Pay equity talks falter, arbitrator called in

Union readies campaign to press for fair wages for nursing team members

Pay equity negotiations between the union bargaining committee and the Health Employers Association of B.C. broke down August 16 and pay equity arbitrator Stephen Kelleher has been called in. The root of the impasse is HEABC’s unwillingness to negotiate fair pay equity adjustments for the next three years, especially for Nursing Unit Clerks, Care Aides and Licensed Practical Nurses.

HEABC has tabled only one offer that proposes minimal pay equity adjustments for the nursing team members and has refused to consider other options.

“We are disappointed that HEABC is targeting LPNs, Nursing Unit Clerks and Care Aides with inadequate pay equity adjustments,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. “Denying these workers the increases to which they are entitled is an unfortunate decision.”

HEU has begun planning a campaign that will actively involve nursing team members in order to press the employer to reconsider its position and negotiate fair pay equity adjustments.

“These workers are fully trained members of the nursing team and are critical to dealing with the nursing shortage,” Allnutt says. “HEU will do everything necessary to ensure that Care Aides, LPNs and Nursing Unit Clerks receive the pay equity adjustments they deserve.”

Since bargaining for new collective agreements began last January, the employer has failed to take the issue of pay equity seriously and even attempted to cast the adjustments as general wage increases — a stand it rapidly abandoned when reaction from outraged health care workers and their unions was immediate.

The union bargaining committee includes HEU, BCGEU, CSWU and IUOE.