UNA 25 Years of History (1997)

history

1997

Health Care Reform

A best estimate would indicate that about $1 billion dollars have been taken out of the provincial health care budget since 1993. However, it is impossible to calculate accurately the exact amount of money put back into the system. The government has earmarked funds for such special projects as cardiac surgery and joint replacement as well as other “hot spots”. But they have often made several announcements regarding the same money. For example, the one-time injection of $40 million into community health services was announced at five different times as new money being put into the system. They also made numerous announcements of grants to Regional Health Authorities. Despite the fact that the government continued to claim that it was reinvesting in health care, actual dollar figures indicated that much more was taken out than had been reinvested. Whatever the amount of additional monies, it was very clear to Albertans in general and to nurses in particular that current budgets were insufficient to meet growing health care needs.

The Regional Health Authority in Calgary did not listen to the voices supporting the continued existence of the Calgary General Hospital and this hospital was closed and staff transferred to the Peter Lougheed Centre and to other Calgary hospitals. Again transfer agreements had to be negotiated first between and amongst affected UNA Locals and then with the employer.

Regional Health Authorities

A number of Regional Health Authorities demanded that their employees sign gag orders in which they would agree not to divulge any information regarding their employers’ operations. UNA members grieved this on the basis that nurses have a professional and statutory obligation to raise patient/client/resident care issues and have the right to do so through provisions in their Collective Agreements. The employers backed down and removed their demands.

In January, UNA, Health Sciences Association of Alberta and the Canadian Union of Public Employees unanimously condemned the Regional Health Authority in Calgary’s decision to privatize cardiac rehabilitation services and demanded a full investigation.

From January to June, the Labour Relations Board hearings took place related to the Capital Health Authority’s 1996 application for a single certificate for each classification of health care providers at the Royal Alexandra, the Glenrose and the University of Alberta hospitals—the so-called referral hospitals. These hearings were a colossal outpouring of money from all the unions involved towards preparation, legal counsel and presentation of arguments. As time went on it became apparent that the six months that were originally set aside for hearings were insufficient and dates were then set into December of 1997. It was at this halfway point that the Labour Relations Board proposed mediation and the parties agreed to have George Adams from Ontario act as mediator.

One Nurses’ Union

In July, UNA and SNAA agreed to meet to re-open discussions regarding amalgamation. An amalgamation agreement was achieved and approved by both Executive Boards. This agreement set the date of October 15, 1997, as the legal date of amalgamation. The SNAA president, Pauline Worsfold, would become a UNA Executive Officer for one year, responsible for transition issues; three SNAA members would be appointed to the UNA Executive Board for a one year term—two in North Central District and one in South Central District; the SNAA office would close; and staff transfers were negotiated.

On September 22, the SNAA membership voted overwhelmingly in favour of the amalgamation.

On September 23, UNA held a Special Meeting in Calgary and received overwhelming delegate approval for the amalgamation and the constitutional changes needed to effect the amalgamation.

The amalgamation took place October 15, 1997, and the rest of 1997 was spent implementing the transfer. Former SNAA members were warmly welcomed by the delegates to the UNA Annual General Meeting.

This amalgamation increased the strength of nurses in Alberta. With one voice and in solidarity nurses can now advocate for the strengthening and expansion of the Canada Health Act; the importance and priority of quality health care services in Alberta; the need for fair and just wages and working conditions; and for all other social issues that affect the lives of patients, clients, residents, nurses and all Albertans.

Organizing

UNA organized a number of new Locals in 1997:

– Local #201 Bentley Hospital

– Local #204 Rosehaven, Camrose

– Local #206 Little Bow Health Care Centre, Carmangay

– Local #207 Mistahia Community Health

The amalgamation of SNAA brought the following Locals into UNA:

– Local #301 University of Alberta Hospital

– Local #302N Cross Cancer Institute

– Local #302S Tom Baker Cancer Clinic

– Local #303 Redwater Community Health

– Local #304 West View Community Health

– Local #305 Calgary Health Services

– Local #307 Regional Health Authority #5 Community Health

– Local #308 Headwaters Health Authority Community Health

– Local #309 Lac La Biche Community Health

– Local #311 Good Samaritan, Millwoods

– Local #312 Rivercrest Nursing Home, Fort Saskatchewan

– Local #313 Strathmore District Health Services

– Local #314 Good Samaritan Auxiliary Hospital

– Local #315 Keeweetinok Lakes Community Health

– Local #316 Good Samaritan, Southgate

– Local #349 Aspen Regional Health Authority Community Health

At the end of 1997, UNA’s membership was over 16,000.

