Here are some answers to questions you might have about the agreement. Please consult the Facilities Comprehensive Report for a more in depth analysis and the full language of the agreement.
- I’m retiring during bargaining. Will I receive retro pay?
Yes, for any wages, premiums and allowances paid after April 1, 2022.
- Why don’t we have a working short premium like the nurses?
The Bargaining Committee carefully considered this demand and concluded there was much more value in taking on the employers’ responsibility to provide safe staffing levels and a safe workplace. The committee secured tangible solutions to address safety and working short and recruitment and retention challenges:
- 9.25 million hours added to the system resulting in thousands of new regular positions.
- Significant increases to wages and benefits.
- Requirements for the employer to prioritize work in writing.
- Input into care plans for aggressive patients or residents.
- Working short premiums encourage employees to work short staffed and increase the risk to injuries. This compounds the problem and lets the employer off the hook when it comes to finding solutions. The employer still saves money with less staff on the floor.
- What is the trigger to receive the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) in Year 2 and Year 3 of the agreement?
The COLA in Year 2 and Year 3 will be triggered if inflation exceeds the General Wage Increase (GWI) in each of these years.
- If inflation is measured at 7.5% in Year 2, the GWI would be 5.5% plus the additional maximum COLA of 1.25% for a total of 6.75%.
- If inflation is 6.5% in Year 2, the GWI would be 5.5% plus an additional COLA of 1% (not the maximum) for a total GWI of 6.5%.
The COLA formula cannot result in a reduction of the GWI. For example, if inflation in Year 2 is below 4%, there will not be a reduction in the GWI. The GWI in Year 2 would still be 5.5%.
Inflation is calculated using the annualized average B.C. Consumer Price Index (BC CPI). The period used to calculate this average is March to February prior to April 1.
The individual monthly CPI is added together over the 12-month period and then divided by 12 to determine the average. This resulting figure is then compared with the average for the same period for previous year.
This is a standard measure for calculating inflation-indexed programs, entitlements and wage triggers. It is used in B.C. for the calculation of allowable rent increases, adjustments to the minimum wage and for MLA salaries.
Using this averaging, the BC CPI for the period of March 2021 to February 2022 was 3.4%. The combined wage increase (percentage on top of flat rate) exceeds this amount and will be retroactive to April 1, 2022.
- What is the wage increase in each year?
On April 1, 2022 your hourly wage will increase by a flat amount of 25 cents an hour. The full wage rate will then be increased by an additional 3.24%. This results in a combined general wage increase of at least 4.24% (Grid 22) for the vast majority of members.
On April 1, 2023 your wages will be increased by at least 5.5% and as much as 6.75% if maximum COLA is achieved. In other words, you’ll be covered for inflation up to 6.75% but are guaranteed 5.5%.
On April 1, 2024 your wages will be increased by at least 2% and as much as 3% if maximum COLA is achieved. In other words, you’ll be covered for inflation up to 3% but are guaranteed 2%.
- What happens if the COLA is not triggered?
You will receive the general wage increase for that year. For example, for Year 2, if inflation is lower than 5.5% then the general wage increase of 5.5% applies. If inflation in Year 2 is below 5.5%, there will not be a reduction in the GWI.
- HEU is saying that there could be increases of more than 14%. How did you get that number?
The total percentage gain is calculated by comparing your current hourly rate (the April 2021 rate) to your hourly rate as of April 1, 2024. All classifications will see their wage rates increase by between 14.2 % and 14.9% if the maximum COLA is applied.
Try our wage calculator to see how your hourly wage would be impacted by changing the value of the COLA.
The total increase varies between classifications because the impact of the 25 cents an hour increase in year one produces a higher percentage impact on lower hourly wage rates.
- Are we just getting 25 cents in the first year?
No. The April 2022 GWI adds 25 cents an hour to your rate, and then increases your new full wage rate by 3.24%. At Grid 22 (care aide) this equals a combined wage increase of at least 4.24%. The vast majority of members in the agreement are at Grid 22 or below and therefore will have a combined GWI of 4.24% or more in April 2022.
Flat rate increases have a bigger impact on lower wage classifications.
Try our wage calculator to see how this impacts your hourly rate under different scenarios.
- Isn’t it inequitable to have a flat increase of 25 cents since it means a lower total percentage increase for classifications with higher hourly rates?
