Facilities benchmark review series moves closer to completion

Arbitrator Vince Ready helps health care unions and employers get benchmark reviews back on track

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The Facilities Bargaining Association (FBA) and Health Employers Association of BC (HEABC) met earlier this week - with arbitrator Vince Ready – in an attempt to resolve outstanding issues in the clerical and “page 209” benchmark review series, negotiated in 2006 bargaining.

In the 2006-2010 facilities contract, the FBA successfully negotiated three million dollars for a clerical benchmark review (outlined on page 208 of the facilities agreement) and two million dollars to review a number of other benchmarks outlined on “page 209”.

Earlier talks had stalled over the issues of wage-sensitive benefits, and determining which benchmarks required change.

During mediation, the parties agreed to resume talks immediately to complete the benchmark review process, and refer any disputes that may arise – such as benchmark content or allocation of available funds – to Ready by October 15 for an expedited, final and binding decision.

Another item resolved in mediation was the cost-sharing of wage-sensitive benefits – such as statutory deductions like CPP and EI – on a without precedent and without prejudice basis.

“We have set timelines and a clear process,” says HEU secretary-business manager and FBA chief negotiator Judy Darcy. “It’s been a long road, but the joint union-employer committees are already back in talks. Now that we’ve established an agreed to process for resolution and settling outstanding reviews, implementation of the settlement should take place by the Wage Policy Conference. It’s important to know where we stand before bargaining.”

The “page 209” committee met again today, with further dates planned in August. And the clerical benchmark review committee is scheduled to meet next week.