Bargaining

1997 began with a large number of UNA bargaining tables still open and with hopes of achieving satisfactory settlements stalled.

Hospital negotiations resumed in January with Dick Campion as mediator. The employers refused to meet face-to-face with UNA’s negotiating committee and refused to withdraw their proposed rollbacks.

Also in January, the Labour Relations Board ordered the health unit employers’ agent, the Provincial Health Authorities Association of Alberta (PHAA), to negotiate with UNA in good faith. The parties negotiated for three days in February and talks broke off.

In February, UNA’s hospital negotiating committee called for a Reporting Meeting for hospital Locals to be held February 25.

The Premier called a provincial election for March 11, 1997, and made it very clear that he did not want to be dealing with a hospital nurses’ strike during his election process.

On February 25, UNA held a bargaining Reporting Meeting for hospital Locals and the negotiating committee presented full details regarding unresolved issues, employer-proposed rollbacks and the employers’ attitudes and actions. The delegates to the Reporting Meeting set a date for a hospital strike vote—March 4, 1997. An information picket in front of the Grey Nuns Hospital was part of the lunch hour activity on the day of the Reporting Meeting. UNA put employers on notice that a major confrontation was imminent.

In late February, a series of hospital bargaining sessions were held but the employers refused to believe that the UNA negotiating committee’s insistence on patient care issues was actually supported by the membership.

In a run-up to the strike vote, a number of all-night bargaining sessions took place. It was a new experience for UNA to have all its Locals on computer and standing by. Hour by hour as bargaining news reached provincial office, computer bulletins were put out on the Network. Within short minutes Locals were reading the news and responding. It was as if the whole province was on a late night watch wanting to keep up-to-date minute by minute. By early morning of March 4 no settlement had been reached and the strike vote proceeded. UNA was aware that in the 1988 strike vote, the Labour Relations Board determined that even to hold a strike vote was “threatening to strike” and as such was illegal. No such issue resurfaced in 1997, and the strike vote took place without employer intervention.

At 2230 hours on March 4, UNA released the strike vote results to the press and to the employers—85% of voters voted yes; 98% of Locals voted yes; and 72% of eligible voters turned out. This overwhelming support of the negotiating committee’s positions finally made the employers grasp UNA’s seriousness and determination. Coupled with the looming election, the strike vote results put immeasurable pressure on the employers to reach a negotiated settlement. It was at this point that UNA’s demands, including the nurse in charge at all times and safe staffing levels were finally addressed by the employers. The employers agreed to the mediator’s recommendation to have a nurse in charge at all times in those units where a nurse was in charge on March 4, 1997. They also proposed a Staffing Committee in each worksite to deal with staffing concerns as they arose at each Local. And the employers offered a 7.11% wage increase over two years. A Memorandum of Agreement was concluded and put out for ratification. The ratification vote was held March 11 and 85% of voters voted to accept and 100% of affected Locals accepted. Hospital nurses had a Collective Agreement after over 13 months of bargaining.

Health unit nurses, however, were still without a contract. On March 26, the employers tabled a “settlement offer” at the health unit tables but this offer contained major inequities for health unit nurses compared to hospital nurses. It was at this point—14 months into bargaining—that the health unit employers announced that they were no longer interested in parity between health unit and hospital contracts.

On April 16, UNA called a health unit Reporting Meeting and, after presenting a full report, the negotiating committee was directed by the delegates to return to the bargaining table in another attempt to resolve the outstanding issues. At the table the employer tabled their “second final offer” which also contained major rollbacks and then left the room refusing to explain their position. New bargaining dates were set for mid-July.

Meanwhile the long term care bargaining continued with the employers demanding major rollbacks and continuing to say that long term care nurses were not real nurses like acute care nurses and therefore deserved less in their contracts. However, as soon as the hospital strike vote was announced and the employers reached a negotiated settlement, the long term care employers quickly removed all rollbacks from the table and agreed to most of the provisions won by hospital nurses. Outstanding issues were the nurse in charge at all times, the Staffing Committee, wages and severance.

