILDREN SLEEP IN SHELTERS BECAUSE IT ISN’T SAFE AT HOME. Source: Canadian Women’s Foundation
By fostering a caring work environment, Josie Whitehead and her co-workers are helping to change the lives of many women in their community.
Providing shelter and support
This year, HEU’s Convention Gavel was awarded to the members at Wexford Creek care home for their courage and tenacity in the face of contracting out. Wendy Chadwick and Samantha Lindsay (above), accepted the award from HEU president Victor Elkins on behalf of the workers at Wexford and received a standing ovation from the packed convention hall. In April, 140 members at the Nanaimo care home were given lay-off notices by Good Samaritan Society, who announced they were selling the facility. This was the second time in two years workers had been laid off. The local’s response was to mount a vigorous fightback with a campaign that garnered wide support from their community. Within six months, the local had organized a letterwriting campaign, met with MLAs, spoke to media, and presented the B.C. legislature with a petition. In short, despite the odds, they held their ground and fought. In accepting the award, they thanked HEU members for the strong support they received throughout the campaign. And they spoke about their co-workers at Wexford who – although not there in person – truly deserved the recognition for the work they had accomplished together.
sitting in the “whites-only” section at a movie theatre in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. When ordered to move to the cheaper balcony area reserved for blacks, Desmond refused and offered to go to the box office to pay the difference in ticket price. Instead, she was roughly escorted out of the Roseland Theatre and charged with tax evasion for the one-cent tax difference on the ticket cost. Even though she lost the case, Desmond continued advocating for black rights and is credited for helping to end Nova Scotia’s seg-
ON THE JOB
WEXFORD CREEK HONOURED
HEU member Josie Whitehead is passionate about her job as a family and child care worker at Amata Transition House in Quesnel. Amata provides shelter and support to women and children, who have experienced, or are at risk of, violence. Whitehead’s work – which she’s been doing for the past 11 years – primarily involves providing respite to women and their children in crisis. But it’s a job that requires much more than that. “We need to console clients, but we also need to encourage them to tell their story so we can offer the best support possible,” says Whitehead. “By letting them know there’s no judgement here, women feel they can talk freely and openly with us.” The work is not easy, but has its rewards. Whitehead remembers one client, who was especially challenged, but with support was able to make important life changes. “About two years later, I saw her and her child. They were living on their own. She was so happy and thanked me for the hard work we had done together to get her to where she was.” Although Whitehead began her career “One of the things I tell wanting to work with children, she discovered clients is, if you don’t take a passion for social work after university. It was a natural fit for her, since she grew care of yourself, you can’t up in services as a child. “I was in ministry help anyone else. I take that care at one point or another. This is my way advice too.” of giving back.” To do this work, Whitehead practises selfcare. “One of the things I tell clients is, if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t help anyone else. I take that advice too. “When I started, a co-worker told me, pace yourself and know that when you leave, your co-workers will pick up where you left off.” Whitehead has taken this advice to heart and believes that it’s part of what makes her workplace “like an actual home, where you feel like you have family.”
regation laws in 1954. Nova Scotia’s Lieutenant Governor Mayann Francis posthumously granted Viola Desmond an official pardon and apology on April 14, 2010. Desmond died in 1965 at the age of 50.
Advocates call for ban on private blood and plasma clinics As private, for-profit blood companies look to expand operations in Canada, advocates for blood safety are calling on the federal government to intervene.
At an Ottawa press conference, representatives from the Canadian Health Coalition and BloodWatch. org, along with federal NDP health critic Don Davies, warned against the dangers of private plasma collection, citing concerns about the safety and integrity of Canada’s voluntary blood system. Already operating a clinic in Saskatchewan, Canadian Plasma Resources has applied for licenses from Health Canada to open payfor-plasma centres in other provinces, including B.C. The BC Health Coalition has urged the provincial government
to ban private blood clinics in B.C. “To date, Health Minister Terry Lake has said he does not oppose paid plasma collection in B.C., despite the fact that only four countries in the world allow private paid donor collection,” says Edith MacHattie, BC Health Coalition co-chair. “We need a federal moratorium on licenses to pay-for-plasma brokers before we see these facilities pop up in B.C.” Ontario and Quebec have banned for-profit blood and plasma clinics, but British Columbia has yet to take any action on the issue. Winter 2016 | GUARDIAN 13
Who’s who in HEU?
