CUPE Health Care Presidents Council calls on members to help re-elect BC NDP government

BURNABY—CUPE members in Community Health can see first-hand the impact of a B.C. government that values our public health care system. Since 2017, the BC NDP under Premier John Horgan have consistently demonstrated their commitment to the public services we all rely on. With the Horgan government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in particular, the BC NDP have led the country in promoting public health while recognizing the importance of frontline health care workers who provide those critical services and keep the public safe.

This record stands in stark contrast to that of the BC Liberal Party, whose record while in government showed contempt both for you as public sector employees and for our public health care system as a whole. Among other things, the BC Liberals tore up contracts, slashed budgets, laid off health care workers, and left the rest of you with unmanageable workloads. For these reasons, CUPE’s Health Care Presidents Council is calling on CUPE members in Community Health to get active during the last two weeks prior to Election Day on October 24 and help re-elect the BC NDP government.

First of all, don’t forget to vote. There are options for physically distant voting in advance of E-Day. For information on how to vote, visit www.elections.bc.ca. There are many solid candidates running where you live and work, including Adrian Dix in Kingsway and Jennifer Whiteside in New Westminster. Adrian’s work as Health Minister during the pandemic, and Jennifer’s advocacy for public health care as secretary-business manager of the Hospital Employees’ Union, have been outstanding. CUPE also has members or former staff running as BC NDP candidates, including incumbent MLAs Rachna Singh in Surrey-Green Timbers and Lisa Beare in Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, as well as candidates Sylvia Lindgren in Shuswap, Cory Longley in Peace River South, Bryn Smith in Surrey-White Rock, and Dan Coulter in Chilliwack.

As well as voting for the NDP candidate in your constituency, you can make a difference by volunteering on a campaign and by sharing the BC NDP platform with your friends and family. With your support, we can continue the positive work the BC NDP has done to strengthen our public health care system for all British Columbians.

In solidarity,

CUPE’s Health Care Presidents Council

Update regarding temporary pandemic pay

Greetings to CUPE Community Health Sector members,

RE: Update regarding payment of province’s Temporary Pandemic Pay

We wish to inform you that the provincial government has updated the information on its Temporary Pandemic Pay website: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/covid-19-provincial-support/temporary-pandemic-pay.

Of note, the website now states: “Eligible employees will begin to see temporary pandemic pay reflected on their paycheques in October. The timing for payments is dependent in part on the claim accuracy and when it is submitted for validation.”

We have also been informed that the temporary pandemic pay should be paid for overtime hours worked during the eligible period of March 15-July 4, 2020.

Sincerely,

Chris Losito
CUPE National Representative

Local health sector activists brush up on shop stewarding, notetaking skills

BURNABY—Even during the pandemic, educational opportunities for union activists in community health don’t all have to be on Zoom. On September 24 and 25, eight CUPE members from Locals 15, 1004, 1978 and 4816 took advantage of physically distant space at the B.C. regional office to take combined workshops for CUPE’s Introduction to Shop Stewarding and Notetaking.

The sessions, facilitated by CUPE Health coordinator Chris Losito, were specifically tailored to the two health sector collective agreements CUPE works with, the HSPBA and CBA. Members reviewed the collective agreements while discussing the complicated structure of the sector and relationships with employers and the HEABC.

Final deadline notice – Complete the survey: HSPBA job classification redesign

NOTICE TO CUPE COMMUNITY HEALTH MEMBERS UNDER HSPBA CONTRACT

Final deadline notice: Your participation needed in classification redesign survey

As part of the 2019-2022 collective agreement, the Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association (HSPBA) and Health Employers Association of BC (HEABC) established a working group to continue the work of modernizing the HSPBA Classification System. The purpose is to address anomalies and regularize a number of professions and professional practice issues that have developed in a changing health care system.

A total of $10 million was negotiated to fund the first steps of a wholesale restructuring of the classification system to address decades-old inequities in job categories.

Phased in over three years, the agreement is to make changes to the classification system that will address existing inequities, improve recruitment and retention, and support the government’s modernizing of health care delivery in the province, including the creation of community-based, multidisciplinary health care teams.

The next step of the joint committee’s work is to assess the circumstances of members’ jobs that may be affected by the next steps of the modernization project as outlined in provisions (r), (s), and (t) of Appendix A of the Memorandum of Agreement re HSPBA Classification Redesign – Interim Agreement. (Reference: Page 83 of the summary of changes to the HSPBA collective agreement.)

Members are asked to complete a survey to the best of their ability so that the union has the best information available in matching job functions to the appropriate classification and rate of pay.

Information gathered by CUPE is secure and will be used to establish correct classification and wage rates for members in jobs captured by this phase of the classification redesign.

Deadline for completion of the survey is midnight, September 14, 2020.

Please access the survey here.

For further information, please contact CUPE Health coordinator Chris Losito at closito@cupe.ca.

REMINDER Complete the survey: HSPBA job classification redesign

NOTICE TO CUPE COMMUNITY HEALTH MEMBERS UNDER HSPBA CONTRACT

Reminder: Your participation needed in classification redesign survey

As part of the 2019-2022 collective agreement, the Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association (HSPBA) and Health Employers Association of BC (HEABC) established a working group to continue the work of modernizing the HSPBA Classification System. The purpose is to address anomalies and regularize a number of professions and professional practice issues that have developed in a changing health care system.

A total of $10 million was negotiated to fund the first steps of a wholesale restructuring of the classification system to address decades-old inequities in job categories.

