#P4 Progress is slow at paramedical bargaining table

Bargaining bulletin

The paramedical professional bargaining association concluded three more days of negotiations with little progress to report.

Negotiations centred around hours of work, WCB and employment security, with HEABC clarifying its proposal to give employers the unilateral right to change work schedules, eliminating flex days and modified work weeks in the process.

“These demands are completely unacceptable,” said the Health Sciences Association’s Rick Lampshire, the bargaining association’s chief negotiator.

He said the unions are getting increasingly frustrated with the employer’s attempts — from a number of angles — to chip away at wages and benefits instead of addressing the real solution to shortages in the paramedical professions by funding a fair collective agreement. “Who knows best how to meet the needs of the patients but those who work with them every day?” he asked.

There has been agreement so far only on amendments to parental leave provisions of the agreement. “And that is merely to bring us up to meet provincial employment standards — and even at that, concession demands remain on the table to water those provisions down,” says Lampshire.

“Unfortunately, the employer is in no hurry to get down to real bargaining,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. “They are not bending on their concession demands and proposals for more management decision-making about front-line health care delivery. We say that’s best left to the professionals who provide that care.”

The Paramedical Bargaining Association represents 14,000 paramedical professionals in the Hospital Employees’ Union, Health Sciences Association, BC Government and Service Employees’ Union, Canadian Union of Public Employees and the Professional Employees’ Association.