About $40 million dollars in funding to address low wages will soon be distributed to community health workers, including about 2000 UFCW 1518 members. The money was gained during negotiations for their new collective agreement, which takes effect April 1.
“Finally, we are working with a cooperative Minister of Health,” said President Kim Novak. “It helps that Minister Dix is determined to fix 16 years of neglect our members and the health care system experienced under the former Liberal government.”
UFCW 1518 belongs to the Community Bargaining association, which bargains on behalf of 10 unions representing 16,000 health care workers across British Columbia.
The low wage redress funding is intended to address the discrepancy in wages between workers in community health and those working in higher paid areas of the health care sector, including facilities. “This funding is different than the comparability monies distributed under the previous collective agreement,” says President Novak. “It will be allocated to a greater number of positions, which is a good thing for our members.”
The Low Wage Redress Committee convened last fall to determine how the $40 million would be allocated. Despite missing its deadline to reach agreement on the allocation of the funding, the committee has made significant progress. “Some matters that were referred to arbitration according to the process outlined in the collective agreement have been settled,” explained President Novak, adding that the committee expects to be finished within the next 30 days. “I know our members have been waiting to hear news about the low wage redress. As soon as the work is complete, we will let them know!”