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Mar 28, 2001

P.S.U. negotiates transition at K.H.M.H.

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The transition of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital from direct government control to semi-autonomous status will take effect on April first. Today the Public Service Union met with management and senior staff of the K.H.M.H. as well as CEOs in the Ministries of Health and Public Service to discuss how the change will effect the hospital’s employees. Union president Margaret Ventura says she’s particularly concerned about the future of one hundred and twenty-four open vote workers who do not enjoy the same benefits as those on permanent establishment.

Margaret Ventura, President, P.S.U.

“The concern has been that they enter into a permanent establishment arrangement prior to the transition, to secure and safeguard benefits that they may have earned in an open vote capacity, to be counted for pension purposes going into an authority.”

Ann-Maire Williams

“So what is the hospital saying now? Have you been able to reach the agreement in terms of signing, having something sealed saying that these workers will be made a permanent part of staff and they will enjoy the benefits afforded to them?”

Margaret Ventura

“That is one of a couple other areas of concern. But in terms of the open vote situation, what we have basically agreed to, and this is an exercise that’s going on within the wider public service. So what happens at Karl Heusner would of course be within the context of the wider public service arrangement, because I know there are staff out there in the public service who are concerned about the open vote situation. There has to be amendment to the general worker’s rule to secure and safeguard those years of service that workers have accumulated in this capacity. A proposal is in front of Cabinet right now to regularize the status of those workers, but there has to be some categorizing. At the end of the day though, the union is satisfied that the agreements we have been able to secure today will ensure that workers benefits are safeguarded and secured come time to deal with the public service, if they retire or if they resign.”

Ventura says all K.H.M.H. employees will have the option of being seconded to the new authority for a two year period or resigning and beginning a new term of employment.

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