They perform autopsies, remove bone marrow, analyze specimens, and do urinalysis tests:
a) Ophthalmic Technicians b) Pathology Attendants c) Medical Lab Assistants
Their stress levels are compared to those of air traffic controllers: a) Nursing Unit Assistants (Unit Clerks) b) Fire and Safety Officers c) Switchboard Operators
Which combination represents HEU’s support services team? a) Cleaners, Dietary Aides, Computer Operators b) Bakers, Housekeeping Aides, Laundry Workers c) Laundry Workers, Food Service Workers, Housekeeping Aides
COFFEE BREAK JOIN THE CONVERSATION | HEU members and their allies are actively using Facebook and other social media platforms to talk about how to make their workplaces safer, protect good jobs and provide better care. Here is a sample.
Privatizing seniors’ care in Sechelt Stop privatizing the care for elders, they built this province. • Kate Kemp-Marleau •
We all age. Privatization is theft. Stealing from us all… Government is not a business, it’s there to provide service. • Lyla Smith • Profit will without a doubt diminish the standard of care. • Errone Foster •
Bargaining with Good Samaritan Our members deserve respect and dignity. • Norman Reifferscheild • Care Aides are the unsung heroes!!!
Seniors’ care (continued) Can you imagine 12 residents for one care aide? How can we give proper care? • Eddon Meadows • Even the most awesome caregivers experience burn out when they’re always being rushed. • Barb Price Sinclair •
Contracted Support Services bargaining Treat employees like they make a difference and they will. • John McNab (from a meme) •
Brian Day trial Our Universal Health Care was intended for all not for the few who can afford best. • Bet Gimpy •
• Laura Needham-Derksen •
Greed, greed, and more greed. I sincerely hope Dr. Day loses it all!
• Susan James •
Too many of our children live below the poverty line, this is so wrong in a province as affluent as B.C. • Alana Connor •
Seniors’ care Working with seniors is about relationships… they are our family but we can’t give them proper care even though we want to. We need more help in order to give proper care. • Noemi Custodio •
We were fighting this in the 60s we all deserve good health care. • Wendy Bell •
Get connected Stay connected
The “first responder” to workplace fires or floods, who also monitor incoming city water: a) Power Engineers c) Electricians
Also known as phlebotomists, they draw quality blood samples to assist with diagnosis and treatment:
a) Physiological Laboratory Technologists b) Medical Lab Assistants c) Pharmacy Assistants
They operate equipment to record brain wave patterns during conditions like hyperventilation or seizures:
Providing bedside care – checking vitals, feeding and grooming – are a few duties they perform: a) Nursing Unit Assistants b) Activity Workers c) Care Aides Answers: 1.b 2.a 3.c 4.a 5.b 6.a 7.c
14 GUARDIAN | Winter 2016
Caelie Frampton PHOTO
a) EEG Assistants b) ECG Assistants c) Programmer Systems Analysts
SAFE AND TIMELY | Pharmacy technician Atamjit Bassi loves working at Surrey Memorial Hospital in a job that’s critical to health care. Her duties include providing clinical support to the pharmacists, dispensing medications, preparing chemotherapy treatments, and mixing IV bags. “When you’re sick, the number one thing you need is medication. We get it to patients in a safe and timely manner,” says Bassi.
46,000 members in 276 locals
After working for more than 42 years at Vancouver General Hospital, HEU member Jainab (Jean) Kadir retired in September. Until 2010, she worked full-time as an LPN, and then as a casual care aide for the past five years. Jean enjoyed her job and loved meeting many medical staff members and patients. “I was bumped seven times during my employment years,” says Jean. “I have learned a lot about nursing.” Jean’s community activities include helping seniors with disabilities as their driver, and she participates in her local block-watch program. As a retiree, she plans to travel to Fiji, New Zealand, Australia and the U.S., and looks forward to cruises to Alaska and the Caribbean. Enjoy your well-earned retirement, Jean!
At this year’s convention, the Mary LaPlante Sisterhood Award was presented to Bonnie Pearson, an HEU sister who has done outstanding work promoting women’s issues in our union, in her community, and in the broader trade union movement. As a trade union activist, representative and leader, Pearson served the members of the HEU as a staff representative, director of servicing and special projects, assistant secretary-business manager, and was secretary-business manager when she retired in 2015. An unwavering supporter of workers’ rights and social justice, Pearson worked to build solidarity among trade unionists at all levels. She is known as a champion for the ability of women to participate fully in the union.
