Voting has closed on the 2019-22 Nurses’ Bargaining Association provincial collective agreement and our members have spoken. We have ratified our contract and can now look forward to implementing new language that has the power to make a real difference in our working lives and for our patients.
I want to thank each and every one of you who took the time to become informed and to vote on this agreement. I also want to sincerely thank all of those members who conducted the vote at worksites around the province.
The work we have done to get us where we are today began over two years ago and involved the direct participation of thousands of BCNU members who participated in surveys and provided input at province-wide regional bargaining conferences. We’ve negotiated an agreement that speaks to your needs, and now that it has been ratified, the important work of contract implementation begins. The union and health employers are committed to developing an implementation plan that honours the terms of this new agreement and addresses the staffing challenges you face today.
I also want to acknowledge the concerns that many have expressed over this agreement. There is no question that workload and staffing remain an ongoing challenge, and there is skepticism that real change will come. However I truly believe this contract will incentivize employers to hire more nurses over the next year and provide us with the practice conditions we need to provide safe patient care.
But we don’t need to wait to effect the change we want to see. We have already negotiated powerful tools that compel employers to staff units and programs appropriately – but these tools have to be used. File a grievance if you are working short or at overcapacity and your union will support you. And talk your steward about any concerns you have about your terms of employment. The important thing to remember is that we are stronger together, and that all members need to hold the employer accountable.
Look out for more information about our new contract in the coming days. In the meantime, please visit the BCNU website or review the latest issue of Update Magazine that was delivered to your door and familiarize yourself with the details of the agreement.
You have my commitment that BCNU will continue to provide many opportunities for input and respectful, open and honest dialogue as we work toward better working conditions and the protection and improvement of our benefits.
I look forward to your engagement in this process and thank you for the work you do every day.
Christine SorensenPresident, BC Nurses' Union
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