Low wage redress update – Night shift premiums

To all CUPE members in the Community Health Bargaining Association,

Further to an earlier bulletin, Low Wage Redress monies in addition to wages were also used to implement a night shift premium equivalent to the premium provided for in the Facilities sub-sector. Changes to the collective agreement to implement this premium have been confirmed below.

The summary is that night shift premiums will be paid to all workers who work the major portion of their shift between midnight and 8 a.m. The amounts will be $2.00 per hour effective April 1, 2019; $2.25 per hour effective April 1, 2020 and $2.50 per hour effective April 1, 2021.

The premium is either paid for the whole shift or not paid for the whole shift. For example, workers working 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. will receive the premium for all 8 hours of their shift as 7 of the 8 hours worked occur in the midnight to 8 a.m. time window. Workers working 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. wouldn’t receive the premium for any hours as only 2 of their 8 hours are worked between midnight and 8 a.m.

Here are the full text changes to the collective agreement agreed between the CBA and HEABC:

Night Shift Premiums

The parties have agreed to implement Night Shift Premiums as per the Facilities Collective Agreement (2019-2022), as follows on the first pay period after April 1, 2019:

For employees scheduled under Article 14:

“Employees working the night shift shall be paid a shift differential of two dollars ($2.00) per hour for the entire shift worked. Night shift will be defined as any shift in which the major portion occurs between 12:00 Midnight (2400 hours) and 8:00 A.M. (0800 hours)”.

For employees scheduled under Article 15:

Night shift premiums shall only apply to employees scheduled to work Live-in and Overnight Shifts as per Article 15.14:

15.14 Live-in and Overnight Shifts

       (a) Compensation

Live-in shifts shall be paid at a minimum of 13 hours or more if purchased by the purchaser of the service, at the employee’s regular rate of pay. For Live-in shifts, all hours worked between 12:00 Midnight (2400 hours) and 8:00 A.M. (0800 hours) shall be paid a night shift differential of two dollars ($2.00) per paid hour (maximum 8 hours per Live-in shift). All hours paid shall be used in the determination of benefit entitlement and seniority. Employees shall receive two consecutive days off after five consecutive days worked in one week.

Overnight shifts shall be paid at a minimum of 10 hours or more if purchased by the purchaser of the service, at the employee’s regular rate of pay. For Overnight shifts, all hours worked between 12:00 Midnight (2400 hours) and 8:00 A.M. (0800 hours) shall be paid a night shift differential of two dollars ($2.00) per paid hour (maximum 8 hours per Overnight shift). All hours paid shall be used in the determination of benefit entitlement and seniority. Employees shall receive two consecutive days off after five consecutive days worked in one week. Upon request, the hours purchased by the purchaser of live-in shifts and overnight shifts will be provided to the Union for all clients.

Night Shift Premiums will increase to $2.25/hour on the first pay period after April 1, 2020 and $2.50/hour on the first pay period after April 1, 2021.

In solidarity,

Your CUPE Health Care Presidents Council,
on behalf of the Community Health Low Wage Redress Committee


Categories CBA

A busy year for health care presidents

PACKED AGENDA—Members of CUPE’s Health Care Presidents Council meet at CUPE’s B.C. Regional Office on May 15. Standing, from left: Warren Williams (CUPE 15, HCPC chair), Lindsay Fumalle (CUPE 1978), CUPE Health Coordinator Chris Losito, Mia Nickel (CUPE 15) and Brandon Laviolette (CUPE 3495). Seated, from left: Michael McKinley and Kaz Takeuchi (CUPE 1978) and Andrew Ledger (CUPE 1004 and CUPE BC executive liaison). Attending via Skype were Jill Stromnes and Connie Penman of CUPE 4816 and Shauna Cairney and Carla Bailey of CUPE 3403-01.

BURNABY—After a successful year of bargaining that saw its members achieve solid new collective agreements, increased visibility and new ways to address workload, CUPE’s Health Care Presidents Council (HCPC) met on May 15 to review progress so far, identify ongoing challenges in the sector, and solidify its relationship to CUPE BC.

At the meeting, Council members reviewed recent updates to the Community Health website (bcchs.cupe.ca), particularly new resources provided for the sector’s ongoing workload campaign. These include information post cards, customized for each local in the sector, on what action to take and who to contact regarding unsafe workloads, as well as tips on how to file a grievance.

