Mind Your Own Business

First, please sign & share the following link:
safecarenow.ca    Safe care for patients, with safe staffing.

For the most part, my blog is about me & my thoughts as my past entries show however I am just so incensed by the letter I received that I just have to blow off some stream here. Around Christmas time, we HEU LPN’s received a letter from the BC Fed telling us to stay with HEU. Now we have received another letter but from 3 other unions –  mind your own business!! If YOU belong to any of these unions, I encourage you to write your executive and tell them to mind their own business! I am providing their email addresses:
BCFT: presidentsoffice@bctf.ca
HSA: webpres@hsabc.org
APBC: bronwyn.barter@apbc.ca
HEU: mkirwan@heu.org ; heu@heu.org

Below you will find the letter sent to myself and other LPN’s in this province from the President of the Teachers Federation, the Hospital Sciences President and the President of the Ambulance and Paramedics. As you may or may not know, LPN’s have not be adequately represented by our current HEU for a number of years. HEU allowed LPN’s (who were offered exemption) a 15% pay cut (along with the other members) back in 2006 when the scope of our practice had been significantly increased. It was then a few LPN’s approached BCNU & HSA to see if they could provide some guidance and perhaps assistance for how to move to a union where we would be better represented. the HSA was not interested but BCNU was. From those initial meetings to where we are today, the LPN’s of this province are having a voice for who will represent us in the future. Much time and energy has been put into this undertaking. It was not on a whim or whimsy. Resources of time & money have been put into helping the LPN’s of this province become members of the BCNU. I have been actively working on this campaign since 2008.

Now there are those who say “It’s all about the money”. Sure enough, HEU doesn’t want to have LPN’s leave and the loss they will see in dues. And yes, I am sure BCNU looks forward to having those union dues – which as less than HEU and not incurred on overtime & shift differential like HEU charges. It is more about being represented by a union who understands your issues, your work and respects you. HEU contains a myriad of classifications – at last count 270 of them. Now tell me how can a union with such a vast scope address the issues of each classification adequately and properly? They can’t.

HEU does not even call us nurses – in their eyes, we are support workers. LPN’s hold a license for which a national exam is written, LPN’s have a code of ethics & standards of practice. Our scope of practice is constantly changing and increasing. We are more like our RN colleagues than we are a kitchen or maintenance worker.

As a nurse, when I have an union issue, yes, a union rep tries to help but the likelihood of it being another nurses is slim to none. A person from dietary has NO idea about my nursing, safety and job issues. Just like I would have not idea of their job and all that it in-tales.

The LPN’s of this province have provided the Labour Board with substantial backing that we want the opportunity to have a vote to leave HEU. Under the Labour Code, section 19, it is our right. HEU does not even believe that we have the right to voting on our future. HEU is putting up barriers at the Labour Board to stall & delay the vote. This in not only effecting the LPN issue for the LRB calling the vote, but it is stalling contact talks for those other 269 classifications that HEU tries to represent. The HEABC (Hospital Employers Association of BC) has made it clear that there will be no contact talks with HEU until the LPN “issue” is settled. Why would HEU continue to drag this out? The answer of money comes to mind.

Do these union bodies who are petitioning the LPN’s even KNOW what our issues are? Are they aware of how HEU has treated LPN’s in the past? The record of wage reductions & concessions that have been made by HEU? Have they ever asked?

I would never tell the Teachers how and what they should be voting on. Perhaps the HSA is forgetting the fact that the biomedicals (2005/early 2006) & cardio techs (2007) left HEU to join the HSA. And the paramedics & ambulance workers – can you  say you are proud of what you accomplished for your members this last set of talks & contracts? Perhaps before you start looking at the actions of other unions, you need to reflect on your own performance and what you are doing for YOUR members. HEU has never looked into the problem of not representing the membership. There are SO many classifications that HEU can not adequately represent everyone. Perhaps there was a time when they could but for the nurses – they can no longer support us. We have outgrown the HEU.

Labour unions get in and out of bed with each other all the time. Just look at the hisotyr with CAW for example. BCNU has withdrawn the from the BC Fed, CFNU & the CLC. Other unions have done similar and once the dust settles, everyone gets back into bed together. However, this time, BCNU may think seriously about re-joining these “Old boys” networks. Times are changing, labour unions are changing and once BCNU takes the LPN’s into their folds, major changes will be made historically.

I can not wait for the Labour Board to announce the vote & start mailing out ballots to the eligible LPN’s in this province. BC needs to get LPN’s up to par of the other provinces & pay adequately. More than anything, LPN’s of this province need to be represented by a union who knows and understands nursing issues. Who better than the BC Nurses Union. Nurses + nurses.

Peace & blessings, thank you for reading/listening to my rant.
I remain passionately yours always

A message to LPNs from teachers, health science professionals and ambulance paramedics

Dear Sisters and Brothers:

We are writing to Licensed Practical Nurses in the Hospital Employees’ Union to encourage you to remain with HEU and to continue your long, proud tradition of standing together with our members – health science professionals, ambulance paramedics and teachers – in our fight for health care, education and other public services.

There is no doubt that we live in challenging times. We are seeing planned and purposeful attacks on our health and education systems  that are also intended to undermine our professions, our unions, and our communities.

Today, it is more important than ever to stand together as a strong, united front and to keep working cooperatively and collaboratively within the labour movement.

We value our relationship with HEU and with you. We are deeply concerned that our ability to work together in the future is in jeopardy as a result of the unprincipled raid by the BC Nurses’ Union on your profession.

Despite the labour movement’s attempts to end this destructive behaviour, the BCNU has rejected our efforts at every turn and isolated itself from its sister unions here and across Canada.

As an LPN, you are a member of a formidable union. HEU is a trusted and reliable ally that our members know can be counted on to uphold the fundamental principles of fairness, justice and solidarity.

It is in this spirit that we encourage you to stay united in HEU. And to continue to work together with us to improve the public services we all rely on.

In solidarity,

Reid Johnson, President
Health Sciences Association of B.C.

Bronwyn Barter, President
Ambulance Paramedics of B.C. (CUPE Local 873)

lambert signature
Susan Lambert, President
B.C. Teachers’ Federation