Union makes case on new rate for nursing unit assistants

Arbitrator to decide new permanent rate for nursing unit assistants

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An arbitrator will decide whether a new permanent rate for nursing unit assistants will be set, or whether the rate negotiated for 2006-2010 (SB 16) will continue.

A preliminary hearing was held on April 11 because the Health Employers Association of B.C. (HEABC) objected to the union’s referral of the pay rate issue to a classification referee under the collective agreement.

The nursing unit assistant benchmark was finalized in November 2005. HEU has been pushing for a new pay grid for the benchmark since that time.

At the hearing, HEABC’s position was that the rate was set during the 2006 round of bargaining where nursing unit assistants won a one per cent special adjustment on top of other negotiated general wage increases.

HEU’s position is that an appropriate pay grid that recognizes increased job responsibilities now contained in the nursing unit assistant benchmark was not settled in the 2006 round of bargaining and must still be determined.

If the arbitrator rules against HEABC, the matter is expected to proceed, and be determined by a classification referee. If the arbitrator agrees with HEABC, the union will need to look at addressing the nursing unit assistant rate in the next round of collective bargaining.