On April 19, UNA called a long term care Reporting Meeting and the delegates directed the negotiating committee to return to the bargaining table and try for complete hospital parity.

On May 16, long term care negotiations resumed with the employers still refusing the nurse in charge and the Staffing Committee demands but agreeing with hospital parity in wages and severance. UNA long term care members voted to accept this last offer and ratified their contract on May 29, after 16 months of bargaining.

In July, the health unit employers finally got back to the table and admitted that their proposals would result in major rollbacks for virtually all health unit nurses. The UNA negotiating committee was frustrated and disappointed with the employers’ attitudes and left the table to consult with members as to where to go next.

August and September were breakthrough months for health unit negotiations. UNA negotiated separately with the Chinook Health Unit in Region 1 and achieved virtual parity with UNA hospital contracts. With this Chinook agreement in hand, the UNA health unit negotiating committee was now able to put pressure on all the other health unit tables.

On September 15, health unit nurses overwhelming rejected the employers’ last rollback offer. UNA reported the results to the employers at the bargaining table and the employers tabled a new offer which contained:

– hospital wages and educational allowances

– hospital benefits including short term disability

– continuance of 5-5-4 scheduling

– a Professional Responsibility Committee

– an Occupational Health and Safety Committee

After almost 20 months of bargaining, the UNA health unit negotiating committee, with strong support from community nurses, had virtually achieved parity with hospital nurses—a long-held UNA bargaining goal.

This contract then became the standard and UNA settled with most of the other health unit employers. The major exception was with the Capital Health Authority Community whose negotiations continued into 1998.

In 1997, along with hospital, health unit and long term care contracts, UNA achieved negotiated settlements with the Victorian Order of Nurses, with the Red Cross, with Edith Cavelle Care Centre in Lethbridge, with Salem Manor in Leduc, with Bentley Hospital, with Bethany Care in Cochrane and with Mistahia Community Health.

Outstanding bargaining tables were the Capital Health Authority Community, Rosehaven (Camrose), Little Bow (Carmangay), Central Park Lodges, Extendicare, Grande Prairie Care Centre and a number of former SNAA contracts that needed to be completed. This work carried over into 1998.

Grievances, Arbitrations, Mediations and Hearings

In 1997, UNA members once again were vigilant in monitoring the application of their Collective Agreements and filed grievances when those contracts were violated. UNA Local executives, grievance committees and labour relations staff filed grievances, represented grievors in meetings, mediated settlements and, when satisfactory settlements were not achieved, presented the issues before arbitration boards.

UNA filed 771 grievances in 1997, 22 of which went to an arbitration hearing. 1997 was also the first year where grievance mediation provisions were negotiated into the Collective Agreement on a trial basis at the Foothills Hospital, the Red Deer Hospital and the Royal Alexandra Hospital. If this proves to be a successful process, UNA will consider negotiating such provisions into all Collective Agreements.

The Labour Relations Board held hearings on a matter very similar to the 1996 Central Park Lodge issue which UNA won. Capital Care eliminated almost all bargaining unit positions and then hired back a number of these nurses into management positions with virtually the same job duties. The remaining positions were filled by lesser-skilled workers. Again UNA claimed that this was a union-busting action and should be condemned by the LRB. The LRB indeed found in favour of UNA and supported the Central Park Lodge decision saying that the employer could not simply eliminate union positions and hire other job classifications to do the same work.

Education

1997 was a big year for education in UNA. 81 workshops were offered to 1631 participants.

In addition to the basic workshops on local administration, grievance, professional responsibility and occupational health and safety, UNA also offered workshops on contract implementation, the LPN Regulations, the use of generic health care workers and nurse abuse and harassment issues.

The amalgamation with SNAA meant that a lot of education was needed to introduce the new Locals to the UNA Constitution and to UNA’s Policies and Procedures. UNA held a special series of workshops to prepare SNAA delegates for the AGM; to bring the new SNAA Board members and staff up to speed quickly; and to provide SNAA Local Executive and Committee members with necessary information and documentation.

In addition, new UNA Locals needed workshops, as did newly-elected Executive members of established UNA Locals.

UNA also provided a full-day orientation for all new UNA Executive Board members and UNA staff worked with the entire UNA Executive Board in a planning workshop to set priorities and action plans for 1998.

