CEO raises appalling, says HEU

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Wage double standard will only drive away front-line health care workers

While front-line health care workers have been forced by an imposed contract to take 15-per-cent wage cuts, senior health authority executives have reaped pay raises of up to 18 per cent over the past two years.

And while the Campbell Liberals defend the CEO salary hikes as necessary to attract top talent, the Hospital Employees’ Union says the government’s double standard on wages will only drive more skilled and experienced workers out of the B.C. health care system.

Earlier this week, a CBC investigation revealed that two chief operating officers at the Fraser Health Authority boosted their salaries from $160,000 to $190,000 a year — an increase of 18 per cent.

At the Provincial Health Services Authority, the director of mental health services also saw her salary jump 18 per cent while the Northern Health Authority’s chief operating officer got a 17-per-cent raise.

Other executive raises include:
  • Vancouver Island Health Authority CEO and NHA CEO: five per cent
  • VIHA deputy chief medical officer: 32 per cent (from $150,000 to $198,000)
  • VIHA medical director (Central Vancouver Island): 18 per cent
  • FHA COO (Fraser South): 8.3 per cent
  • PHA chief human resources officer: 9 per cent
  • Vancouver Coastal Health Authority: Eight new positions making more than $125,000, for a 31-per-cent increase in staff at the top

HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt, slamming the government’s double standard, says the union is unimpressed with the premier’s argument that these pay hikes are needed to attract the best managers.

“These executive wage hikes show just how out of touch this government is with the situation facing workers in our hospitals and long-term care facilities,” says Allnutt.

“They should be much more concerned about the retention and recruitment crisis that their 15-per-cent wage cuts will cause among skilled and experienced staff. Even before Bill 37, one out of three of our members was looking for work outside of health care. But the imposed rollbacks will only make it worse.” Allnutt says that, in the aftermath of Bill 37, the union is pressing health employers to address the retention and recruitment crisis facing front-line health care workers.