HSPBA condemns bargaining tactics by employer - 'an insult to members.'
Vancouver (16 Nov. 2010) - After eight months of bargaining for a new collective agreement, the Health Employers Association of BC (HEABC) is demanding what amounts to significant concessions from health science professionals across B.C.
Maureen Headley, chief negotiator for the Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association (HSPBA), called the employer's package an insult to all union members covered by the contract, including the Health Sciences Association of B.C. (HSABC/NUPGE).
“For the past several months, we have been working on developing and presenting proposals that address some of the most difficult issues in our health care system," Headley said.
The issues include waiting lists for patients, retention and recruitment to address shortages of the highly skilled professionals the system relies on for quick and accurate diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation.
“From the outset, we have been clear that the mandate that drives our bargaining committee is to negotiate a contract that protects quality health care and values the work of health science professionals,” Headley said.
“We have tabled proposals that focus on these problems and reflect a real commitment to have an in-depth and detailed discussion about the challenges in recruitment and retention. Our ultimate goal is to have a creative discussion and develop strategies that address these continuing issues and ensure better health care for British Columbians."
Rather than agree to work collaboratively with the union, HEABC has proposed deleting provisions relating to chief paramedicals, additional procedures, sole charge and definitions related to general supervision as well as regional supervisory responsibilities. The employer’s proposals would expand the Grade I level to include the vast majority of positions presently attracting Grade II salaries.
“This response from the employer – to gut a classifications system that needs to be modernized to reflect the contribution of a complex group in health care – shows that HEABC is not committed to supporting the health science professionals who bring necessary and critical contributions to the modern health care team,” Headley said.
In addition to maintaining a “net-zero mandate” on wages, HEABC has proposed the benefit funding formula on extended health and dental benefits be changed from 100% employer-paid to 70% employer-paid, with the employee paying 30% of the premium.
HEABC has also proposed that part-time employees’ benefits be cut from 100% to a pro-rata benefit coverage based on regular full-time equivalent (FTE) status. For example, a half-time employee presently receiving 100% benefits would only have 35% coverage paid by the employer.
“Clearly this is completely unacceptable, and we have delivered that message consistently to the employer at the bargaining table,” Headley said.
Complete details of the HSPBA's update of the situation can be found on the HSABC website.
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