UNA continued to research health care issues with particular emphasis in 1997 on the changes to the LPN Regulations and what that means for registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses. UNA worked collaboratively with the AARN to develop position statements and to distribute the information to nurses across Alberta.

UNA also researched and produced documentation on liability issues facing nurses.

1997 also saw the production and revision of UNA briefs, documents and position statements.

Communications

The UNA NEWSBULLLETIN continued to provide members with information on health care issues, bargaining progress, staffing issues, LPN Regulations and political action.

SPOTLIGHT was introduced in poster form—highlighting specific contract issues.

The UNA STAT was sent to Locals to provide up-to-date information for posting on UNA bulletin boards.

FRONTLINE was distributed with information on what was happening at different bargaining tables. Locals were urged to post these on their bulletin boards.

The Professional Responsibility database continued to be developed and in 1997 work was started on setting up an Occupational Health and Safety database as well as a Staffing Issues database. A big task for 1998 is the amalgamation of the former SNAA Locals’ PRC and OH&S issues into the UNA databases.

Political Action

• In January, UNA developed a brief on Nurse Abuse and followed this in February with a workshop and documentation on nursing liability.

• In February, to put pressure on employers and to show that UNA was serious about outstanding bargaining issues dealing with patient care issues and safe staffing levels, many Locals engaged in political activity in and around the workplace. For example, Lac La Biche nurses had an information walkabout to coincide with the grand opening of 10 new acute beds which were being opened without increasing the total staff count.

• In April, UNA co-sponsored a ceremony dedicated to workers who died or were injured as a result of unsafe conditions in their worksites. This ceremony coincided with a similar ceremony being held for the first time at the United Nations in New York.

• In May, UNA endorsed the Friends of Medicare presentation to the federal review committee on Drug Patent Legislation.

• Throughout early 1997, UNA mounted a campaign to oppose the proposed changes to the LPN Regulations. The campaign was a success in that the government phone lines were jammed and the government was told in clear terms of the dangers inherent in such changes. The campaign, however, failed to change the government’s mind and the proposed Regulations were adopted. The new Regulations allow LPN’s to be delegated to perform functions heretofore reserved for RN’s and RPN’s.

Through June, July and August, UNA worked with the AARN to develop a response to the changes. For the rest of 1997, the AARN and UNA distributed the AARN position papers and taught workshops and made presentations together and separately. These presentations were made to staff nurses, management nurses and to some Regional Health Authorities.

On May 29, UNA representatives met with the Deputy Minister of Health and the Executive Committee of Alberta Health to discuss the negative effects of health care cuts, short staffing and the effects of the new LPN Regulations on health care.

• In August, UNA was part of a rally at the Legislature supporting the continued existence of the Calgary General Hospital.

• 1997 saw the introduction of the Health Resources Group (HRG) in Calgary. The stated purpose of this group was to remodel the closed Salvation Army Grace Hospital in Calgary and re-open it as a private, for-profit facility. The initial phase of the operation was a $6 million fund-raising campaign and a renovation process to allow the HRG to open a 22,000 square foot facility with 37 in-patient hospital beds (including 4 intensive care beds), 8 day-surgery beds, 3 operating theatres, 6 post-anesthetic recovery beds and 2 multipurpose ambulatory clinics. Phase 1 began in August and HRG began operations as a surgical facility providing day surgery procedures. Phase 2 was to begin October 20 and add an additional range of non-tertiary surgical procedures which would require in-patient stays. These additional surgical procedures included spinal surgeries such as fusion and laminectomies; large joint replacement surgeries; and abdominal and thoracic surgical procedures. This in-patient phase was not implemented in 1997.

In its own literature, HRG claimed to be “a Canadian company and…all originating Principals, Board members and management staff are Canadian”. Originally, however, its directors were linked with the US-based Columbia Health Care Incorporated, a mammoth for-profit health care corporation that has been buying up hospitals until it is the largest health maintenance organization in the United States. Later the HRG was careful to point out that Columbia had nothing to do with the HRG in Calgary—this after studies showed that Columbia had a higher cost per patient bed than not-for-profit community-based hospitals.

HRG target populations were third party payers such as WCB; out-of-country clients; clients seeking uninsured services such as cosmetic surgery; and Regional Health Authorities who would contract services to HRG’s.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons approved the HRG for out-patient surgical services. The provincial government declared that it was a non-hospital facility. The HRG, therefore, would not be held to the standards set for hospital services in Alberta. Instead they would have to meet standards set by the College of Physicians and Surgeons.

