Agreement reached on new benefits trust

Funding and administration of benefits will be transferred to Joint Facilities Benefits Trust by April 2016

A new arrangement for managing Facilities subsector members’ health benefits negotiated in the 2014-2019 collective agreement has reached an important milestone.

A legal agreement has been reached establishing the terms of the Joint Facilities Benefits Trust which will manage extended health, dental, group insurance and long-term disability benefits beginning next year.

Under the agreement, the Trust will be governed by an equal number of trustees – five from the Facilities Bargaining Association and five from the Health Employers Association of B.C. (HEABC). A mediation and arbitration process is contained in the agreement to resolve any deadlocked votes.

Funding and administrative responsibility for benefits will be transferred to the Trust in April 2016.

Under the Trust agreement, The FBA unions will have access to overall information about benefits’ usage, and the union-side trustees will be able to make key decisions about the delivery of benefits.

For example, the Trust will provide FBA trustees with the exclusive right to make changes or modifications to non-LTD benefits within available resources. Agreement from all trustees is required to make changes to LTD benefits.

All of the trustees will be responsible for managing the plan so as to protect members’ benefits.

The Trust will be funded by employers based on a fixed percentage of payroll. In the 2014-2019 collective agreement, provisions were negotiated to protect funding for benefits through the transition to the Trust.

The Trust will cover all Facilities subsector employees with the exception of those working for the BC Ambulance Service or the BC Emergency Health Services.

The Facilities Bargaining Association includes 11 unions with the Hospital Employees’ Union representing about 85 per cent of health care workers covered by the Trust.

Also covered by the Trust are members of the following unions: BC Government and Service Employees’ Union, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 882-882H, Pulp and Paperworkers of Canada Local 5, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 230, International Union of Painters& Allied Trades District Council 38, United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 324, United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Local 1598, the United Steelworkers Local 9705 and the BC Nurses’ Union.