Percentage increases result in higher dollar amount increases for classifications with higher hourly rates, and widens the gap between the top and the bottom of the pay grid. Providing a combination of flat rate increases and percentage increases is a more reasonable approach ensuring the gap between the top and bottom does not significantly increase.
Try the wage calculator to see how this impacts various hourly rates of pay.
- B.C. politicians’ salaries are linked to inflation. Why not us?
MLA salaries are linked to changes in the Consumer Price Index for B.C. Under the current legislation, salary increases each April are based on the annualized average increase in the CPI for the previous year (January to December).
For example, the annualized average increase in the BC CPI for 2021 (January through December 2021) was 2.8% and that is the increase MLAs received in April 2022. It was 0.8% the previous year.
By comparison, the tentative agreement provides for a combined general wage increase on April 1, 2022 of 4.24% or more. This number is based on Grid 22 (adjust the hourly rate upwards by 25 cents and then increasing this adjusted wage by 3.24%).
- What happens if we vote yes or if we vote no?
If members (and the employer) vote yes to accept the tentative agreement, it will become a binding contract between the parties. The various agreements contained in it will be implemented, retro pay will be calculated and a new version of the collective agreement will be printed.
If the tentative agreement is rejected, the union bargaining committee may seek a return to the bargaining table, and the union would consider all its options
There is no guarantee that previously agreed-to items will be protected if we return to bargaining.
- Someone told me that if I don’t vote, it will count as a "yes". Is this true?
That is not the case. The only votes counted are those cast by eligible members. So if you want your voice heard, make sure you vote.
- As part of addressing the historical wage cuts, will the lower grids be amalgamated into one grid?
Ongoing funding ($10.6 million in 2023 rising to $15.6 million in 2024) will be used to make permanent wage adjustments prioritizing lower wage classifications starting in April 2023. We’ll meet with employers right away to decide on how to apply these funds to the wage grid. It’s like a down payment on the work ahead.
We’ll also meet with government and employers to make recommendations on how we will continue this work in the next round of bargaining.
- I’m a worker who was recently brought back in house. Will I get the wage increases?
Yes, for any wages, premiums and allowances paid to you after April 1, 2022 as a health authority employee in the Facilities subsector.
- I saw that there was a ‘me too’ clause in this agreement. What does that mean?
“Me too” clauses are a common feature in public sector bargaining in B.C. and are found in the vast majority of public sector collective agreements, including this agreement. It is also in the recent tentative agreement reached by the BCGEU for the public service.
These clauses ensure that if a General Wage Increase and/or Cost of Living Adjustment is reached in the current bargaining round for a provincially funded bargaining unit that is higher than what is in this agreement, the employer will increase total compensation to match. This would cover any public sector settlements in this round of bargaining.
- Why don’t we get a signing bonus?
The signing bonus was rolled into base wage increases. This is a better deal for members over the long term. General wage increases provide permanent and compounding increases to wages into the future, and also contribute to higher pensions.
Facilities members will receive retro pay on increases to wages, premiums and allowances effective April 1, 2022. For example, seven months of retro pay for a full-time care aide at Grid 22 would gross about $1275. This will be in addition to any retroactivity on negotiated premiums or allowances. Retro pay also includes overtime hours effective April 1, 2022.
- Is the BCGEU getting a signing bonus?
The BCGEU did not negotiate a signing bonus for their members in the tentative agreement for the public service.
Some BCGEU members working for the Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) are eligible for a one-time payment equivalent to $4 an hour for a 16-week period. These members never received pandemic pay in 2020.
- Are there any extended health improvements in the agreement?
Extended Health and Dental Benefits are provided and managed by the Joint Facilities Benefits Trust (JFBT). All decisions about benefits are determined by Trust.
On January 1, 2022, the JFBT eliminated the $100 deductible, and added coverage for annual eye exams and contraceptives, and are conducting a further review of the benefit plan.
The parties to the tentative agreement agree to ask the JFBT to consider improvements to mental health supports, coverage for gender-affirming care, and to providing LTD claimants with up to 100% health and welfare benefit coverage.
The information contained herein are for the use of HEU members only. The interpretation of the Facilities tentative agreement is provided on a without prejudice and precedent basis to any position that HEU/FBA may take in any arbitration process or other forum. Copyright 2022.