Paramedical professionals will take strike vote #98-46

Bargaining bulletin

After 40 days of bargaining, HEABC refuses to address key outstanding issues

The joint union bargaining association of HEU, HSA, BCGEU, CUPE, UFCW AND PEA — which together represent over 10,000 paramedical professionals — announced on Oct. 22 that it will conduct a province-wide strike vote, seven days after talks broke down between the bargaining association and the Health Employers Association of B.C.

Talks ended when HEABC refused to discuss further monetary issues after stating that its full compensation package offer was zero, zero and two per cent over three years. Along with wages, there are a number of outstanding monetary issues, including: an employer-paid long-term disability plan; levelling for the paramedicals with lower wages and benefits; on-call changes; car allowance and car deductible; and classification improvements.

Earlier, the unions tabled a wage package of zero, zero and two per cent over three years, but made it clear that improvements on the outstanding monetary issues must be made.

Remaining non-monetary issues include: hours of work; extra shifts by seniority; and provincial seniority postings. The employer has removed two of its worst concessions: a seven-week cap on vacations and compulsory rehabilitation. Other concessions such as multi-worksite assigning, and significant changes to the classification system are still on the table.

There has been agreement on an occupational health and safety agency (as negotiated in the facility sector agreement), improved language on identification of and protection from aggressive patients, an increase and guaranteed funding for the Healthcare Labour Adjustment Agency and non-employment security agreement job-sharing. Bargaining spanned approximately 40 days before the talks broke down.

The strike vote will be held in the next few weeks.