"May Day is Pay Day" HEU tells health employers

No word yet on whether health employers will appeal ruling Now that arbitrator Stephen Kelleher has confirmed HEU's historic comparability/pay equity award of last fall, the union is calling on health employers to move quickly to narrow the pay equity gap for tens of thousands of front-line workers. HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt has written the Health Employers' Association of B.C. asking that comparability/pay equity adjustments be implemented as soon as possible but no later than May 1, 2000. "We're only two weeks away from the four year anniversary of when comparability-linked adjustments should have been made," says Allnutt. "Each day health employers delay adds to the final cost of the settlement and the frustration of our members." HEABC has until March 29 to appeal Kelleher's latest ruling. The provincial government has already set aside implementation funds in the 1999/00 fiscal year for comparability, adds Allnutt, and the union and HEABC have agreed on the allocation of adjustments towards the pay equity targets of various job benchmarks. "Barring an appeal of Kelleherís March 14 confirmation of the award," says Allnutt, "there's nothing stopping health employers from proceeding immediately to put in place long overdue wage adjustments." HEU will meet with HEABC representatives on April 5 to discuss other issues related to Kelleher's award such as the calculation and distribution of interest on retroactive adjustments and improved maternity and parental leave benefits. But Allnutt says implementation of wage adjustments can proceed independently of these outstanding issues.