Health care workers ratify contract

News release

Three-year contract covers 46,000 hospital and long-term care workers

Front-line health care workers from hospitals and long-term care facilities across B.C. have voted 62 per cent in favour of a new three-year contract reached with health employers early last month.

The agreement provides 46,000 workers with solid wage and benefit improvements and with measures to make work safer in B.C.’s most dangerous workplaces.

The contract also provides for higher staffing levels in long-term care facilities, a move that health care unions say will improve the quality of care for B.C.’s seniors, and eliminates wage and benefit disparities between long-term care workers.

“While the overall compensation package in this contract is strong,” says Hospital Employees’ Union secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt, “the relatively low positive vote result reflects union members’ concerns that the wage increases aren’t in line with the increasing costs they face in their communities.”

Allnutt acted as spokesperson for the multi-union bargaining association and represents 43,000 members covered by the contract.

“We’re very pleased that employment security is protected in this agreement,” says George Heyman, president of the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union which has 2,500 members covered by the contract. “And after a long wait, the contract also provides fairness to many long-term care workers by providing them wages and benefits that are on par with other workers in the sector.”

The Health Employers Association of B.C. has also ratified the contract.

The highlights of the collective agreement are:

  • wage increases of $61 a month in year one, two per cent in year two and a cost of living adjustment with a 1.5 per cent floor in year three;
  • extended health benefit improvements
  • $15 million over three years to provide better care for seniors in long-term care facilities;
  • expanded pay equity adjustments;
  • measures to eliminate wage and benefit disparities within the sector; and
  • extension of pension coverage to hundreds of caregivers at private, for-profit facilities by the end of the agreement.