Health employers to transfer 1,900 workers to PHSA as part of shared services plan

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B.C.’s health employers have now set out the effective dates for the transfer of nearly 1,900 employees to the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA).

The transfers affect workers in services that are being delivered through the B.C. Health Authority Shared Services Organization (SSO). Responsibility for the SSO was recently moved under the PHSA.

Health employers provided the multi-union Facilities Bargaining Association (HEU and other unions in the sector) with formal notice on June 7 of the timing of the transfers. Most of the nearly 1,900 employees affected are HEU members covered by the provisions of the facilities collective agreement.

The collective agreement includes transfer provisions designed to protect members’ rights during this process.

Timing and areas affected

The timing of the transfers announced June 7 is as follows:

September 17, 2010
  • Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, and Payroll staff from VCHA/Providence and PHSA
  • Technology Services staff from PHSA (including VCHA/Providence) and FHA
  • Supply Chain staff from VCHA
    October 15, 2010
    • Supply Chain staff from FHA, IHA (including AP), NHA and VIHA

      About 20 per cent of the transfers affect members who are already employed by PHSA through the SSO while the balance will come from other health authorities.

      Nearly two-thirds of those affected work in the supply chain.

      Desktop Management Services

      The SSO also announced that it is exploring the option of contracting out desktop management services to IBM as part of a larger B.C. government contract. The SSO claims that it has not made a determination on whether it will pursue this option.

      The union will be pressing health employers for further details on this new development.

      Collective agreement and transfers

      As part of the 2010-2012 negotiations, the union secured a number of provisions that protect members’ rights in the event of transfers including:
      • No interruption of pay or benefits as a result of transfer to another health-sector employer
      • Portability of service and related banks (like sick leave and vacation)
      • Portability of seniority to new employer while maintaining seniority with previous employer for up to five years
      • Right to go on casual list with for employer and accumulate seniority for time worked
      • Access to the casual list with “receiving” employer for affected casuals

      In addition, as part of the collective agreement, HEU (with its FBA partners) is developing a template transfer agreement with health employers that deals with matters including:
      • Specific seniority issues
      • Union committees, representation and leave
      • Schedules
      • Transportation allowances
      • Red-circling
      • Health and safety
      • Casuals

        This template agreement will form the basis of individual transfer agreements that will be put in place to cover each group of employees affected by the proposed transfers. Please contact your shop steward, local executive or union representative for further details.

        Communicating changes to members

        Reorganization of health services on this scale can cause of lot of disruption in the workplace as well as anxiety and uncertainty for members.

        That’s why the union is committed to making sure members are aware of the changes taking place in a timely manner.

        Whenever possible, the union will give advance notice of these changes to HEU local leaders so that they can provide useful and timely information to concerned members.

        HEU will also continue to press health employers to coordinate their communications with the union to make this possible.