Nina Cramer (Salt Spring Island) passed away in September at the age of 61. An HEU member for the past 10 years, she worked as a casual cook at Greenwoods Eldercare Society. Nina valiantly fought cancer and continued working until her health declined this year. Nina loved folk music, cooking and art. She enjoyed community activities and loved her faithful dog. A single mother for most of her life, Nina was passionate about caring for her daughter. “Nina could be really funny – she had a really great laugh,” says her co-worker Irene Lundy. “She was a super good friend, and Nina was a very caring person.” Nina’s daughter, friends, co-workers and residents will truly miss her. At the age of 57, Genelle Beauchesne (Queen’s Park and Royal Columbian) died unexpectedly while on vacation in August. She was an HEU member for more than 35 years. From 1980 to 1998, she worked in food services at Queen’s Park Hospital, first as a dietary aide and then as a cook’s helper. She spent the last half of her working life as a housekeeping aide for Sodexo at Queen’s Park, and later worked for a private company at Royal Columbian. Genelle is fondly remembered as one of the hardest workers in the Queen’s Park kitchen. For many years, she was a member of her local executive, and a passionate trade unionist who helped organize creative job action and stood strong on picket lines over the years. “Genelle had a heart of gold and would give you the shirt off her back,” says former co-worker Teressa Prentice. “Genelle always stood up for the underdog and did not tolerate anyone’s bad behavior. She would call you on it, even if you were her friend.” Genelle will be missed by her friends, family (including four children), her co-workers and Queen’s Park residents.
Established in 2008, the HEU Social Justice Award acknowledges outstanding work in the area of social justice. This year’s recipient is long-time HEU member and activist Joanne Foote. As a dedicated union activist, Foote was a member of the Provincial Executive for several terms. She has sat on many committees to help better serve her union, including the Global Justice and Peace Committee and the Equal Opportunities Committee. She’s also represented HEU externally on CUPE’s National Health Care Issues Committee and the B.C. Federation of Labour’s Human Rights Committee. Her community volunteerism includes work with the Lionesses Club, Cythera Transition House, and the food bank. Foote, an Ojibway First Nations woman, is chair of the Fraser River All Nations Aboriginal Society. This year’s recipient of the HEU disAbility Rights Award is Lynne Taylor. The award is designed to recognize an HEU member for their activism on issues facing members with disabilities. Taylor was the past chair of the People with disAbilities Standing Committee and has been an activist for many years, including serving on CUPE National’s disabilities committee. She’s been a strong voice in promoting and defending the rights of persons with disabilities, which has made a positive impact on HEU members. She’s helped to improve accessibility, working conditions, and work practices for people with disabilities in the workplace and community.
MOVED? Please notify us of your change of address online: www.heu.org/change-address-form
Did you know that HEU has five standing committees? Working with HEU’s equity officer, they provide outreach and advocacy to HEU members, and work in solidarity with other social justice groups. To learn more, call 1.800.663.5813 to speak with Equity Officer Sharryn Modder.
Ethnic Diversity • Indigenous Peoples • Pink Triangle • People with disAbilities • Women
Guardian HOSPITAL EMPLOYEES’ UNION
“In humble dedication to all those who toil to live.” EDITOR Mike Old MANAGING EDITOR Patty Gibson ASSOCIATE EDITOR Brenda Whitehall GRAPHIC DESIGNER Elaine Happer PRINTING Mitchell Press The Guardian is published on behalf of HEU’s Provincial Executive, under the direction of the editorial committee: Victor Elkins, Jennifer Whiteside, Donisa Bernardo, Barb Nederpel, Ken Robinson, Jim Calvin, Betty Valenzuela HEU is a member of the Canadian Association of Labour Media PROVINCIAL EXECUTIVE VICTOR ELKINS President JENNIFER WHITESIDE Secretary-Business Manager DONISA BERNARDO Financial Secretary BARB NEDERPEL 1st Vice-President KEN ROBINSON 2nd Vice-President JIM CALVIN 3rd Vice-President BETTY VALENZUELA Senior Trustee TALITHA DEKKER Trustee KELLY KNOX Senior Trustee-Elect TRACY STRUCK Regional Vice-President Fraser JOANNE WALKER Regional Vice-President Fraser MARIA RODRIGUEZ Regional Vice-President Fraser RHONDA BRUCE Regional Vice-President Interior SHELLEY BRIDGE Regional Vice-President Interior JODY BERG Regional Vice-President Interior
LOUELLA VINCENT Regional Vice-President Vancouver Coastal ERNIE TANGUAY Regional Vice-President Vancouver Coastal JOHN FRASER Regional Vice-President Vancouver Coastal MIKE CARTWRIGHT Regional Vice-President North LISA CREMA Regional Vice-President North BARB BILEY Regional Vice-President Vancouver Island BILL MCMULLAN Regional Vice-President Vancouver Island JODI GEORGE First Alternate Provincial Executive
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Winter 2016 | GUARDIAN 15
Season’s Greetings AND HAPPY NEW YEAR
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Guardian HOSPITAL EMPLOYEES’ UNION
WINTER 2016 • VOL. 34 • NO. 3
SPECIAL CONVENTION ISSUE
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Delegates to HEU’s 30th biennial set agenda for the next two years.
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