In his report to the Council, CUPE Health Coordinator Chris Losito noted that low wage redress has now been implemented for members in the Community Health Bargaining Association (CBA), which by April 1, 2021 will bring those classifications to within 98 per cent of other Facilities Bargaining Association pay rates.

“Ultimately we’d like to see parity with Facilities overall, but this is a significant step in the right direction,” said Losito.

Presidents discussed a growing trend, among some employers under the Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association (HSPBA), of changing required qualifications for certain professions, now requiring a minimum of a Master’s degree. Vancouver Coastal Health, for example, has been doing this for social work positions without notice and without considering exceptions for equivalent experience. Agreeing that the same system should apply across all locals, the Presidents said they would monitor job postings in their respective areas and strongly encourage members who feel they have equivalent experience to apply for positions of interest.

HCPC members also reviewed and put the finishing touches to the Council’s protocol agreement. Essentially functioning as a set of bylaws for the HCPC, the protocol agreement is a foundational document that describes the Council’s work on behalf of CUPE community health locals and members around the province.

“Once the locals sign off on it, the protocol’s adoption will ultimately expand the scope of the Council’s work, improve communication between its members and also between the HCPC and CUPE BC as well as between the HCPC and its allies in labour and the health sector.  The revised protocol agreement will also empower the HCPC to address urgent issues facing the sector in a more timely manner,” said Losito.

The HCPC is comprised of presidents and delegates from CUPE Locals 15, 1978, 3403-01, 3495 and 4816, each local representing members within two provincial collective agreements—the Community Bargaining Association (CBA) and the Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association (HSPBA)—as well as the QMUNITY collective agreement. Combined, these CUPE locals represent just over 500 members in the CBA and approximately 800 HSPBA members.

The group next meets on August 14 in Nanaimo.

New and improved resources now available to tackle your workload!

BURNABY—After conducting member workshops and compiling sector-specific information based on the results of a workload survey, CUPE’s Community Health sector has now produced a set of materials aimed at solving workload problems that members can easily access from the sector website.

The Workload Solutions web page, found at https://bcchs.cupe.ca/workload-solutions/, has been updated with a range of materials including Local-specific post cards on how to identify excessive workload, what steps to take in response and who to contact for assistance. The post card has also been distributed to CBA, HSPBA and QMUNITY Locals so that members will have a printed version at their fingertips when needed.

Additional workload materials on the website include the survey results, an FAQ document to inform members of what a grievance is and what to expect from the grievance process, workload tracking forms, and information from CUPE National on the health and safety implications of workload and their health and safety rights.

Significant updates to the website were also made for members of Local 3945 employed by QMUNITY—including the posting of their Collective Agreement in this location: https://bcchs.cupe.ca/resources/qmunity-resources/.

Please also remember to like and follow our CUPECommunityHealthBC page on Facebook, and our Instagram account @cupecommunityhealthbc.

CBA Update on Low Wage Redress

To:      All CUPE Members at Health Services & Support – Community Subsector

Re:      Update on Low Wage Redress

One of the features of your new collective agreement that expires on March 31, 2022 is a $40 million fund for low wage redress. This is different than the comparability monies distributed in the agreement that expires March 31, 2019 because it will be applied to a greater number of positions. You can find the collective agreement language on the first page under “Low Wage Redress”.

The committee has made excellent progress since convening in Fall 2018. What took two years last time is taking much less time this time around. This is due to a number of factors, but none is more important than having a Minister of Health who is working sincerely to fix the 16 years of neglect under the BC Liberal government.

The deadline to reach agreement on the allocation of these monies has passed. However, the committee has been working hard to narrow the issues and we have made significant progress. We are very close to finalizing our work.

Some matters were referred to Arbitrator Ready by written submission and those matters have been settled, clearing the way for the committee to finish its work. We expect to be finished sometime this month.

As soon as the work is complete, we will let you know the results.

In solidarity,

Your CBA Low Wage Redress Committee


Categories CBA

Health Care Presidents Council marks successes, tackles challenges

MOVING FORWARD—Members of CUPE’s Health Care Presidents Council gather at its quarterly meeting, held at the CUPE 1978 office in Victoria on February 13. From left: Jill Stromnes (CUPE 4816), CUPE Health Coordinator Chris Losito, Michael McKinley and Lindsay Fumalle (CUPE 1978), Connie Penman (CUPE 4816), and Kazuhiro Takeuchi (CUPE 1978). Other members from Upper Island and Lower Mainland locals participated via Skype.

