B.C. community health workers reach tentative agreement

Workers in community health were without a contract since March 31, 2012 and are among the lowest paid in the public sector.

Vancouver (15 Jan. 2013) —The multi-union Community Bargaining Association (CBA) has reached a tentative collective agreement with the Health Employers’ Association of B.C. (HEABC).

The two-year proposed agreement covers over 14,000 workers in community health, and comes after one year of difficult negotiations. The agreement achieves key priorities including an across the board wage increase while protecting health and welfare benefits.

Highlights include:

  • three per cent wage increase for all employees (two per cent upon ratification and one per cent on April 1);
  • improved scheduling provisions;
  • improved grievance arbitration language;
  • respectful workplace provisions;
  • improved selection criteria provisions;
  • elimination of a double probationary period for casuals; and
  • protection for casuals in the event of retendering.

Last week, mediator Debbie Cameron was able to narrow the differences and bring the parties closer together.

“The agreement follows the pattern set in the recently ratified agreement in Facilities and is consistent with the other agreements reached in the health sector,” says Darryl Walker, President of the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE).

“It was a long, hard week at the table and a difficult year of bargaining,” added Walker. “Our strong strike mandate and the commitment and determination from the Community Bargaining Association caused the employer to back away from demands to cost-share health and welfare premiums, reflecting one of the key priorities set forth by our members.”

The bargaining committee is recommending acceptance of the tentative contract.

Workers in community health were without a contract since March 31, 2012 and are among the lowest paid in the public sector. They are the frontline caregivers in B.C.'s healthcare system, providing compassionate, quality care and support to people in their homes and other facilities.

NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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