LifeLabs is looking for major concessions at the bargaining table. A strong strike mandate is needed to show solidarity and determination to reach a fair deal.
Vancouver (30 Oct. 2012) - Negotiations between the members of the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) and the employer LifeLabs have hit an impasse causing the union to begin preparations for a strike vote.
While the employer has told the bargaining committee it is committed to reaching a fair and reasonable agreement, management has continued to put forward proposals that puts the responsibility of cost containment squarely on the shoulder of BCGEU/NUPGE members. That’s neither fair nor reasonable.
LifeLabs has repeatedly told members it wants the current agreement changed to restrain costs. To meet this objective, the employer's last proposal demanded deep concessions which included reducing vacation time, cutting the special leave entitlement by more than 50 per cent, adding a prescription dispensing fee cap of $6.50 to each prescription and increasing the employee's portion of the cost share for health and welfare benefits by 10 per cent meaning that, employees would pay 25 per cent of the premium cost for health & welfare benefits and long term disability. The employer also proposes a three-year collective agreement term, with general wages increases of zero per cent in 2012, .5 per cent in 2013 and one per cent in 2014.
The parties did, however, tentatively agree to several issues, such as scheduling, hours of work, shifts, on call and workload. There has been much discussion about the current sick leave plan, but no agreement has been reached on a revised plan.
Strike voting will commence in the coming days. Members of your bargaining committee will attend strike vote information meetings to answer any questions you may have.
The bargaining committee is recommending members show their support and voice their opposition to the employers’ demands by voting "yes" to the strike vote. A strong strike mandate will show the employer that members are united and serious about getting a fair and reasonable collective agreement.
“With a solid strike mandate, I believe our members at LifeLabs can get a fair and reasonable agreement without taking any concessions,” said BCGEU President Darryl Walker.
Members are encouraged to make every effort to attend a strike meeting. A schedule of times and dates can be found here.
Ballots and information packages are being mailed out to members. All ballots must be postmarked no later than 5:00 pm on Friday, November 16.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE