AFTER almost a year of negotiations the Community Bargaining Association (CBA) reached a tentative agreement on a new collective agreement with the Health Employers Association of British Columbia (HEABC) in the early hours of Sunday, January 15. The agreement covers more than 21,000 community health workers across B.C.
The tentative agreement represents substantial gains in key areas identified by members including significant wage increases, 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 BC General Employees’ Union (BCGEU) President Stephanie Smith. “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 of B.C. that rely on these vital services.”
The tentative agreement has a three-year term and includes a general wage increase in each year. It also contains additional low wage redress monies, and the retention of benefits and seniority should workers move jobs within the same health authority.
Full details will be shared with members in the coming weeks as the union prepares for ratification. The ratification vote is expected to be completed before the end of February.
The BCGEU is the lead union representing 13,000 of the 21,000 members of the CBA. Other unions at the table were UFCW, HEU, CUPE, HSA, USW, CLAC and BCNU.