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BCNU applies to represent LPNs now with HEU

The British Columbian Nurses' Union filed an application yesterday with the Labour Relations Board asking to represent licensed practical nurses who are now Hospital Employees' Union members.

“BCNU believes that a majority of LPNs currently represented by HEU have now signed BCNU membership applications,” the BCNU said in a news release. “In earlier legal discussions, HEU disclosed they have more than 5,000 LPN members and BCNU received signed membership applications from more than 50 percent.”

The release quoted president Debra McPherson saying, “It makes sense for all nurses to be in the same [union] so we can work together to improve patient care and practice conditions."

The HEU posted a newsletter on its website today that said “ongoing outreach to LPN members across the province consistently shows the majority of LPNs want to stay in HEU.”

The B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union also represents some LPNs. Even with a change of unions LPNs will be covered by the same collective agreement and bargaining process, a Nov. 16 BCGEU newsletter said.

LPNs will not automatically be covered by the Nurses' Bargaining Association, it said. “They will have to ask government for permission—and that permission may not be granted.”

The Tyee reported in March that HEU officials were unhappy with the “secret pre-election dealings” that saw the government and BCNU negotiate a contract extension.

BCNU officials insisted the contract extension was unrelated to the union's desire to represent LPNs.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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