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Community Health Bargaining Update

An Historic Tentative Agreement

In just over a week, UFCW 1518 healthcare members, and members of seven other BC unions, will have the chance to vote on an historic agreement that will make a big difference in every community health worker’s life. Thanks to the unwavering support of their fellow workers, the Community Bargaining Association (CBA) secured an agreement with the largest general wage increases that we’ve ever seen since the Association formed, and so much more!

Are you a community health member and want to know what you will earn if we ratify this agreement? Find out with the wage calculator!

All eight unions in the Community Bargaining Association —including UFCW 1518 — unanimously recommend ratification of this fantastic agreement. A few of the major improvements that ratification will introduce to the job, include:

  • Average wage increases of 14% to 16% for each step of the wage grid over three years.
  • A significant gain towards wage parity with those working under the Facilities Agreement in hospitals and care facilities, including the elimination of Step 1.
  • A funding commitment from the government to ensure the long-term viability of the Joint Community Benefit Trust. (No cuts to benefits and an improved funding model!)
  • Extension of the CRA vehicle allowance rate to all employees covered by the CBA.
  • Guaranteed-hours positions for regular community health workers in windows of availability.
  • Language that obliges the employer to tell you what a meeting with management is about, before the meeting happens.
  • A variety of improvements to address chronic recruitment and retention issues in our sector.
  • Occupational health & safety (OHS) — language was included to address aggressive behavior, violence prevention training, critical incident debriefing/defusing, ergonomics, and psychological safety and health.
  • Premium increases for weekend and evening shifts.
  • Expanded mobility rights for workers who want to move jobs within their health authority.
  • An additional day of paid vacation for all regular employees.
  • 50% of costs for employer-requested medical certificates to be paid by the employer.
  • New overtime distribution language that includes seniority.

Read more about these highlights and other features of the agreement, in this compact, easy-to-understand review.

You can also view the full tentative agreement here.

Next Steps

Before voting begins, UFCW 1518’s Community Health bargaining representatives and union leaders want to provide members with as much information, in as many forms, as possible. We’ve set up three events for community health workers to attend, so you can ask questions and learn more. The first one is just for Shop Stewards. The other two are for all members. Please encourage each other to attend and to vote!

Shop Stewards—Zoom:

Thursday, January 26 @ 5 pm PST

Stewards, please check your emails for the zoom link. Join UFCW 1518 President Kim Novak and Secretary-Treasurer Patrick Johnson and other healthcare activists for an important discussion about your role in the ratification vote.

Telephone town hall:

Monday, January 30 @ 10:00 am—10:30 am PST & 5:00 pm—5:30 pm PST

Get on a call with your Community Health bargaining representatives, UFCW 1518 President Kim Novak and Secretary-Treasurer Patrick Johnson to learn more about the details of the tentative agreement and to ask questions. Participating in the Town Hall is as simple as answering your phone. We’ll call you at the specified time!

Zoom information sessions:

Tuesday, January 31—Thursday, February 2 @ 10:00 am—11:00 am PST & 5:00 pm—6:00 pm PST

Join a Zoom call with your bargaining representatives to get all the information you need to make an informed vote when it comes time to hit the online polls. Register for one of six zoom info sessions here.

Voting and More

Online voting will begin on February 1. We will send your voting credentials by email at 12 pm on February 1. If you do not receive your voting credentials at that time, please contact us at [email protected] or call 1-800-661-3708.

If you know of any coworkers who are not receiving UFCW 1518 emails, please tell them to email [email protected] and provide their first name, last name, email, cell phone number, employee ID, and employer name.

Because the Community Bargaining Association comprises seven other unions, whose healthcare members also need to vote on this historic tentative agreement, we won’t be able to provide the results of the vote until March 1.

If you are a community health member, encourage your coworkers to attend the UFCW 1518 Telephone Town Hall and Zoom Sessions – to make your ratification vote really count, everyone needs to get involved.

Thank you again to our members for your resolve, passion and unrelenting support. You made it clear to the CBA what you needed out of this agreement, and you stood behind your demands. Now, thousands of BC workers have an equitable agreement that will support them while they support British Columbians.

Community Health Bargaining Update

Tentative Agreement Reached

We are pleased to announce that the Health Services & Support – Community Subsector Association (CBA), which includes UFCW 1518, reached a tentative agreement in the early hours of Sunday, January 15, 2023.

