Tentative agreement guarantees parity - #26

Bargaining bulletin

In a tentative five-year agreement reached May 29, HEU and its sister unions have won parity and critical successorship/employment security provisions.

Retroactive to April 1, 1998, base rates for low-paid Residential Care Worker equivalents — most HEU members —increase to $14.45 an hour and then to $15 an hour October 1, 1999. This initial phase ends increments. By 2002 the base wage rate rises to at least $16.83 an hour including a two per cent general wage increase April 1, 2000.

These wages may be bolstered by equity adjustments worth 2.5 per cent of payroll in each of the next three years. Parity with community health is guaranteed by 2004.

Benefit improvements will match the community health agreement by 2002 and include employer-paid medical, dental and extended health effective October 1, 1999 improving in subsequent years. Group RRSPs that match contributions up to three per cent will be mandatory one year later.

A facilities-level LTD plan kicks in this fall. Initially, costs will be shared by employers and employees, but by 2002 at the latest, costs will be 100 per cent employer-paid.

The tentative agreement includes community health-level vacation, accumulated sick leave and special leave beginning this fall.

New successorship protections will safeguard the `98 - ’03 agreement and starting this fall, CSS workers will gain access to job placement and other programs of the HLAA. On October 1, 2000, 12 months of employment security will be available in the event of layoff.

HEU’s new certifications prior to October 1998 will be rolled into the agreement. Later certifications receive the full compensation package with negotiations for language based on the new standard commencing within 30 days of ratification. Health and welfare benefits and year 2000 wage increases will be delayed by six months.

“Our members have worked hard for this outcome and it shows,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. “This is a truly historic agreement in a tradtionally undervalued sector. It’s a victory shared by the workers themselves and the rest of HEU’s membership who provided concrete support throughout bargaining.”

The Provincial Bargaining Committee and Provincial Excutive will meet to review the agreement before putting it to a membership vote. A comprehensive report with full details of the agreement will be available in the next two weeks.