The HRG claimed to support the Canada Health Act by not offering insured health services to insured Albertans on a user-pay basis. Nonetheless the HRG Hospital—for indeed it was a hospital in all but name—was the result of a determined push for a two-tier, for-profit health care system In Alberta. Despite a myriad of studies showing that taxpayers do not want a private health care system in Canada, there were entrepreneurs that continued to push for a parallel private system.

Two groups formed to oppose the opening of this first private, for-profit hospital in Canada and UNA was active in both groups. One group was based in Edmonton and consisted of a network of members of the public, seniors’ groups, citizens’ coalitions and union representatives. The other group was in Calgary and functioned under the umbrella of the Calgary chapter of the Friends of Medicare. UNA strongly urged the Premier and the provincial and federal Ministers of Health to say “no” to the HRG, and “no” to private, for-profit hospitals whatever they call themselves.

Despite opposition, the HRG opened as an out-patient hospital. However, in December, the College of Physicians and Surgeons declined to approve the HRG Hospital for in-patient care, thus throwing the decision back to the government. Although they did suggest that “hostel” beds might be appropriate rather than “in-patient beds”. 1997 came to a close with the HRG Hospital functioning only as an out-patient facility but it was only a matter of time until “hostel” beds would appear.

• Even as the fight against the HRG was consuming energy and time, yet another major privatization initiative occurred in Headwaters, the Regional Health Authority which governs the geographic area extending from Banff and Canmore down to High River and Claresholm. In late September the CEO of Health Care Australia met with Headwaters and a number of Bow Valley physicians as well as with representatives of the Town of Canmore Council and with the provincial Minister of Health.

The Health Care Organization of Australia (HCA) is Australia’s largest private health provider and is part of a publicly-listed global company named Mayne Nickless Ltd. which also operates Loomis Courier and Loomis Armoured Services in Canada. HCA has been in existence for 5 years and during that time has negotiated contracts worth over $$790 million dollars. Their brochure states that they aim to “lead the way in the world with the privatization of public facilities”.

Their proposal to Headwaters would have had HCA leasing the Canmore Hospital from the RHA thus becoming the provider of services in exchange for 3% of the hospital’s annual budget, which would have been about $3 million.

HCA promoted their proposal as a concept of public and private joint venture whereby the private sector would manage services on behalf of the government.

According to a growing number of studies coming out of New Zealand, Australia, England and the United States, this model of private management does not achieve the promised cost-savings nor does it provide any additional patient benefits. In fact, this model created many new hidden costs for both individuals and for taxpayers.

UNA Local members in Canmore mounted a major campaign to oppose the HCA’s proposal and met with their employers at the Headwaters Regional Health Authority, with the Town Council, with physicians and other health care providers and with townspeople. Their very determined work was rewarded in December when the Headwaters Regional Health Authority announced that they had turned down HCA’s proposal.

• In September, Heather Smith, President of UNA, was part of the Government of Canada’s Standing Committee on Finance’s pre-budget consultation process. She raised the issues of federal monies for a national home care plan and a pharmacare plan; the establishment of a Royal Commission on health care; and the effects of the Multilateral Agreement on Investment on health care.

• On the international trade front, UNA was faced with yet another major free trade agreement which expands far beyond trade and encompasses major investment capital. Canada is part of the Organization for Economic and Cooperation and Development (OECD) which is comprised of the leading developed countries. These so-called rich countries were negotiating a Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) which would have drastic negative effects on poor countries and on all but the wealthiest citizens in developed countries. Amongst a long list of negative effects, the implications for health care are disastrous. It would deny all levels of government the ability to set improved national or provincial health care standards and regulations. It would prevent the federal government from expanding the Canada Health Act to include community services, long term care services or pharmacare. And it would result in massive increases in world populations having little or no access to health care services.

• Along with the MAI, Canada was also negotiating expanded trade deals through the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum which met in Vancouver in November and all Canadians were given ample evidence of the extravagant hospitality being provided to national leaders who were labeled “dictators” and “despots” by opposition voices. Canadians also saw how far the Canadian government was prepared to curtail the rights of citizens to public protest. Pepper spray, violence and arrests were the order of the day in Vancouver when Canadians protested APEC and when UBC students objected to having dictators as guests on the UBC campus.

