Workers in community health ratify a new contract

Bargaining bulletin

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HEU’s 1,500 members in community health have voted 97 per cent in favour of ratifying a new collective agreement. The subsector’s 13,000 workers also said yes to the contract by 97 per cent.

HEU secretary-business manager Judy Darcy says that our members went into this round of negotiations with our union partners “looking to recover lost ground, increase wages, protect jobs and win respect for our work.

“Important gains have been made on all these fronts in this negotiated settlement,” says Darcy.

“With its ratification, our members can turn their attention to improving the care they provide and strengthening community-based health services across the province.”

The four-year agreement includes compound wage increases totaling 11.4 per cent with additional adjustments for targeted classifications including licensed practical nurses, stronger protection against contracting out, and improved health and safety provisions, along with a signing bonus of $4,200.

Starting April 1, workers in the community health subsector will finally be covered by a pension plan, and new limits on contracting out and privatization will safeguard the quality and continuity of care received by thousands of British Columbians every day.

Community health workers provide vital home support services for the elderly and infirm, care services in mental health group homes, alcohol and addiction counselling, and important administrative and program support for community-based health services provided by BC’s health authorities.

HEU members Lou Black, Marci Fisk and Graham O’Neill represented their co-workers in the multi-union bargaining association that includes the BC Government and Service Employees’ Union, the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1518, the Health Sciences Association, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, and the Professional Employees Association.