HSPBA Bargaining Update – Union negotiators propose wage increases

The Health Science Professional Bargaining Association (HSPBA), in talks this week with the Health Employers’ Association of BC (HEABC), has proposed a wage increase for health science professionals that, if accepted, would begin to address the critical issues undermining pandemic response and public health care in B.C.: chronic shortages, the rising cost of living, and the wage gap with other provinces.

The proposal seeks a two-year agreement with a wage increase of 5 per cent—or COLA (cost of living adjustment), whichever is greater—in each of the two years.

HSPBA has also proposed a number of other measures that would bring greater equality to job classifications across different health science professions in B.C. and greater comparability to pay in other provinces. They would also improve on-call and call-backs, improve overtime pay and shift premiums, provide more funding for professional development, improve vacation and holiday leave, paid and unpaid pandemic leave, and provide a bank of paid time for gender-affirming surgeries.

HSPBA has been in contract negotiations with HEABC since March 1. Prior to tabling the wage proposal this week, the bargaining committee made proposals concerning occupational health and safety matters related to workload, discrimination and harassment, facilitation of health sector-wide action on OH&S issues, and classification proposals addressing concerns with employer-wide initiatives. Talks will now pause for a scheduled break while the bargaining committee awaits the employer’s response to these proposals.

Unions representing almost 400,000 public sector workers are currently in negotiations. With employer proposals for wage increases falling well below the current level of inflation in B.C., the HSPBA awaits an official response to the wage increase proposals tabled this week. CUPE and other unions covered by HSPBA are working closely to ensure fair and reasonable gains for the front-line workers who have kept the province and the health care system running through an unprecedented global health crisis.

The HSPBA master agreement covering health science professionals in B.C. expired on March 31. Its provisions remain in force until a new agreement is ratified.

Negotiations will resume on May 2. Meanwhile, please ensure that your contact information is current. To update it, please visit: https://forms.office.com/r/mXDGtvAhWb.