"We’ve been raising these concerns for years, and despite numerous WCB orders and fines, the violence continues.” — Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President
Vancouver (30 March 2017) — A number of representatives from the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) visited the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital (FPH) for a tour and BBQ on March 21. Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President, Sherry Ogasawara, Health Services Vice-President and Salli Rye, a Health Services Representative attended in order to speak directly with members about the ongoing issues of violence in the workplace.
BCGEU/NUPGE continues to raise concerns about violent working conditions
“Forensic Psychiatric Hospital and the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) need to take immediate steps to address these violent working conditions,” said Smith. “We’ve been raising these concerns for years, and despite numerous WCB orders and fines, the violence continues.” Even shortly after Tuesday’s meeting with members there was a stabbing at the facility."
The Forensic Psychiatric Hospital has been issued 54 Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) safety orders and 102 WCB inspection reports have been filed in the last 5 years. As a result of the employer's continued non-compliance with numerous orders, FPH was penalized with a $171,000 fine from WCB for failing to provide a safe workplace. President Smith will be attending PHSA’s next quarterly meeting on June 29 to address the escalating violence and the urgent need for the employer to take action. “I am looking forward to making a presentation to the Board in June,” said Smith.
PHSA one of the most violent workplaces in B.C. but management not addressing problems
In early March, PHSA President Smith sent a letter to Tim Manning, Board Chair expressing her concerns over the increasingly dangerous working conditions each of our members face every day. Smith also requested a meeting with Manning to discuss the situation in greater detail.
As outlined to Tim Manning in the letter, Forensic Psychiatric Hospital is statistically one of the most violent workplaces in B.C., and management has failed to take adequate steps to help reduce this violence.
In a response to BCGEU/NUPGE's letter, Carl Roy, President and CEO of PHSA, failed to acknowledge that despite the hospital's efforts, staff are still regularly put in high-risk situations, and people are still being hurt at the worksite.
The union disagrees with Mr. Roy's statement that the employer "encourage[s] and incentivize[s] staff to identify safety hazards, offer solutions and participate in the implementation of safety solutions targeting the hazards."
BCGEU/NUPGE members feel that their concerns are being ignored.
BCGEU/NUPGE reminds members to refuse unsafe work
The BCGEU/NUPGE encourages workers to refuse any work that is unsafe or puts them at risk, and to call the RCMP or relevant law enforcement officers, if they witness a breach of the criminal code, including physical and verbal assaults or the utterance of threats.
BCGEU/NUPGE represents over 270 members at Forensic Psychiatric Hospital, including health care workers, forensic security officers, dietary staff, social workers and administrative staff.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 370,000 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