I know what you mean Simonne. The thread tends to get more active when contracts come up. Here's a question... Have you all seen the latest bill 29 passed by the liberal gov't? Do any other provinces have similar legislation? I am particularly concerned with the fact that they have the right to assign me to any floor whether I feel safe working there or not (I am an OB/L&D nurse) and with the fact that any non-clinical services (which includes all ambulatory care, clinics, chemo, dialysis, etc.) can be farmed out privately.
This is the explanation of the bill from BCNU's website.
Backgrounder on Bill 29; What it Means to Nurses and Patients
Bill 29 allows the BC Liberal government to contract out services and rip up collective agreements for nurses and other health care employees. It is profoundly anti-health, anti-nurse and anti-patient. It facilitates the closing of hospitals and services, and the layoff of nurses without bumping or seniority rights.
This legislation - which was rammed through the legislature at 4:30 AM on January 28 - is aimed at privatizing health care and stripping away the rights of nurses. It was debated and approved without any advance consultation with BCNU or any other union, and without any opportunity for public input. The only people consulted in health care for this legislation was our employer, the HEABC.
Here, in brief, is what the government's legislation gives health employers:
The legislation gives health care employers the power to re-assign nurses without their consent to any location within their hospital or worksite, or to another worksite, even if it is in another health care region, as many times as the employer wants, provided the new worksite is no more than 50 kilometres from the worksite where the nurse ordinarily works.
The legislation also gives health employers the power to re-assign nurses without their consent to locations more than 50 kilometres from their ordinary worksite, for up to 30 days in a four month period. For example, a nurse in Cranbrook or Vancouver or Kelowna could be assigned to a worksite in Prince Rupert or Fort St. John or Port Hardy for up to 90 days a year.
Re-organizations, transfers and closures
Employers can transfer nurses - on a permanent or temporary basis - to any other worksite or any other employer within 50 kilometres of their current worksite without their consent. If a nurse does not accept the transfer, she or he will be considered to have resigned and will lose all bumping rights and severance pay.
Employers can also transfer nurses to worksites more than 50 kilometres away from their current worksite on a permanent basis if the nurse accepts the transfer. If the nurse refuses the transfer, she or he may or use the limited bumping rights available in the legislation to get a new position.
Health employers get virtually unchecked power to layoff staff and close services, shut down units and close facilities with no more than 60 days notice.
Creation of multi-site positions
Employers get the power to transfer services from one worksite to another, or from one health authority to another, without transferring the employees in that program.
Employers can create as many multi-site positions as they wish without consulting the union.
Employers are only forced to post multi-site positions if they require a nurse to work at a multi-site position "on a regular on-going basis."
The legislation gives employers the right to ignore worksite seniority and posting requirements in setting up these positions and moving nurses between worksites and employers.
Contracting out and privatization
The government gives employers the right to contract out the work done by thousands of nurses. Community nursing, long term care nursing, hospital outpatient clinics, cancer clinics, day surgeries, ambulatory care services and emergency wards could all be contracted out to private businesses under the legislation.
Health Minister Colin Hansen told The Vancouver Sun that kidney dialysis would be a good candidate for contracting out. Speaking in the legislature, he admitted hospital pre-admission procedures could be contracted out to doctors, and that hospital emergency wards could also be contracted out.
* Nurses working for a service that is contracted out will have to re-apply for their jobs and will cease to be union members.
* Nurses lose successorship rights to any work that is contracted out. They'll lose seniority, pay rates, sick banks and all other contract provisions.
The Healthcare Labour Adjustment Agency abolished
Bill 29 shuts down the HLAA, which has helped hundreds of displaced nurses receive retraining and other assistance since 1993.
Only nurses displaced before the legislation was passed, may continue to access services before the agency is wound down by a government-appointed administrator within a year.
Health Minister Hansen told the legislature that the HLAA's functions will be assumed by the new six health authorities, from within their existing budgets. But their budgets have been frozen for the next three years by the Liberals - so nurses' ability to access training funds will be extremely limited.
Employment security quashed
No nurse is entitled to more than 60 days notice before being laid off.
The legislation completely eliminates employment security. It abolishes the HLAA and labour adjustment committees. It also does away with enhanced consultation and prohibits any contract provision that requires an employer to consult with a union before contracting out. That means your workplace and your working conditions can be changed without any consultation and regard for your safety and standards of practice.
Bumping and layoff rights
Bill 29 removes the bumping language previously negotiated by BCNU and prohibits any improvement in layoff and bumping language before Dec. 31, 2005, well beyond the expiry of our current collective agreement (and after the next election).
A nurse's bumping rights depend on whether or not she has more - or less - than five years service.
With more than five years seniority a nurse can bump into any position he or she is "qualified and capable of performing" that is held by somebody with less than five years seniority.
Nurses with less than five years seniority can only bump the most junior employee "whose hours of work are comparable."
Nurses have 48 hours after receiving the seniority list to decide whether to bump somebody in their own worksite. They have seven days to bump somebody from another worksite. Nurses who don't bump can be laid off after seven days from the time they were given the seniority list.
This means many nurses will be forced to choose layoff or work in areas outside their interest or specialized practice. These are hardly options voters expected from a government that promised to retain and recruit nurses.
Rather than putting the needs of patients first - as the Liberals repeatedly promised before getting elected - Bill 29 was introduced to help them try to maintain their three-year freeze on health care funding. That freeze will help the Liberals pay for the huge and reckless tax cuts they handed to wealthy British Columbians and big businesses.