UNA worked with the Council of Canadians in raising opposition to both the MAI and APEC.

• In September, Heather Smith was invited as a delegate to attend the Premier’s Growth Summit as part of the MUSSH group—Municipalities, Universities, Schools, Social Services and Health Care. Despite obvious government attempts to raise such issues as debt reduction and tax reductions and to reduce discussion of reinvestment in education and health care, the delegates made clear and unequivocal recommendations regarding the huge surplus—reinvest in education and health care.

• In October, UNA representatives met with John Dossiter, Jr. senior policy adviser to the federal Minister of Health, Alan Rock. Again health care issues and the expansion and strengthening of the Canada Health Act were discussed.

• In the Fall, focus was again put on raising UNA’s opposition to the provisions of the Protection for Persons in Care Act. Again the government is proceeding to enact a very flawed piece of legislation. The Act takes effect January 5, 1998, and UNA is developing workshops and information for distribution to the membership.

• In October, UNA invited Wendy Armstrong from the Consumers’ Association of Canada to spend a few days with elected leaders and staff identifying the major issues in health care and then to work with UNA to devise an overall provincial plan to address these issues in 1998.

Professional Responsibility and Staffing Issues

An increased focus on professional issues and staffing issues, both in UNA’s communications and in UNA’s workshops, resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of PRC and Staffing issues being addressed; in an increase in the number of active Professional Responsibility Committees at the Local level; and in an increase in the number of presentations to the governing boards.

With the health unit contracts now having PRC and OH&S provisions, community nurses had new vehicles through which to address client care issues and health and safety issues.

The new Staffing Committees met with surprising success in many hospital Locals. It would seem that management nurses were very aware of the serious staffing shortages and welcomed the Union’s presentations at Staffing Committee meetings as opportunities to pressure administrations for more staff.

Another aspect of the Staffing Committees that proved to be very helpful was the power of the Committee to demand relevant statistical information from the employer.

Pensions

Again in 1997, UNA had a representative on the Local Authorities Pension Plan Board and this representation proved to be very important for UNA members. As the LAPP moved toward independence and as the Regional Health Authorities continued to plan to privatize nurses’ pension plan, watchfulness and vigilance became a priority so that the interests of nurses would be well represented and protected.

Annual General Meeting

The 1997 Annual General Meeting was held October 22 and 23 in Edmonton and over 500 people attended. This was an important year in many ways. Not only did UNA formally welcome the former SNAA members and Locals into UNA but UNA also celebrated its 20th Anniversary with a wonderful banquet and evening of entertainment. Many long-time UNA activists and friends joined the celebration.

UNA delegates to the AGM discussed a number of serious issues:

– organizational review

– composite Locals

– health care challenges

– Local funding

– constitutional amendments

Karen Craik was elected into a one year term as Secretary-Treasurer and Bev Dick was acclaimed as Vice-President for a two year term.

Membership Services

Historically, casual nurses and some part-time nurses have not had access to a full range of benefits from their employers. In 1997, UNA negotiated with an insurance company benefits for part-time nurses who work less than 15 hours a week and for casual nurses. This was an optional package but it was met with enthusiasm by a large number of UNA members who had little or no access to benefits.

The UNA boutique continued to offer promotional items—caps, tote bags,        t-shirts, sweatshirts and watches. The biggest demand continued to be for RN and RPN pins and for the famous UNA two-coloured pens.

Computerization

At the end of 1996, UNA celebrated having all Locals on the Network. But in 1997 there was no time to sit back and rest. Local Executive changes meant computer education and training for new people.

In the early part of 1997, when negotiations were heating up and boiling over, the fact that all our Locals were on computer meant that almost instantaneous communication was possible. Many UNA members sat in front of their monitors day and night. There was never a moment when watchful eyes were not present. The computer Network proved its worth through those grim days and continued to be a very valuable tool for communication and dialogue.

In 1997, Internet e-mail access was established for all users on the Network. Information-sharing between and amongst Locals was enhanced as well as communication with employers and the government.

The big challenge in 1997 came when UNA organized new Locals and amalgamated with all the former SNAA Locals. This meant a very large demand for computers and computer training that will extend well into 1998.

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