Health employers fail to overturn comparability win

But labour board decision delays implementation as arbitrator must clarify award B.C.'s Labour Relations Board has upheld arbitrator Stephen Kelleher's September 1999 comparability award that provides retroactive wage adjustments along with improved maternity and parental benefits. But the LRB agreed with the Health Employers Association of B.C. that Kelleher should provide further clarification of his award. The February 28 LRB decision denies HEABC's bid to open up the original decision to further hearings. And while Kelleher has been directed to clarify the reasoning behind the retroactive wage adjustment awarded to health care workers, HEU expects this can be accomplished in a short period of time. "The most important part of the LRB decision is that our comparability award is intact," says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. "The only question that remains is this: Will health employers or government move to further delay compensation to HEU members through a further appeal after Kelleher provides clarification of the reasons behind his award?" "I strongly suggest that they get on with the job of delivering the award and forego further appeals," adds Allnutt. "Health care workers are running out of patience and I have no doubt they will be ready and willing to defend their comparability award if required." HEABC has agreed to HEU's proposal to resume discussions that began last September to finalize the details of implementation. "By the time Kelleher clarifies his decision, we want health employers to be in a position to deliver to our members," says Allnutt. "That's our bottom line."