Community arbitration begins #98-42

Bargaining bulletin

Vince Ready to rule on local memoranda, wage grids

Three days of hearings begin today to resolve outstanding local memoranda and wage grids for community health sector locals. It’s all part of the tentative settlement reached between the union bargaining association and the HEABC Aug. 3.

Arbitrator Vince Ready will rule on local issues still outstanding after a series of negotiations earlier this month. Among the major issues for HEU locals are job descriptions, severance allowances and superior benefits. Ready's deliberations will be guided by melding principles established elsewhere in health care and by the principles established during last year's negotiations for the first community master.

The arbitration continues Sept. 6 & 7. Ready will rule as soon as Sept. 11.

Meanwhile, HEU’s Provincial Bargaining Committee meets Sept. 3 to review the terms of the tentative agreement.

“The tentative deal contains significant improvements for many caregivers,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt, “including parity with facilities subsector health and welfare benefits and conditions in a number of areas.

“But the wage gap between community and facility is still too wide.” Allnutt says the unions made a proposal to government that was sensitive to the province's fiscal situation but would have enshrined the principle of parity in the collective agreement. It was rejected by Victoria.

Other problem areas include the lack of a bridging arrangement that would improve and extend current long-term disability arrangements until the newly negotiated plan takes effect on April 1, 2000 and the lack of needed pension improvements that go beyond the current RRSP benefits.

The HEU Provincial Executive meets Sept. 8 & 9 when they'll decide on what recommendation to make to community sector members on the tentative agreement's ratification. These members will get the last word when they vote on the tentative deal later in September or early October.