CBA UPDATE: Third week of community health bargaining

Unions seek agreement on health and safety and scheduling

The third week of Community Health bargaining ended last week after three days of meetings between the Community Bargaining Association (CBA) and the Health Employers Association of BC.

The CBA tabled proposals on occupational health and safety, which included specific proposals on aggressive behaviour, investigation of accidents and working alone or in isolation and communicable diseases.

The unions also tabled proposals aimed at reducing the time it takes to process grievances and discussed the issue of scheduling community health workers.

The employers tabled housekeeping proposals, in addition to housekeeping proposals previously tabled by the CBA. The parties agreed to some of these proposals last week.

“Health and safety issues were tabled early on because our members identified them as important issues,” said CUPE bargaining committee member Pat Taylor. “We are anxiously waiting to hear back from the employer, but so far negotiations haven’t been moving very quickly.”

“We are committed to negotiating a fair and reasonable collective agreement for our members and we have presented proposals to deal with longstanding workplace issues,” said Jill Stromnes, also a CUPE bargaining committee member.

“The committee is looking forward to the employers’ quick and positive response to these initiatives.”

Talks are scheduled to continue for two more weeks in Vancouver with additional sessions scheduled through to the end of March.

The Community Bargaining Association represents over 14,0000 health care workers who provide home-based medically-related support services to seniors and persons with disabilities. Workers in the sector also provide community-based health services including mental health and addictions services and administrative support to home support agencies and health authorities.

CUPE represents approximately 500 members in the CBA and other unions in the association include BCGEU, UFCW 1518, HEU, HSA, USWA and CLAC. 

Categories CBA

Community Health negotiations slowed by employers’ lack of preparation

Unions in the Community Bargaining Association (CBA) are disappointed by the pace of talks so far with the Health Employers Association of BC (HEABC) after a second week of negotiations in Vancouver.

The CBA has tabled housekeeping proposals, language on bullying and harassment, live-in and overnight shifts as well as proposals to renew many of the existing Memorandum of Agreements without changes. However, HEABC has yet to table any proposals or to respond to the majority of what the CBA has presented.

“The slow response to our proposals seems to be due to a lack of preparation on the employers’ side and that’s disappointing,” said Jill Stromnes, CUPE bargaining committee member, “our contract expires at the end of March and we don’t see signs that we will reach agreement anytime soon.”

“We came ready to bargain because it’s important that our members get a fair deal in a reasonable amount of time,” said Pat Taylor, CUPE bargaining committee member

Talks resume February 14 in Vancouver and additional dates have been set through to the end of March.

The CBA represents health care workers who provide home-based medically-related support services to seniors and persons with disabilities. Workers in the sector also provide community-based health services including mental health and addictions services and administrative support to home support agencies and health authorities.

CUPE represents approximately 500 members in the CBA and other unions in the association include BCGEU, UFCW 1518, HEU, HSA, USWA and CLAC. 

Categories CBA

Workers in Community Health begin tabling bargaining proposals

CUPE Health Care Workers began bargaining last week, joined by over 13,000 workers employed in the Community Health sector. Talks commenced between the multi-union Community Bargaining Association (CBA) and the Health Employers’ Association of B.C. (HEABC) on January 23 with the exchange of opening remarks and the initial tabling of proposals.

The CBA presented a summary of the priorities identified by health care workers and proposals related to housekeeping issues, harassment and bullying. Last Thursday the CBA also tabled proposals related to employer and union relations.

Pat Taylor, one of CUPE’s representatives at the table, noted that under the net zero mandate imposed by the provincial government in the last round of bargaining, health care workers’ wages have not kept up with the rate of inflation.

“Over the last two years, our members have suffered a real wage cut of 5 percent. We must achieve a fair and reasonable agreement for our members during this round of bargaining, one that takes into consideration the sacrifices that they had to make in 2010 bargaining,” said Taylor.

At the CUPE bargaining convention in October 2011, members identified wage increases, job security, benefits and scheduling as their main contract priorities.

Taylor also spoke about the importance of community health and the savings that the sector provides in provincial health care spending.

“The services that Community Health Workers provide keep seniors and other clients in their homes and out of expensive acute care beds,” said Taylor. “If our government invests in community health and in recruitment and retention of workers in the sector, it will save big money in other areas of the health care system.”

Negotiations resume in Vancouver on February 6for four more weeks of bargaining. Additional dates have been set through to the end of March.

The CBA represents health care workers who provide home-based medically-related support services to seniors and persons with disabilities. Workers in the sector also provide community-based health services including mental health and addictions services and administrative support to home support agencies and health authorities.

CUPE represents approximately 500 members in the CBA and other unions in the association include BCGEU, UFCW 1518, HEU, HSA, USWA and CLAC.
 

Categories CBA