#P1 Bargaining begins for paramedical professionals

Bargaining bulletin

The Paramedical Bargaining Association representing 14,000 paramedical professionals opened negotiations with the Health Employers Association of B.C. on Tuesday, Jan. 30.

“We say it’s time for a raise,” said Rick Lampshire of the Health Sciences Association. “After ten years of wage controls, health science professionals are looking for recognition of their education level, skills and experience.”

Lampshire is serving as chief negotiator for the association, with HSA members making up the bulk of paramedical professionals in B.C. Other unions represented in the bargaining association include HEU, the Professional Employees Association, BCGEU and CUPE.

Other key union demands include improved on-call and travel compensation and better educational opportunities. Paramedical professionals must update their education regularly, but because of shortages, can’t get time off to take the courses. They often have to pay for the job-required education themselves.

Lampshire said there were no surprises, just disappointments, in the proposals tabled by the employer. He said the tone set by HEABC at other bargaining tables, where concessions have been the order of the day, was repeated at the paramedical table.

“We were hopeful the first day would set a positive tone for negotiations, but were disappointed at the vague list of objectives tabled by the employer,” he said. “We made it clear to the employer that we’re at the table to negotiate, and we want the same commitment to free collective bargaining on the other side of the table.”

“I’m hopeful that when we get back to the table later this month, we’ll see some concrete and positive proposals from the employer that allow us to address the shortage crisis and other critical issues affecting and the health care system.

Negotiations resume February 13.