Re: “Nurses’ union raid sore point for NDP,” March 19.
It’s bad public policy to introduce legislation that impacts health-care delivery and the collective agreement rights of health-care workers without consulting widely on its consequences.
Les Leyne misses this point in his analysis of Bill 18, which was jammed through the legislature last week by the B.C. Liberals.
And it echoes the Liberals’ feeble explanation for the bill, which used the results of a raid conducted by the B.C. Nurses’ Union on other unions last year to defend its 11th-hour legislation.
Bill 18 has nothing to do with union representation and everything to do with arbitrarily changing the composition of the largest bargaining units in the health-care system.
Those multi-union bargaining associations were established after several years of consultation involving two commissions and dozens of submissions.
That level of consultation was necessary because bargaining-unit composition affects how health employers utilize the skills and training of different classifications of health staff to deliver care.
And just as important, Bill 18 could deprive affected workers of current collective-agreement provisions bargained and ratified in good faith.
A 2007 decision of the Supreme Court of Canada found the B.C. Liberals had previously violated the Charter-protected rights of workers by failing to engage in meaningful consultation before introducing legislation that impacted their collective agreements.
By confusing Bill 18 with last year’s raid, the B.C. Liberals are showing they do not understand the complexity of health-care delivery and their constitutional obligations — or they just don’t care.
Hospital Employees’ Union
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