Summer is here. It's a time for families and friends to take advantage of longer days and sunny weekends to reconnect and rejuvenate. It's also a time for communities to come together at summer events and celebrate the things that are important to them.
This month I had the opportunity to reconnect with members of BCNU's provincial leadership at a two-day strategic planning session that saw your Council come together to review our priorities and reconnect with our values.
Our organizational priority going forward will be to continue to strengthen the union through sound governance and strong member advocacy. As well, we remain committed to successfully bargaining a new provincial collective agreement.
BCNU's dedication to good governance is reflected in the efforts of our union's Constitution and Bylaw Renewal Working Group. It has been responsible for engaging with members and conducting a governance review, with the goal of presenting a modern, cohesive, revised governing document to our 2019 annual convention for approval.
The governance renewal process is now in its second phase. I encourage you to review draft bylaw revisions that are based on input received at the beginning of the process and attend a feedback session. You can also review the proposed revisions that are on the member portal and provide your input electronically.
Our ongoing focus on strong member advocacy is best reflected in our most recent agreement with health employers that now resolves outstanding contract disputes related to the Nurses' Bargaining Association 2014–2019 provincial collective agreement. This was a major achievement to wrap up so many outstanding pieces of contract language.
The last two rounds of bargaining produced some of the most groundbreaking and complex staffing language ever negotiated. And it's taken diligence and determination on the part of our stewards and other members to make sure that health employers honour their end of the bargain. Every grievance made a difference.
We accomplished so much this year to address these outstanding bargaining items and I am pleased with the terms of the agreement. We listened to our nurses and we heard from our activists who told us what they needed, such as improved union-leave language that allows them to work on behalf of members. We also listened to our LPNs and community nurses who had been asking for parity – and we responded. Safe staffing language has now been extended to LPNs working in acute and long-term care, and all nurses working in the community. Please take the time
to read about the details and see how the agreement benefits you.
We look forward to engaging with employers and the provincial government again, but it was important for these issues to be resolved and the slate cleaned in order for us to effectively negotiate a new collective agreement in 2019. In the meantime, it's important for us to celebrate those achievements so that we can come back refreshed and ready to tackle the priorities that will improve the lives of our members and strengthen our union.
I want to thank all those members who will be taking some time this season to reconnect with their communities outside the walls of their hospital or health unit. The ever-popular BCNU bus will be on hand at many summer events across the province. Drop by if you see us and help us connect with others in your community on the health-care issues that are important to you. You are the face of BCNU, and I'm proud to know that you will be there, standing strong and speaking out for safe patient care.
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