Community health talks focus on scheduling, union proposals for better, more integrated care

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Talks between the unions representing 13,000 community health workers and the Health Employers Association of BC focused on the contentious issues of hours of work and scheduling for home support workers as bargaining continued February 9.

One of the goals is to reduce and eliminate the prevalence of split shifts for caregivers – a product of the client-based funding system that makes it difficult for home support workers to cobble together enough hours to make a decent living.

Earlier in the week, the multi-union bargaining association tabled a series of creative proposals for more efficient delivery of home support services along with concrete solutions to reduce the alarming injury rate for front-line workers.

These proposals included a call to give BC’s health authorities more management control over the current patchwork system that now involves 25 separate agencies.

The unions also tabled a series of health and safety measures like better safety planning, added staffing when warranted by the physical and mental condition of clients, and with a number of simple, small scale measures to reduce injury rates.

Employers were non-committal in response.

The multi-union bargaining association meets Monday, February 13. Talks with HEABC resume February 14 and could continue through the weekend.