B.C. health professionals vote to accept five year agreement

Health science professionals have voted 76 per cent in favour of accepting a new five-year contract.

Vancouver (07 January 2014) – Members of the Health Sciences Association of B.C. (HSABC/NUPGE) and the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) voted to accept a tentative agreement in late December. 

Agreement provides stability for health professionals and patients

Both unions agreed that this new five year agreement provides stability for the thousands of health science professionals throughout the province.

"This agreement meets our shared objectives for stability in the health care system, and recognizes the importance of a commitment to recruitment and retention. In addition, employers have committed to processes aimed at recruitment and retention of highly skilled and in-demand health science professionals," said Val Avery, President of HSABC, which leads the Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association.

“In a difficult economic climate, the bargaining committee was able to attain modest wage increases and ensure that members’ benefits are protected," said BCGEU President Darryl Walker.

Improvements address priority issues facing health professionals and the system

Highlights of the tentative agreement include:

  • Wage increases totalling 5.5 per cent over five years; with a possibility for improvements dependent on the performance of BC's economy (Economic Stability Dividend)
  • Possibility of further increases if comparable public sector compensation rises
  • Current benefits provided by the collective agreement will be maintained until April 1, 2016
  • A jointly-run trust will be established by April 1, 2016 to allow for joint administration and decision-making about participation in and management of benefits
  • The Pharmacare Tie-In drug benefits coverage program, introduced in the 2012-2014 contract, will be improved to allow for 50 per cent coverage for prescriptions not covered by the Pharmacare formulary. The change is retroactive to September 1, 2013
  • Improved commitment to disability management for staff, ensuring they are supported to return to work successfully after absence due to injury or illness – health care workers experience the highest rate of occupational injury in B.C.
  • A joint recruitment and retention committee designed to address issues and initiatives to ensure long-term supply of highly skilled health science professionals

The Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association is led by HSABC/NUPGE and includes other health science professionals represented by BCGEU/NUPGE, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the Professional Employees Association and the Hospital Employees' Union.

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