Agreement reached to distribute equity money to Community Social Services workers

An agreement reached late last year between the HEU, BCGEU, CUPE, HSA and the Community Social Services Employers’ Association (CSSEA) on the distribution of equity funds under the Munroe Settlement will put over $8.3 million dollars annually into the pockets of workers in this sector. Rate increases will mainly apply to non-RCWs or equivalents.

As a result of the decision, which arbitrator Stephen Kelleher helped mediate, the union/employer joint job evaluation committee (JJEC) can distribute 2.5 per cent of straight time salary payroll for the years 2000 and 2001. The 1999 distribution was completed in September 2000 and this new agreement is expected to be completed early in 2003.

For the first time workers in this sector will be compensated according to a system that strictly determines their rate of pay by evaluating the work they do. This system also standardizes rates of pay.

The distribution of the money is guided by the Munroe Settlement that says the money must be applied “using the job evaluation plan and the principle of addressing classifications with the largest disparities first as a guide”. A sectoral minimum wage rate for classifications was chosen as the approach that would best follow these principles. Workers below minimum rates for their classification grid receive increases. Workers above minimum rates for their classification grid wait until the minimum rate “catches up” to their wage before receiving an increase under Job Evaluation.

Retroactivity for the years 2000 and 2001 is based on the Preliminary Matching that was mailed out to all members at the end of October. Where preliminary matches are incorrect, reconsideration forms are being submitted to the HEU and CSSEA, which will be accepted until January 16, 2003.

The 2002 money will be distributed based on the final matching that takes into account the results of all the reconsideration requests received. The JJEC has until January 31, 2003 to resolve the reconsideration applications. After that, the outstanding applications for reconsideration are moved to arbitration with Stephen Kelleher. Dates with Stephen Kelleher have been scheduled in February 2003 for this purpose.

We expect monies to be paid out to members before March 31, 2003, the expiry date of the collective agreement. Jobs that are not part of the “regular” benchmarks (“unique jobs”) have a different time schedule and will be receiving their placements shortly, but will be concluded by the same dates.

No one will have their wages reduced as a result of the implementation of the JE Plan. Those few that are already making more than the sectoral minimum rates established by the JE plan will continue to receive those rates until the minimum rate for their job meets or exceeds their present rate of pay.

Although the process has taken the JJEC much longer than was anticipated when the Munroe Settlement was bargained, the resulting increases and the achievement of internal equity has moved us closer to our final goal of parity with workers in the health sector.