BC Nurses’ Union (BCNU) members have voted in favour of the tentative 2019-2022 provincial agreement reached between the Nurses’ Bargaining Association (NBA) and the Health Employers Association of BC (HEABC).
More than 21,000 ballots were cast with 54 per cent of nurses voting to ratify the three-year deal that was reached in November 2018. The vote was held on January 21 at unionized work sites across the province.
“I believe we have negotiated an innovative contract that will make a positive impact on the working lives of our members and the patients in their care. However, nurses have sent a clear message to the government that they are skeptical real change will come,” says BCNU President Christine Sorensen.
Results from a 2017 province-wide BCNU member survey showed that staffing and workload were two of the most critical areas of focus for the bargaining committee to bring to the table. As a result, health authorities across the province now have a number of incentives to hire more nurses, especially during the first year of this agreement. The intended outcome is more nurses in the system, and less workload pressure which will lead to greater opportunities for nurses to provide the level of quality, safe patient care they are licensed and educated to do.
“Unsustainable workload coupled with a systemic nursing shortage has a direct impact on a nurse’s ability to provide safe patient care. Our members have spoken. While more needs to be done, this contract is a step in the right direction,” says Sorensen. “It is now time for the union and employers to bring this language to life, and make real changes where our members and our patients need it most – our health care system.”
The contract comes into effect April 1, 2019 and expires March 31, 2022.
A detailed summary of this agreement can be found in a special edition of the BCNU Update magazine.