As we have previously advised, the potential for BC Nurse picket lines at B.C. Government worksites exist because of two disputes which involve the nurses. Unfortunately, BC Nurses have not coordinated or shared their plans with the BCGEU or other unions in the labour movement.
Notwithstanding these challenges, the BCGEU met with the government to discuss essential service levels for BCGEU members in the Public Service if BC Nurse picket lines result from this dispute at common worksites. The Labour Relations Code requires employers and unions to maintain certain essential services to the public when they take job action in a labour dispute. These essential services are usually described as those related to health, safety or welfare.
These initial discussions with the Public Service Agency representing the government focused on clarifying locations where BC Nurses have agreed to provide essential services and beginning to determine how this may impact BCGEU members. These discussions were productive and will resume in the coming days. The BCGEU is represented in these discussions by members of the BCGEU Public Service Bargaining Committee and staff.
It is important to note that BC Nurses are not in a legal position to issue 72 hour strike notice until the Labour Relations Board has issued a essential services order.
While this is not a BCGEU dispute, the following points are important to keep in mind:
Remember, your employer can not declare a picket line illegal, only the Labour Relations Board has the right to do so.
We will update with further information as it becomes available.