Community health bargaining begins

VANCOUVER—Bargaining representatives from CUPE and seven other unions met this week with the Health Employers Association of BC (HEABC) to review priorities and begin negotiations to achieve a new collective agreement with members in community health. Bargaining proposals were tabled on Thursday morning.

“We’re off to a very positive start,” said CUPE Health Care Presidents’ Council chair and bargaining committee alternate Jill Stromnes. “After 16 years of neglect of the community health services that British Columbians rely on, we have now entered into a more positive negotiating climate, with the employer making clear that the work of community health workers is valued.”

Bargaining proposals will push for increased funding and benefits and seek to address the critical issues of recruitment and retention, as well as precarious work schedules. It was also recognized by both parties that building a more robust community health sector is essential for accommodating an aging population.

The Community Bargaining Association represents roughly 16,000 employees working in community health around the province, the majority of whom are represented by the BCGEU. Along with CUPE, which has 528 members in the sector, the other CBA unions at the table are HEU, HSA, UFCW, USWA, CLAC and BCNU. The existing contract between the CBA and HEABC expires on March 31, 2019.

Bargaining is scheduled to continue for approximately five weeks, and we will keep you updated on the progress.

In solidarity,

Your CUPE CBA Bargaining Committee:

Shaunah Cairney, Local 3403

Allison Bell, Local 15

Jill Stromnes (alternate), Local 4816

Chris Losito, CUPE Health Coordinator