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BCNU thanks nurses for convincing the provincial government to sign Bill 18 into law

April 15, 2013

The BC Nurses' Union thanks nurses around the province for the determination they've shown in convincing the provincial government to sign Bill 18 into law.

The law - which was passed by the Legislature last month - expands the definition of nurse to include Licensed Practical Nurses. It enables LPNs to negotiate alongside other professional nurses in the Nurses' Bargaining Association and be part of the provincial nurses' contract. They're currently covered by contracts for healthcare support staff.

"This will improve patient care significantly by making things smooth, seamless and efficient in discussions with our employers," says BCNU president Debra McPherson. "It puts all nurses under the same umbrella and will enable us all - Registered Nurses, Registered Psychiatric Nurses and Licensed Practical Nurses - to collaborate on ways to provide quality patient care.

"We also appreciate the government's action in signing the necessary Order-in-Council as one of its last items of business before the beginning of the provincial election campaign."

McPherson says the government's decision came about because of a strong campaign mounted by many nurses - including RNs and RPNs as well as LPNs - to convince MLAs and the Cabinet to do the right thing.

"The petitions, postcards, emails and phone calls showed just how determined nurses are to unite in one union and into one structure for the purpose of negotiating and administrating our collective agreement, which governs our relationship with our employers" McPherson says.

Last year 7,200 LPNs employed directly by health authorities voted to join BCNU and leave their former unions of healthcare support workers. Bill 18 also covers LPNs who work for health authority affiliates, who will continue to be represented by other unions until they chose otherwise. A majority of LPNs in 49 of affiliated worksites have applied to the Labour Relations Board for a representation vote of their own. Also covered by Bill 18 are LPNs now in the Community Bargaining Association.

Provisions affecting LPNs will be moved from their current contracts and added to the existing nurses' contract. There will be no contract changes until the next round of bargaining in 2014.

For further information contact:
Debra McPherson BCNU President 604-209-4253
Art Moses, BCNU Communications 604-868-4259

For more information contact:
Phone: 604-433-2268

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