Paramedical professionals contemplate next move as talks adjourn

Bargaining bulletin

Talks between paramedical professionals and the Health Employers Association are on hold while the unions’ negotiators consider their next move.

One of the first moves of the new Liberal government was to legislate paramedical professionals back to work, prohibiting them from taking any further job action for 50 days.

The chief negotiator for the Paramedical Professional Bargaining Association, Rick Lampshire of the Health Sciences Association, said that although they complied with the legislation, the employer didn't even make a pretense of bargaining.

“HEABC is even refusing to meet for negotiations at a neutral location — standard practice in management negotiations,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt.

On June 28, union negotiators heard from special mediator Stephen Kelleher that HEABC has not changed the offer that had resulted in the bargaining breakdown on May 9.

“They are telling us there’s no money for paramedical professionals, but they’ve somehow found the necessary funds for substantial raises to deputy ministers” says Allnutt.

Lampshire says that until now paramedical professionals’ job actions have been responsible and measured, and that they have been negotiating in good faith.

“But HEABC is sending the message that this behaviour is not respected,” he adds.

The talks have adjourned. The unions in the Paramedical Professional Bargaining Association will be discussing what options are available to them in their efforts to achieve a collective agreement that values the contribution of paramedical professionals.

The bargaining association represents 14,000 paramedical professionals in the Health Sciences Association, Hospital Employees’ Union, Canadian Union of Public Employees, B.C. Government and Services Employees' Union and Professional Employees' Association.