THE member unions of the Community Bargaining Association (CBA) have ratified a new three-year collective agreement with the Health Employers Association of British Columbia (HEABC). The B.C. General Employees’ Union (BCGEU) is the lead union representing 13,000 members and the agreement covers more than 21,000 community health workers across B.C.
The deal was ratified by a vote of over 94 per cent.
The tentative agreement represents substantial gains in key areas identified by members including significant wage increases averaging 14 to 16 per cent over three years, protecting workers’ benefits, and providing greater control over working conditions.
“In this round of bargaining, our members’ main goal was to make meaningful progress toward closing the pay gap with their peers in other health sectors,” said BCGEU President Stephanie Smith on Wednesday. “Thanks to the solidarity and resolve of members in the sector, they met this goal and have made important gains towards the long-term sustainability of the community health sector. I’d like to thank the bargaining committee for its dedication to members and to all the people in B.C. that rely on these vital services.”
Members of the CBA are health care professionals who provide home care that enables seniors age in place, support people living with mental health and addictions challenges and provide administrative services to keep the community health care system running smoothly.
The new agreement is effective April 1, 2022, to March 31, 2025.
Other member unions of the CBA are UFCW, HEU, CUPE, HSA, USW, CLAC and BCNU.
According to the Finance Ministry:
The ratified agreement includes:
* a three-year term – April 1, 2022, until March 31, 2025
* general wage increases:
* Year 1 – a flat increase of $0.25/hour, which provides a greater percentage increase for lower paid employees, plus 3.24%
* Year 2 – 5.5%, plus a potential cost-of-living adjustment to a maximum of 6.75%
* Year 3 – 2%, plus a potential cost-of-living adjustment to a maximum of 3%
* a negotiable “flexibility allocation” of up to 0.25% in years 1 and 2 to support mutually beneficial outcomes for both parties.
* other achievements in this round of negotiations included the continuation of low-wage redress to bring parity of CBA positions with similar positions and provisions in the Facilities Bargaining Association, as well agreement to participate in the joint, which is a bargaining association joint forum. In addition, the parties agreed to changes that will improve recruitment and retention, including home support scheduling, the ability to recognize previous experience for placement on the wage grid, and retention of seniority for employees relocating within a health authority.