BCGEU/NUPGE continues to press to protect the rights and benefits for psychiatric nursing members.
Vancouver (15 May 2013) – The B. C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) has launched a policy grievance to ensure members receive fair treatment as they transfer from the public sector bargaining unit.
Government bill removed psychiatric nurses from public sector bargaining unit
On March 28, the Public Service Agency (PSA) gave notice to that the government had given Royal Assent to Bill 8 – Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act. Among other things, this bill amended the Forensic Psychiatry Act to remove the requirement that the Public Service Act applies to staff who work at the Forensic Psychiatric Services Commission. The government also approved Orders in Council (OIC) for Oak Bay Lodge and the Broadmead Care Society.
These actions transfer members as of June 1, 2013 from the public sector bargaining unit and from the coverage of the Master and Component Agreements with the government (although the Employer at Broadmead has agreed to respect the Agreements until the parties return to the bargaining table). BCGEU/NUPGE will continue to oppose these transfers by the current government, after the election.
PSA denies benefits to affected members
The union met with PSA to obtain agreement on the normal labour adjustment protocols, primarily the layoff provisions of Article 13 (providing rights to those employees who elect to continue to work in the Public Service) and the transfer provisions of clause 32.10.
The response of PSA is, "This is not a transfer and those provisions do not apply". This is a clear change in practice by PSA which denies our members the rights and benefits of the government collective agreement. BCGEU/NUPGE disagrees and have filed a policy grievance with PSA.
Although the policy grievance will not be heard before June 1st, we are working with three health sector bargaining associations (Facilities Support Bargaining Association, Health Science Professional Bargaining Association and Nurses Bargaining Association) to ensure our members work under the best possible terms, protecting superior benefits wherever possible.
Joint strategy with other unions planned
Members of the Union of Psychiatric Nurses (UPN) and the Professional Employees' Association (PEA) are also affected by the changes and are interested in a joint strategy. The unions may be able to combine efforts before a common arbitrator. The goal will be to obtain the best possible result for our membership.
The arbitration hearing, however, will not occur prior to the transfer date of June 1. If the unions are successful at the arbitration hearing, all remedies will apply including any retroactive application of the government agreements.
BCGEU/NUPGE intend to seek the earliest dates available with an arbitrator and will keep members apprised as events unfold.
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