Phased in over three years, the agreement is to make changes to the classification system that will address existing inequities, improve recruitment and retention, and support the government’s modernizing of health care delivery in the province, including the creation of community-based, multidisciplinary health care teams.

The next step of the joint committee’s work is to assess the circumstances of members’ jobs that may be affected by the next steps of the modernization project as outlined in provisions (r), (s), and (t) of Appendix A of the Memorandum of Agreement re HSPBA Classification Redesign – Interim Agreement. (Reference: Page 83 of the summary of changes to the HSPBA collective agreement.)

Members are asked to complete a survey to the best of their ability so that the union has the best information available in matching job functions to the appropriate classification and rate of pay.

Information gathered by CUPE is secure and will be used to establish correct classification and wage rates for members in jobs captured by this phase of the classification redesign.

Deadline for completion of the survey is midnight, September 14, 2020.

Please access the survey here.

For further information, please contact CUPE Health coordinator Chris Losito at closito@cupe.ca.

Complete the survey: HSPBA job classification redesign

NOTICE TO CUPE HEALTH SCIENCE PROFESSIONALS MEMBERS:

Classification redesign of HSPBA collective agreement: your participation needed

As part of the 2019-2022 collective agreement, the Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association (HSPBA) and Health Employers Association of BC (HEABC) established a working group to continue the work of modernizing the HSPBA Classification System. The purpose is to address anomalies and regularize a number of professions and professional practice issues that have developed in a changing health care system.

A total of $10 million was negotiated to fund the first steps of a wholesale restructuring of the classification system to address decades-old inequities in job categories.

Phased in over three years, the agreement is to make changes to the classification system that will address existing inequities, improve recruitment and retention, and support the government’s modernizing of health care delivery in the province, including the creation of community-based, multidisciplinary health care teams.

The next step of the joint committee’s work is to assess the circumstances of members’ jobs that may be affected by the next steps of the modernization project as outlined in provisions (r), (s), and (t) of Appendix A of the Memorandum of Agreement re HSPBA Classification Redesign – Interim Agreement. (Reference: Page 83 of the summary of changes to the HSPBA collective agreement.)

Members are asked to complete a survey to the best of their ability so that the union has the best information available in matching job functions to the appropriate classification and rate of pay.

Information gathered by CUPE is secure and will be used to establish correct classification and wage rates for members in jobs captured by this phase of the classification redesign.

Deadline for completion of the survey is midnight, September 14, 2020.

Please access the survey here.

For further information, please contact CUPE Health coordinator Chris Losito at closito@cupe.ca.

Update on pandemic pay and union dues

Dear CUPE community health members:

RE: Pandemic pay update

You should see the provincial pandemic pay as a lump sum payment near the end of August or possibly early September. The employers are looking to make the process as streamlined as possible, which is why the payment has not yet been made.

Your CUPE Local will be informing your employer this week that collection of dues should be waived on the pandemic pay.

We would like to recognize the remarkable efforts of shop stewards, local executives and all other union activists for their role in supporting and advocating for all members during the pandemic. These activists volunteer their time, knowledge and skills to enforce your collective agreement rights and to communicate the needs of the membership to the employer.

More information on the pandemic pay fund can be found here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/covid-19-provincial-support/temporary-pandemic-pay

In solidarity and good health,

Chris Losito
CUPE National Representative

UPDATED: Sector-specific guidelines and general health & safety practices during pandemic

Answers also available regarding employer obligations for return to work during COVID-19 

BURNABY—CUPE’s National Health and Safety branch has developed a series of sector-specific guidelines to assist members during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The guidelines are part of an overall “kit,” which includes:

  • COVID-19: Health and safety practices while working during a pandemic
  • COVID-19: General Occupational Guidelines
  • COVID-19: Fact Sheet
  • COVID-19: The Right to Refuse Unsafe Work
  • COVID-19: Cleaning and Disinfecting
  • COVID-19: Personal Protective Equipment (Fact Sheet)
  • COVID-19: Use of Masks and Respirators (Fact Sheet)
  • COVID-19: Masks and Face Coverings

The health sector guidelines document contains embedded links to the documents listed above.

CUPE has also released a Frequently Asked Questions document about issues related to the Employer’s obligations for return to work during the pandemic.

 

Temporary COVID-19 pandemic pay now available

BURNABY—BC NDP Finance Minister Carole James today announced temporary COVID-19 pandemic pay for frontline workers. Details of the fund, and CUPE BC’s response, can be found here.

“We are gratified by the recognition of the critical work our members across the health care sector have been doing during this incredibly challenging pandemic,” says CUPE Health Coordinator Chris Losito.

“Our members have been unwavering in their commitment to maintaining the high standard of public health care that we’ve come to expect. And we believe that this recognizes those amazing contributions.”

As the government’s announcement states, no application is necessary as the employer will be administering the fund.

For more information on eligibility and other details around the fund, please visit the government’s dedicated page.

 

HSPBA pandemic response fund on hold

The HSPBA pandemic response fund negotiated on behalf of B.C.’s health science professionals will be reviewed following the announcement by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of $4 billion in federal funding, in cost share with the provincial government, to recognize and support the work of essential workers.

After reaching the $5-million Pandemic Response Fund agreement with the BC Ministry of Health last month, CUPE has continued its work to ensure that contributions of its essential members are properly recognized during the COVID-19 crisis.

As a result, the HSPBA pandemic response fund application process has been put on hold until next week.

We thank all members for your support and interest in the fund and we will notify you immediately upon receiving new information to share.