VICTORIA—Increased member engagement as a result of the sector’s expanded online presence is providing new opportunities to reach CUPE members in community health, the Health Care Presidents Council (HCPC) concluded at its quarterly meeting on February 13.

As part of the sector’s ongoing workload campaign, the Council decided that new materials on improved collective agreement language addressing excessive workloads will soon be shared via local distribution and the sector’s regional online networks.

“We’ve been excited to see increased activity from members on our Community Health website and Facebook page. This indicates that there’s a real desire for more information on various issues affecting them,” said CUPE Health Coordinator Chris Losito.

“We believe in the value of these online platforms, which help our members not only to find the new information or archived material they seek but also, through this kind of interactivity, reach solutions to the issues affecting them, especially workload.”

Following the anticipated ratification of the Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association (HSPBA) collective agreement, members can expect to see a shareable post card on workload that will inform them of their rights under the collective agreement and provide guidance on how to apply those rights in the workplace.

Also at the meeting, Council members shared success stories from the recent HSPBA ratification process, which drew a 40 per cent response rate. The CUPE locals clearly appreciated the numerous opportunities and accessible locations for voting, which contributed directly to the much higher than average participation rate, noted Losito.

In other meeting business, the Health Presidents voted to extend the position of the Enhanced Disability Management Program advocate at five days a week for 2019, and made amendments to the Council’s bylaws.

The HCPC’s next meeting will be on May 15 at CUPE’s B.C. regional office.

Wage increases effective on February 1

BURNABY—The Community Bargaining Association (CBA) and Health Science Professionals’ Bargaining Association (HSPBA) have released their respective wage schedules, which both include a 1 per cent general wage increase and a 0.75 per cent Economic Stability Dividend (ESD). The increases are effective as of the first pay period after Friday, February 1.

As a reminder, the ESD is calculated based on 50 per cent of the positive difference between the Economic Forecast Council (EFC) Gross Domestic Product (GDP) forecast and the data released by Statistics Canada. Economic growth in B.C. exceeded the forecast provided by the EFC, the difference translating into an increase of 0.75 per cent for unionized provincial public sector employees who have reached agreements under the Government’s Economic Stability Mandate for collective bargaining, which includes the CBA and HSPBA.

The dividend is cumulative and is in addition to the general wage increases contained in the Collective Agreements.

The ESD increase plus the scheduled 1 per cent general wage increase will be applied to the current salary grids.  Once applied, those grids will be revised and posted for our members so that you are able to easily view the accurate wages.

HSPBA wage grid

CBA wage grid


CUPE members covered by Community Health collective agreement invited to have their say on the Low-Wage Redress Fund

Dear CUPE Community Health Member (CBA):

The Community Bargaining Association has been meeting with the Health Employers Association of BC to discuss how to best distribute the $40 million of low wage redress monies recently bargained. The $40 million represents about 6% of total payroll and will be distributed in roughly equal amounts on April 1, 2019, 2020 and 2021.

This amount is substantial, but it’s not enough to close the gap with Facilities Bargaining Association wage rates. That means we have to make decisions on how to spend it to make the biggest difference for you. We need more information to make those decisions. This is where you come in.

The CBA member unions are surveying all our members over the next few weeks. Each survey will be very short – we are designing them to take less than five minutes to fill out and to only have one per week. Please take five minutes today to give us the information we need to distribute the money to make the biggest difference we can across the sector. The survey will be closed to responses after noon Friday, November 23, 2018.

Click this link to go to the survey and thank you!

Categories CBA

Community Health workers ratify new deal

BURNABY—Members of the multi-union Community Bargaining Association (CBA) have voted solidly in favour of a new contract with health employers. The new three-year collective agreement, which covers 16,000 union members working in the community health sector, will take effect April 1, 2019 and expire on March 31, 2022.

“Workers in the community health sector play a significant role in the public health system at large,” said CUPE Health coordinator Chris Losito. “This agreement goes a long way toward closing the wage gap with other health workers, so our members deserve credit for making sure their work is properly recognized and respected.”

Highlights of the agreement include a general increase in wages, funding to address low wages, improved employment security and additional funding for the Enhanced Disability Management Program.

The tentative agreement was reached in mid-June after weeks of negotiations between the CBA and the Health Employers Association of BC (HEABC).

Of the roughly 16,000 CBA employees working in community health around the province, the majority are represented by the BCGEU. Along with CUPE, which has 528 members in the sector, the other CBA unions at the table were HEU, HSA, UFCW, USWA, CLAC and BCNU.

