NBA Ratifies new collective agreement

Greetings CUPE 1004 Nurses,

Members of the Nurses’ Bargaining Association (NBA) have successfully ratified a new three-year collective agreement with B.C.’s health employers, effective April 1, 2022, to March 31, 2025. In addition to the terms of the contract, nurses will now see the benefits of hundreds of millions of dollars in funding agreements reached between the NBA and the provincial government.

Sixty-one per cent of NBA members voted in favour of the tentative agreement reached on March 31, 2023. The contract applies to nurses working in acute care, community, public health, long-term care, and other settings within the province’s health care system.

The agreement includes the following general wage increases for all employees:

  • Year 1: $0.25 /hr plus 3.24%, retroactive to April 1, 2022
  • Year 2: 6.75%, retroactive to April 1, 2023
  • Year 3: 2% increase, plus a potential cost-of-living adjustment (to a maximum of 3%)

In addition to the general wage increase, the collective agreement includes a significant wage schedule redesign that provides meaningful wage gains, including new increment steps at years 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30. There are also significant increases to shift premiums, on-call rates, responsibility pay and isolation travel allowance.

The agreement also includes significant improvements in job flexibility and access to leaves, as well as investments in workplace health and safety. New contract language will also advance the principles of diversity, equity and inclusivity to ensure that all nurses are welcome in their workplaces. A genuine commitment to truth and reconciliation, cultural safety, and strategies to address Indigenous-specific racism in the healthcare system is also incorporated into the agreement.

The ratification of the collective agreement secures the following historic funding agreements reached between the NBA and provincial government:

  • $750 million to support the establishment of minimum nurse-patient ratios ($200M, $250M and $300M ongoing), making B.C. the first province in Canada to implement this transformative staffing model;
  • $100 million to establish a nurse support fund and career laddering opportunities for LPNs to become RNs; and
  • $108.6 million in ongoing funding to support retention strategies that include, but are not limited to, mentorship and preceptorship incentives.

Yours in solidarity,

Andrew Ledger
CUPE Heath Sector Coordinator

HEABC and Nurses’ Bargaining Association (NBA) reach tentative agreement

The HEABC-led employer bargaining team and the Nurses’ Bargaining Association (NBA) have reached a tentative agreement under the Province’s Shared Recovery Mandate. Negotiations commenced for a new collective agreement on December 8, 2022. Negotiations under the Shared Recovery Mandate support government’s key priorities to improve public services and the health care system, while supporting the province’s continued economic recovery for all.

Highlights of the tentative agreement include:

  • General wage increases (GWI) for all employees effective:
  • April 1, 2022: $0.25 per hour and then 3.24 per cent
  • April 1, 2023: 5.5 per cent plus up to 1.25 per cent Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) (Now confirmed that 1.25 per cent COLA will apply)
  • April 1, 2024: 2.0 per cent plus up to 1.0 per cent COLA
  • A revised wage schedule with new increments at 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, 25 years, and 30 years
  • Indigenous specific anti-racism language consistent with other health sector agreements
  • Participation with the new Provincial Health Human Resources Coordination Centre (PHHRCC) for bargaining associations and a PHHRCC working group focused on diversity, equity and inclusion
  • A new premium for regular status employees of $2.15 per hour, for each hour worked, excluding overtime
  • Increases to shift premiums, on-call rates, responsibility pay, business allowance and isolation allowance
  • Expansion of voluntary shift exchanges and job share language to enhance flexibility

Further details will be available in the coming weeks as the ratification processes for both union members and employers unfold.

Nurses’ Bargaining Association Update – Talks Continuing

The Nurses’ Bargaining Association (NBA) Bargaining Committee is back at the table with bargaining representatives from the Health Employers Association of BC (HEABC), exchanging article language proposals that address many of the shortcomings in the current contract. In addition to lead negotiator, Jim Gould, other bargaining committee members are presenting to the employer group, and keeping the voices of working nurses in the conversation by providing compelling examples of the ways misinterpreted language is leading to nurses being woefully disrespected.

Gould was sharp in his reminder to the employer representatives: this is an historic opportunity to reset the relationship between nurses and employers. While the Union’s proposals may appear to add more financial pressure to the healthcare system in the short term, Gould has insisted these changes are required for recruitment and retention. Gould strongly asserted that if employers do the right thing today, these changes will result in nurses staying in the profession for the long term, and will also help return qualified nurses back to the workplace.

When not presenting proposals to HEABC, the Bargaining Committee meets in smaller groups to review the Employer’s counterproposals carefully. This micro approach gives the team more time to assess and challenge the intention of changes being proposed. Talks remain focused on housekeeping-type changes before moving into more complex language and monetary proposals in the weeks ahead.

The NBA Bargaining Committee is steadfast in its resolve. We will continue to bring the voice of nurses to the table, and call out the disconnect between those negotiating for the HEABC and what the employers are actually doing.

Nurses’ Bargaining Association contract talks formally underway

VANCOUVER—Wages and premiums are the number one priority for nurses. There will be no concessions in this round of bargaining, and the stripping away of any member health benefits is not on the table. The priorities of CUPE members have been shared with the constituent unions in the Nurses’ Bargaining Association (NBA), and we will continue to push for meaningful change on those issues.

These are the key takeaways from the NBA’s opening presentation to the Health Employers Association of BC (HEABC) on December 8. The NBA’s membership includes 35 nurses who are members of CUPE 1004.

The NBA bargaining committee dominated the initial session with HEABC, bringing the indisputable power of nurses’ voices from around the province. The committee provided first-hand accounts of the personal and professional impact of the nurse staffing crisis, highlighting how desperately nurses need help.

HEABC representatives were greeted by large boards signed by delegates at the October provincial bargaining conference answering the question, ‘For this round of bargaining, nurses deserve…’.  The boards included impactful messages from members, including calls for better wages, respect, and safe workplaces, forcing the negotiators to appreciate that all discussions will have one audience in mind: working nurses.

Lead negotiator and BCNU interim CEO Jim Gould made NBA’s position clear: with health authorities falling short of provincial targets for safe care delivery, the NBA has leverage thanks to outstanding levels of public support. Nurses are furious, and this is the round of bargaining to do things differently.

Gould shared a series of statistics that underscore the need for this round of bargaining to seriously address shortcomings in the system directly linked to recruitment and retention issues. Among them:

  • 88 per cent of B.C. nurses say they’re working short at least once a week;
  • Each additional patient added to a nurse’s assignment increases the odds of patient death by 16 per cent;
  • 79 per cent of nurses say they have witnessed patients suffering adverse health outcomes due to poor nurse staffing; and
  • 36 per cent report experiencing workplace discrimination, while 54 per cent report witnessing it.

The Committee shared its expectation that principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion be incorporated throughout the bargaining process to recognize our membership’s social diversity, including race, class, gender, sexuality, ability, nationality, religion, language, and age. The Committee also expressed its desire to have both parties recognize the Indigenous-specific racism and discrimination in the healthcare system and incorporate the findings of the <In Plain Sight Report (2020)>, specifically that negotiators maintain an anti-racist mindset when considering contract language.

The Committee advised the employer that 99 per cent of members at the last bargaining conference said that they’d be prepared to strike to achieve their top five “must haves”: Improved wages and premiums, mandatory nurse-patient ratios, safety on the job, flexibility and leaves, and benefits.

Dates for contract talks have been set for this week, after which bargaining will pause over the holiday season. Meetings will resume in January.