#P3 Paramedical Professional Bargaining an exercise in frustration, says negotiator

Bargaining bulletin

After ten days of talks, the Paramedical Professional Bargaining Association and the Health Employers’ Association of BC are no closer to negotiating a new collective agreement.

“So far, it’s been an exercise in frustration,” said Health Sciences Association executive director Rick Lampshire, chief negotiator for the bargaining association.

The association represents 10,000 health professionals from HSA, HEU, the B.C. Government and Services Employees’ Union, CUPE and the Professional Employees’ Association.

“We tabled a very straightforward set of proposals on January 30. Since then, the employer has presented 30 concession demands and has refused to discuss solutions to the challenges of recruitment and the retention of highly skilled health care professionals,” he said.

HEABC’s approach is a major obstacle to any progress. “The employer wants to solve the challenge of recruitment and retention of health science professionals by taking money from workers’ pockets,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt.

“We’re at the table with a bare bones proposal dealing with shortages the employer identified as an issue, but it seems there’s no interest on the employer’s side to find solutions,” said Lampshire.

The employer’s concession proposals include:

  • reduced vacation time
  • increased probationary periods
  • concessions affecting maternity leave
  • mandatory pay-back of employer-imposed education if a member leaves a job within one year of the training
  • increased power for the employer to arbitrarily set work schedules and reassign staff
  • increased use of on-call staff for non-emergency services
  • reductions on sick leave caps
Lampshire is hopeful that when negotiations resume next week, the employer will be interested in getting down to business.

The current collective agreement expires March 31.