HSPBA UPDATE: Bargaining for health science professionals resumes this week

In a short bargaining session at the Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association bargaining table last week, the union bargaining association tabled anti-bullying language to address issues in the workplace.

The unions presented language that helps improve personal safety for health science professionals at work.

The pace at the bargaining table has been very slow. There has been only a limited exchange of specific language on the substantive issues.

However, your union has worked hard at negotiating and setting essential service levels in the event of job action at all CUPE work sites.

The Health Science Professionals collective agreement expires Saturday, March 31. The terms and conditions of the existing contract will remain in place until such time as a new collective agreement is achieved. Bargaining is scheduled to continue this week and through next week.

HSPBA’s objectives for this round of bargaining, presented at the bargaining table in February, are:

• To optimize the quality of patient and client care
• To properly value the work of health science professionals on the modern health care team
• To end the reliance on employees’ subsidization of optimal delivery of care, and
• To regain and maintain the competitive edge needed to attract and retain the best and brightest 

CUPE represents approximately 500 members in the HSPBA which has over 17,000 members, the majority of whom are represented by the HSA.  Other Unions at the table are BCGEU, PEA and HEU 

HSPBA UPDATE: Pharmacists’ wage rollback rescinded


Talks at the Health Science Professionals bargaining table today opened with an announcement from the Health Employers Association of BC that the plan to roll back the temporary market adjustment for pharmacists has been rescinded.

The HSPBA applauded the efforts of hospital pharmacists across the province who spoke out against the 9 to 14 per cent wage rollback planned for April 1, 2012 announced January 6.

The almost 1,200 letters sent through the pharmacistsmatter.ca website, along with the efforts of pharmacists who met with MLAs, local health authorities, and who told their stories in the media exerted the pressure needed for HEABC to reverse its plan for the unilateral wage rollback.

When the wage rollback was announced, pharmacists warned that hospitals across BC have been suffering critical recruitment and retention problems in their pharmacy departments. In recognition of these difficulties, HEABC agreed in 2006 to a market wage adjustment to stem the flow of pharmacists away from BC hospitals.

The market adjustment will be maintained for pharmacists until a new collective agreement is in place.

HSPBA UPDATE: Health science professionals open contract negotiations February 27

Health science professionals are scheduled to begin negotiations for a new collective agreement next week.

Health science professionals will be looking for strong indications early on that government and its bargaining agent, Health Employers’ Association of BC (HEABC), are prepared to address fundamental issues.

The Health Sciences Professional Bargaining Association (HSPBA) served notice at the beginning of this year that continuing to fall behind counterparts in other provinces is not an option. HSPBA members are seeking fairness and respect in this round of bargaining. This means fair, respectful, and meaningful collective bargaining; and fair recognition of the role health science professionals play in the modern health care system.

The HSPBA chief negotiator, Jeanne Meyers, said all the signals coming from HEABC and the government – including HEABC’s refusal to undertake meaningful work in a number of areas negotiated in the last collective agreement, HEABC’s arbitrary wage rollback announcement for pharmacists, the government’s announced mandate of freezing wages, and a health care budget that doesn’t keep up with inflation – is that HEABC and the government have limited interest in arriving at a negotiated agreement.

“The HSPBA will enter into the collective bargaining process with a commitment to the process, but, frankly, if we don’t see signs from government and HEABC that there is an appetite for free collective bargaining, we are not interested in participating in a farce,” Meyers said.

Union stewards and staff are currently involved in negotiating essential service levels. Essential services are a legislative requirement to create a balance between workers’ rights to strike, and the need to protect the public from “immediate and serious danger.” In health care, essential service levels ensure there is staff available during a labour dispute to ensure patients are not in immediate or serious danger.

HSPBA represents 17,000 members, the majority of whom are represented by HSA. Other unions at the table are CUPE, BCGEU, PEA, and HEU. CUPE represents over 500 members employed by the Vancouver Island Health Authority, Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health Authority.

CUPE’s representatives to the HSPBA bargaining committee are:

Chris Losito, Environmental Health Officer, Vancouver Coastal Health
Michael McKinley, Environmental Health Officer, Vancouver Island Health Authority
Justin Schmid, CUPE National Representative