#24HEABC tables compensation offer for 15,000 community caregivers

Bargaining bulletin

After nine weeks at the bargaining table, health employers have tabled a compensation offer that HEU’s bargaining spokesperson calls “an incremental step towards parity” with facilities-based health workers.

In a bargaining session focused on community health issues Thursday, health employers proposed a three-year schedule of payments towards parity of 2.5, 2.0 and 2.5 per cent of payroll — plus general wage increases that would erode the purchasing power of members’ pay cheques over the next three years.

HEU and the other health care unions responded with a plan to eliminate wage discrimination against community health workers within three years. On Wednesday, the unions revised their proposals for a general wage increase to $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 in year three.

“HEABC’s opening position is a good start but it would still leave a gaping wage gap between community and facilities workers that would take years to close at this rate,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt.

“We need a plan in place that will eliminate wage injustice — not prolong it into another decade,” adds Allnutt.

“The way we’ll do that is to keep up the pressure on the employer by continuing to turnout out in strong numbers for our strike vote and to deliver an overwhelmingly `yes’ result to the bargaining committee.”

The unions say they’ll bargain through the weekend to make further progress on closing the wage gap.

The unions have also put proposals on the table to deal with some unresolved issues left over from the last round of bargaining including clear timelines for applying equity monies worth five per cent of payroll into the classification system.