Categories CBA

Comprehensive report for CUPE members covered by the community health collective agreement – June 2018

BURNABY—The Community Health Bargaining Association (CBA) reached a tentative agreement for the more than 16,000 union members working in B.C.’s community health sector in mid-June 2018. This three-year agreement takes effect on April 1, 2019 and expires on March 31, 2022.

CUPE and other unions entered into early coordinated talks with the Health Employers Association of BC (HEABC), and other major occupational sectors in order to find common ground to reach settlements.

“We believe that our CUPE Community Bargaining Association members will be quite pleased with some of the gains made in this round of negotiations,” said CUPE Health Coordinator Chris Losito.

“CUPE’s bargaining committee put in many long hours to reach this tentative agreement and I thank them for their focus and determination while doing so. CUPE’s CBA members are asked to monitor their personal e-mail (non-work) accounts for information on upcoming ratification meetings to learn more about the tentative agreement and cast their vote.”

The CBA represents community health service and support workers in B.C. They provide services to seniors and others in their home, work as alcohol and drug counsellors, work with adults and children in community settings and provide administrative support to other health care workers.


Negotiating framework

CUPE’s bargaining committee members were elected at a health bargaining conference held in February 2018. Many of you completed the workload and bargaining survey we circulated. After the bargaining committee reviewed the results, it was clear that the overwhelming priority of members was closing the wage gap with other health workers.

After the CBA approved an early start to bargaining, the community health bargaining committee began discussions with HEABC in mid-May. The CBA sought an agreement that would make significant moves to close the wage gap with other health workers while maintaining all other benefits.

On June 12, 2018, after almost five weeks of hard bargaining, the CBA was satisfied it had an agreement it could recommend to members. The highlights of this tentative agreement are found in this report.

CUPE Locals have arranged ratification meetings on various dates over the first half of July. If you have not received information on your upcoming ratification meeting(s), please contact your Local right away. Contact information is found at  https://bcchs.cupe.ca/contact-us/. We encourage you to attend a meeting and discuss the agreement before voting.  There will be no opportunity to vote by proxy, therefore you must personally attend a meeting to vote on the tentative agreement.


Highlights of the proposed settlement agreement

  • Wage increases of six per cent over three years:
    • April 1, 2019  two per cent
    • April 1, 2020  two per cent
    • April 1, 2021  two per cent

This is for all members, including those whose wages are red-circled;

  • Compensation comparability funding (with the facilities subsector) of about 6.3 per cent of the current payroll spread equally over three years;
  • Improvement of employment security provisions;
  • Creation of task force to investigate paths to CHW regularization (i.e. guaranteed hours) and other issues; and
  • Additional funding for Enhanced Disability Management Program.


Compensation comparability adjustments

The new agreement provides for compensation comparability adjustments 6.3 per cent of current payroll over the three years. This is for members with occupations similar to those covered by the facilities subsector agreement. This is an increase of just over two per cent of the current payroll per year.

A committee of five members appointed by the unions and five members appointed by HEABC will review compensation occupations in the community subsector and the facilities subsector and identify occupations that will qualify for the comparability increases. These increases will be applied to wages primarily but could also be applied to shift premiums and other compensation areas.

Additional criteria have been added for this agreement: CBA occupations will be mapped to a new CBA grid level number that will be the same as the FBA grid level number reflecting overall scope, level of responsibility and qualifications of the CBA occupation using the FBA benchmarks as a guide. If the committee cannot agree on which occupations are eligible for a comparability adjustment, it will refer its differences to arbitrator Vince Ready.

This is a significant move to bridge the gap between community health and facilities compensation and among the first with the potential to apply money outside of direct wages increases.


Contracting out and re-tendering provisions are improved

Provisions for employment security and protection against contracting out have been improved.

Severance now applies to any employee laid off as a result of contracting out. There is no requirement to meet the trigger number of 500 FTEs laid off. As well, it will be paid at double the previous rate. The rate is now one week of pay for every year of service, topping out at 20 weeks of pay.

Priority hiring rights for employees displaced by contract retendering have been renewed for the life of the collective agreement.


Joint Community Benefits Trust (JCBT)

The agreement adds $1.1 million over the life of the agreement to Joint Community Benefits Trust (JCBT) funding for programs to develop quicker returns to work and to improve the mental health of workers.