UFCW 1518 and the seven other unions included in this contract unanimously support the tentative agreement. We are encouraging all healthcare members to vote in favour of ratification of this contract, which will preserve your benefits, provide significant wage increases, and strengthen language protections.

In the coming days, we will share more details about the tentative agreement, information meetings that we will hold, and the voting process.

This has been a challenging round of bargaining, and we thank the membership for your continued support and engagement throughout the negotiations. You helped give our committee the clear message to keep fighting for a fair deal, which has led us to securing the best possible deal that we are proud to recommend.

If any of your coworkers are not receiving UFCW 1518 email updates now is the time to contact us! Please have them email [email protected] with their full name, employer, employee ID, and personal email address.

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.

New Contract at Sointula Co-Op!

Workers at Sointula Co-Op sent in a ringing endorsement of a new collective agreement that will bring major improvements to their workplace.

Workers celebrate the new contract at Sointula Co-Op!
Workers celebrate the new contract at Sointula Co-Op!

100% of voters said “yes” to the new contract. These retail workers came together and bargained hard for important contract gains, including:

  • Wage increases between 8.3% and 30% over the life of the 4-year agreement
  • For the first year, wage increases range as high as $4.25. The majority of the members will be earning at least $2/hr above the living wage for the area
  • Retroactive pay on all wage increases to May 31, 2021
  • Minimum wage adjustment so that no member ever falls to a minimum wage again
  • Increased hours restriction, up to twice per year
  • Easier access to educational leave (down to 2 years)
  • New Shop Steward Orientation on paid employer time

“The bargaining committee at Sointula worked hard to get major improvements that will help with the increasing cost of living,” said UFCW 1518 Negotiator Stephen Portman. “They showed what workers are capable of achieving when they stand together and demand better.”

Congratulations to workers at Sointula on their new contract and a big thank you to Bargaining Committee members Janet Pohto and Monty Hals.

If you work in retail and are interested in improving your workplace, learn more at ufcw1518.com/join-us.

Wage Increases and Contract Improvements for Workers at NPF Comox

UFCW 1518 members at Non-Public Fund Employees Comox (NPF Comox) voted in favour of a new contract featuring wage increases, flexible work week schedule, and new leave of absence.

Blair Grinde, a member of the UFCW 1518 bargaining committee, worked closely with coworkers and union negotiators to craft a robust new collective bargaining agreement that tackles a number of workplace concerns. The new NPF Comox contract will raise wages for all members and provide more improvements to workers.

Some of the highlights of the new agreement include:

  1. 7% wage increase over 4 years
  2. Changes to overtime pay for a compressed workweek
  3. Flexible workweek schedule where applicable
  4. Added online job postings
  5. Added a 12th statutory holiday (September 30 for National Truth and Reconciliation Day)
  6. Maternity Leave Of Absence allowance (not indebted) if worker’s spouse is transferred to another location
  7. New Domestic Violence Leave Of Absence

The contract is being finalized by the employer and union negotiators, and when it is finished, it will be shared with NPF Comox members. Members will also be able to find a copy of their contract at memberresourcecentre.com.

Congratulations to the members at NPF Comox on your new contract!

At ufcw1518.com/join-us, non-unionized workers can learn more about the advantages of being a part of a union.

Workers at Bulkley Valley Wholesale Ratified New Contract

Workers at Bulkley Valley Wholesale in Smithers, British Columbia, recently ratified their new contract containing major improvements.

Bulkley Valley Wholesale workers won: 

  1. lump sums as well as off-scale increases for anyone not on the food clerk wage scale
  2. new wage scale for food clerk with significant increases
  3. improvement in vacation entitlement and receiving pay at time of vacation for PT

Members of the bargaining committee, Brian Arnot and Dave Higgins, did outstanding work on this agreement. They achieved great results for the members thanks to the workers’ collective voices and the work of the bargaining committee.

The full terms of the new contract will be available at memberresourcecentre.com/knowledge-base/collective-agreements as soon as the contract is finalized.

Congratulations to the workers at Bulkley Valley Wholesale on their new contract!

Learn more at ufcw1518.com/join-us if you’re interested in joining a union and fighting for improved wages and working conditions.