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Bargaining with HEABC Hits a Wall

Strike vote is a potential as members prepare to mobilize

On Nov. 3, the members of the Community Bargaining Association (CBA) of healthcare unions, including UFCW 1518, met with your employer, the HEABC, along with a representative from the Public Sector Employers’ Council (PSEC) Secretariat.

We impressed upon the PSEC that the employer’s last monetary offer is not enough to meet your core bargaining demands. In particular, we emphasized the dramatic differences in compensation between CBA and FBA workers and the impact it has had, and will continue to have, on recruitment and retention in the CBA.
 
Although we tried to clearly demonstrate the disparity, we have received no indication that the monetary offer from the Province of BC will change.
 
We are deeply disappointed and feel there is no purpose meeting anymore with HEABC until we talk with you – the membership. We will be scheduling a meeting with the UFCW Healthcare Bargaining Advisory Committee and on Dec. 6, your UFCW 1518 leadership is hosting a telephone townhall, where we will share this bargaining update with the entire membership, along with a plan to connect with your coworkers and an important update on the strong financial position of our Member Action Reserve Fund (formerly called the strike fund).
 
In the coming weeks, stay tuned for more opportunities to learn about what the employer’s current offer means, what essential services are and how they work, and what a potential strike vote and resulting job action would look like. Please continue to check your email for more information about the townhall. Encourage your coworkers to join!
 
Our goal is to do outreach until mid January. Then the constituent unions of the CBA will meet with each other to strategize.
 

HEABC Bargaining Continues, Progress Stalls

The push for parity continues

Between Oct. 19 and 21, the Community Bargaining Association (CBA) committee resumed negotiations with your employer, the Health Employers Association of BC (HEABC). We did make progress and are close to resolving outstanding non-monetary matters, and we’re currently working to reach an agreement on changes to hours of work in both Article 14 and 15.

However, the HEABC’s (on behalf of the Provincial government) monetary offer does not go far enough – and the committee has continued to emphasize this. Although the offer includes monies to match the top rate of CBA classifications to the comparable FBA rate, it does not address the significant gap in shift premium rates, vacation entitlement, or the three years of full-time hours it takes to reach the top step.

More concerning is that there must be additional money provided to fund the Joint Community Benefits Trust at the same contribution rates as the FBA. The bargaining committee has made it very clear – without additional funding, not only will we not be able to match benefits, we’ll remain in a position where the benefits of workers in the CBA could be reduced. We are committed to stopping this from happening and that is why we are fighting for additional money from the province to avoid this impact on our members in the long term.

We are going to make one more attempt to resolve these matters in the coming weeks at the bargaining table. If we are unsuccessful, we will have no other choice but to engage members on next steps up to and including the potential of taking a strike vote.

Please share this update with any coworkers, and if there are members in your workplace who are not receiving updates, please encourage them to send their contact information to [email protected], with their full name, employer name, work location, and member ID.

Bargaining Update: HEABC Talks Stalled

Community Bargaining Association Seeking Fair Deal for Members

Your Community Bargaining Association (CBA) has been hard at work over the last two weeks, bargaining with the Health Employer’s Association of British Columbia (HEABC). More than 2,000 UFCW 1518 members fall under this agreement and stand to gain significant improvements in their contracts once an agreement is reached.

Unfortunately, negotiations have stalled out due to the employer’s resistance to non-monetary improvements and wage increases that would bring home support workers closer in line with what their peers who work in Facilities have.

From the beginning of negotiations with HEABC, your union’s position has been clear: home support workers are a critical part of our healthcare system, and they deserve better wages, premiums, and vacation benefits that recognize their incredible work.

There is some good news, however, as the CBA has come to tentative agreements on improving the language on overtime opportunities and enabling full mobility with health authorities.

What happens next?

Despite these recent difficulties, your union remains committed to negotiating a fair deal that not only provides you with the compensation you deserve but also begins to address the chronic understaffing and retention issues that continue to make your work unsustainable.

You can help your Bargaining Committee and the CBA pressure the employer by helping us mobilize your fellow UFCW 1518 members. Over the next couple of weeks, please take a few moments to check in with your co-workers and ask if they have been receiving our email updates. If they haven’t, have them email our head office at [email protected] or phone us toll-free at 1.800.661.3708. Tell them to provide us with their first and last name, email address, work location name, employee number, and cell phone number. Having updated contact information for all members will be critically important if we need to pull together a demonstration of worker solidarity.

The CBA and HEABC do not have imminent dates scheduled to resume bargaining, and negotiations will likely resume in mid-October. We will update you following the next round of talks and will keep you in the loop if there are any developments in the meantime.