The JCBT was established on April 1, 2017. It handles the management and decision-making of community sector health and welfare benefits. These include extended health, dental, accidental death and dismemberment and long-term disability benefits.

The employer continues to be responsible for full payment for benefits. All employers must obtain benefits through the JCBT. The funding for the JCBT is expected to be sufficient to maintain benefits over the life of the agreement.

The JCBT is managed by a board of trustees. The CBA and HEABC each appoint five trustees and a neutral chairperson bringing the total to 11. The trustees make all decisions with respect to the provision of health and welfare benefits in the sector.


Enhanced Disability Management Program (EDMP)

The Enhanced Disability Management Program (EDMP) has now been established with all employers in the sector. The CBA’s joint participation in the EDMP is designed to assist ill and injured workers in recovering their health and returning to work sooner.

This program is designed to help members obtain timely medical assistance so that they can return to work. The CBA secured ongoing funding at $816,000 per year over the term of the agreement. The CBA will administer the funds directly to support workers in their return to work. The funding will assist unions like ours to provide better service through increasing the number of staff.


Occupational health and safety

Funding of $750,000, over the life of the agreement, has been allocated to the joint provincial health, safety and violence prevention committee to address OHS issues and the high level of work related injury and illness. This funding is for the community sub-sector only. The sub-sector can either join with other health sub-sectors on initiatives or use the funds for programs unique to the community sub-sector.

As well, $200,000 has been committed to initiate an online mental health resiliency-training module accessible to all employees.


Community health worker (CHW) scheduling provisions

The requirement for the employer to assign hours under Clause 15.4 (3) has been relaxed from ‘as soon as possible’ to allow every opportunity for the hours to be filled by new hours.

The test for applying ‘continuity of care’ to hours assignment has been made equal to the test for gender and language considerations.

Language restricting how often an employee has to check the employer’s voice mail system has been deleted.

The call-in procedure for casuals has been changed to allow for a series of existing assignments to be filled by a single casual employee. An existing assignment is defined as hours already assigned to a regular employee who happens to be absent from work.

A task force has been struck to investigate paths to regularization/guaranteed hours and other solutions to issues that would improve the working lives of community health workers. Task force recommendations can be implemented over the life of the agreement.

Scheduler education funding of $250,000 has been dedicated to developing a joint interpretation on community health worker scheduling practices and to develop a program to instruct schedulers about the interpretation.


Other proposed changes

  • Harassment language has been improved to conform to recent changes to the BC Human Rights Code;
  • Union leave has been improved for bargaining committee members;
  • The union will get more information more frequently about its members;
  • Members will have notice of 24 hours of a meeting that could result in discipline. This is so a steward can be contacted to attend;
  • The list of arbitrators was updated to replace retired arbitrators;
  • Vacancies of less than nine months will not be posted but filled by employees seeking additional hours;
  • Special leave for domestic violence has been added. Under the new provision, up to three days of paid leave will be available for absences resulting from the employee or the employee’s dependent child having experienced domestic violence;
  • Compassionate care leave has been increased to 27 weeks to conform to recent provincial legislation changes;
  • Maternity and parental leave has been increased to conform with federal and provincial changes to legislation;
  • Language has been added making the employer, who provides an electronic device (cell phone, iPad, etc.), responsible for the costs of that device; and
  • Redundant memoranda have been deleted.


The tentative agreement document can be found here: Community Health Tentative Agreement

Categories CBA

New videos highlight CUPE members in Community Health

BURNABY—The more than 1,300 CUPE members who work in B.C.’s community health sector play an important role in health care service delivery, adding value to their communities while facing workload and other significant challenges on a daily basis, a new pair of CUPE videos reveals.

“Building Caring Communities” and “Meeting the Challenges” feature CUPE members from the Community Bargaining Association and the Health Sciences Professionals Bargaining Association talking about their jobs. The members describe their work in community-based public health care, some of the challenges they face, and the advantages of being represented by CUPE.

“These members provide important health services in our communities,” says CUPE Health Coordinator Chris Losito. “They do everything from diagnostic, clinical and inspection services to advocacy, home support, counselling, preventative, and rehabilitation, as well as administrative support services. They’re a key part of our public health care system but don’t have a high profile in the sector. So these videos put a much-needed face to their work.”

The videos can be viewed at the revamped website for B.C.’s CUPE Community Health workers. The site contains information for members in CUPE’s Community Health sector, including contact information for Health Locals and helpful resources to support their work. There’s also a link to the sector’s new Facebook group page.