HSA legal challenge results in nearly $10 million payout for HSPBA members

Health sciences professionals covered by the Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association (HSPBA) 2014-2019 collective agreement will receive a payout of close to $10 million as the result of a legal victory by the Health Sciences Association of British Columbia (HSA), the lead union in the HSPBA. The HSPBA represents 20,000 specialized health professionals working in hospitals and communities across B.C., including CUPE members.

The $10 million legal settlement, awarded by Arbitrator John Hall, is tied to the 2014-2019 collective agreement. It is not related to the current round of HSPBA bargaining, where union negotiators are focused on achieving a fair contract that addresses the serious impacts of chronic shortages and the rising cost of living.

In bargaining the 2014-2019 contract, government negotiators unequivocally told the HSPBA bargaining team that a move away from a direct benefit plan to a joint trust model for administering extended health benefits was a necessary feature of any collective agreement negotiated in the public health care sector in that round of bargaining. Three of four public sector health care collective agreements negotiated included the change.

In his decision, Hall found the HSPBA agreement was breached when government signed a contract with the Nurses Bargaining Association that did not include a change to a joint trust model, and a monetary remedy was justified under a “me-too” provision negotiated in the agreement.

The $9.44 million (plus interest) award represents the difference paid to the HSPBA and NBA in overall compensation to fund the benefits plans.

HSPBA includes health science professionals represented by HSA, BC General Employees Union (BCGEU), CUPE, Professional Employees’ Association (PEA), and Hospital Employees Union (HEU).