Health employers stall on CCERA/Pricare wage adjustments

HEU has taken health employers to an arbitrator in an effort to enforce the standard wages and benefits contained in the 1998-2001 facilities collective agreement. The issue primarily affects members from former CCERA and Pricare facilities that were part of the levelling process under the 1996 - 98 facilities master. At a Nov. 17 hearing, the Health Employers Association of B.C. challenged the jurisdiction of Arbitrator Don Monroe to even deal with the issue arguing that the matter of standardization must be dealt with as part of the levelling process contained in the previous collective agreement. HEABC says that the gap between facilities' pay rates and the rates for former CCERA/Pricare members can only be addressed by the levelling fund which was part of of the 1996-98 facilities agreement. "The union's position is that as of April 1, 1998, all facilities sector members are paid according to a common sector-wide classification system," says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. "The current contract makes no provision whatsoever for sub-standard wages." The levelling process contained in the 1996-98 collective agreement is being overseen by arbitrator Stephen Kelleher. When complete more than 3,000 former CCERA, Pricare and single agreement members will receive retroactive wage adjustments that match common classifications. "As they've done with pay equity and comparability, HEABC is trying to weave a complex legal argument designed to delay long overdue wage fairness for thousands of our members," says Allnutt. The next hearing date with Monroe is set for Dec. 6.