HEU blasts employers over new wrinkle in comparability battle

Some non-union employers receive comparability funds, but HEABC refuses to implement adjustments for 1,000 union members

Calling it “nothing but union-busting,” HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt blasted the Health Employers Association of B.C. for its refusal to implement comparability adjustments for all facility sector workers, after the union found out that non-union employers have received the funding to pay out comparability to non-union health workers.

In light of this development, Allnutt was sharply critical of employers for denying comparability adjustments for 1,000 HEU members who work primarily in long-term care facilities. In a letter to HEABC boss Gary Moser, he called on employers to withdraw their objection to paying the comparability adjustments ordered in a landmark pay equity decision made more than a year ago by arbitrator Stephen Kelleher covering all unionized facility sector workers.

The new controversy emerged after tenacious digging by the union revealed that a number of health authorities had issued authorization and funding to non-union employers to pay the three per cent comparability adjustments back to April 1996 to non-union health care providers.

“It’s outright hypocrisy and nothing but union busting,” says Allnutt about the revelation.

And as the two sides prepare for an arbitration hearing set for Jan. 25 and 26 to resolve the issue, Allnutt says the union’s case is now even stronger.

Hearing dates set on the issue in November were postponed after HEABC threatened a bevy of procedural delays if the arbitration went ahead as scheduled.

Despite the fact that these members are covered by the same collective agreement language that provides for the comparability adjustments, HEABC has refused to pay up. The boss says these workers weren’t covered by “me too” provisions in early 1990s contract language.