#23Unions keep up bargaining momentum, table new compensation position

Bargaining bulletin

Health care unions tabled a revised compensation proposal Wednesday afternoon in an effort to maintain momentum at the bargaining table and reach an agreement by March 31.

The unions’ new position on wages calls for a $0.75 increase in year one, three per cent or cost of living adjustment (whichever is greater) in year two and 3.5 per cent or COLA (whichever is greater) in year three.

Earlier Wednesday, health employers removed a series of concessions from the table including their demand for deep cuts to vacation entitlements.

“It’s critical that we keep the employer engaged at the bargaining table,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. “Our bargaining committee will be working and reworking our proposals in order to make our health care solutions a reality for the people of B.C.

“But our success at the bargaining table is directly linked to the strike votes that are happening across the province,” Allnutt adds.

“It is already making a difference — HEABC has backed off on its demand to cut HEU members’ vacations. But we’ll need as strong a strike mandate from as many HEU members as possible to make the employer back off on its other concession demands like penalizing injured workers.”

HEU and its bargaining partners are also expecting a compensation offer for community health workers today.

“Parity for community health care workers is fundamental to concluding a collective agreement,” says Allnutt. “I’m hoping we can celebrate International Women’s Day with an offer from health employers that recognizes the true value of the work carried out by women health care workers in the community.”

Bargaining is expected to continue through the weekend.