Northern Health signs letter of understanding with Facilities Sub-Sector unions to work together in finding cost savings

Northern Health and unions within the Facilities Sub-sector have signed a letter of understanding to work together in examining and implementing cost savings.

The understanding will:

Establish a process by which Northern Health and its unions ill work together in identifying cost-saving measures;

Provide a basis for Northern Health and its unions to work together in implementing re-structuring changes in an effective manner;

Not impact provisions in collective agreements; and

Be completely separate from provincial-level contract negotiations taking place with the Facilities Sub-sector.

“As we’ve worked to reduce our costs, contracting out has been an important option… but not our first choice,” explained Malcolm Maxwell, Northern Health CEO. “We believe this understanding will be a significant step in helping management and unions work together to meet both service needs and cost pressures. It also reflects Northern Health’s position that our employees must have an important voice in making change.”

“Front-line health care workers have a lot of ideas about how to improve the delivery of health services in the North,” says Hospital Employees’ Union secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt, a representative of unions in the Facility Sub-sector. “We’re very pleased with Northern Health’s commitment to work cooperatively with health unions to examine ways to strengthen health care, and to protect the public’s investment in a skilled and experienced workforce by not contracting out services.”

Some of the changes that could be discussed include:

Creating hubs for certain support functions that would serve multiple sites;

Looking at new and more efficient ways of providing support services through technological enhancements or changes in procedure for certain support services; and

Examining ways to use the health region’s supplier contracts more effectively.

This process will move forward quickly. Northern Health will make a final decision on the requests for proposals for support services by February 27th.