Free collective bargaining takes another hit: Campbell government legislates paramedics’ contract

“It’s not enough for the BC Liberals to impose “zero” mandates for the 2010 round of public sector bargaining.  They now want to use their legislative muscle to impose a collective agreement on striking paramedics,” said Cindy Oliver, President of the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators.  “The paramedics are members of CUPE Local 893, and they were in the process of voting on an offer from the employer.  That vote was scheduled to be completed by Friday.  However, the legislation preempts that vote by imposing a legislated settlement rather than giving paramedics the chance to decide for themselves on what contract they are prepared to support,” Oliver added.

“Free collective bargaining has been virtually non-existent under the BC Liberals,” Oliver noted.  “In their first four years in office they resorted to contract ripping instead of contract signing.  Not only were collective agreements ignored, signed contracts were essentially vetoed by legislative measures that stripped agreements of long-standing provisions.  More recently, the government has used bargaining mandates to stifle the bargaining process.  In the last provincial budget they unilaterally announced zero mandates for all provincial public sector contracts,” Oliver added.

“This legislation is just another example of the BC Liberals’ low tolerance for meaningful collective bargaining.  However, the Premier and his Cabinet colleagues might want to re-read the June 2007 Supreme Court of Canada decision that criticized the BC government’s disregard for the bargaining process.  Hopefully that decision and concerted pressure from public sector unions will be enough to get Premier Campbell to acknowledge once and for all that free collective bargaining is long overdue in the province,” Oliver concluded.

About FPSE

The Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC is the provincial voice for faculty and staff in BC teaching universities, colleges and institutes, and in private sector institutions. FPSE member locals, represented by Presidents' Council and the Executive, represent over 10,000 faculty and staff at 18 public and 12 private sector institutions.