To all CUPE members in the Community Health sector,

Thank you for the meaningful work you do every day—especially right now. Like all British Columbians we appreciate the critical work of our health care members, and no more so than during an extraordinary crisis such as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We are all under significant stress as we cope with constantly shifting circumstances for our families and communities during the crisis, and health care workers are under the greatest stress of all. You are the line of defense between COVID-19 and the general public. If there is anything we can do to support you, please let us know.

B.C.’s health care system is on heightened alert to contain and slow the spread of COVID-19. As the situation evolves, the Ministry of Health, Office of the Provincial Health Officer, and BC Centre for Disease Control are providing new information on a daily basis.

To assist you further during this difficult period, we want to provide the most accurate and up to date information relevant to your work in health care. Please visit CUPE’s Community Health website for general information about COVID-19 for CUPE members in Community Health, including frequently asked questions and other resources.  There’s also help available for CUPE members in need of income supports.

CUPE National has also responded with these general occupational guidelines on COVID-19 and the CUPE BC website now has a landing page for information relevant to CUPE members from all sectors in B.C.  Meanwhile, CUPE has called on the federal government to provide more protections for coronavirus frontline workers.  CUPE welcomes the government’s announcement of the Emergency Response Benefit, which will cover people who have lost their job, people who are sick or quarantined, and parents who must stay home without pay to care for children. CUPE also welcomes changes to B.C.’s Employment Standards Act dealing with COVID-19 Leave, including an amendment that provides workers with unpaid, job-protected leave if they are unable to work for reasons related to COVID-19. The leave is retroactive to January 27, 2020. The application form will be available on April 6.

Member rights

Members should be aware of their workplace rights during these extraordinary circumstances; some of which we have negotiated in response to this public health emergency:

  • Paid general leave on isolation/quarantine, without impacting on your leave banks, including sick leave;
  • A safe workplace, including the provision of personal protective equipment, procedures and training (where necessary) to protect you while you are working to keep the public safe;
  • Refusal of unsafe work in accordance with the Workers’ Compensation Act, Occupational Health and Safety Regulations Sections 3.12 and 3.13 (view CUPE’s Refusing Unsafe Work – COVID-19 bulletin); and
  • Cancellation of pre-approved leave, such as vacation leave, at our member’s sole discretion.

Redeployment to another job or tasks in health care

We have been informed that there may be a need for redeployment within the health care system to meet the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic. Principles are being negotiated at the provincial level to determine how redeployment to different jobs, work areas, or tasks will occur. Our primary focus is to ensure that you, our members, feel safe and capable in the role to which you are redeployed. If you are asked to redeploy and have concerns, please contact your CUPE local and provide the name and contact information for the manager/director or HR Advisor discussing such plans.

During this current crisis, we can all appreciate feelings of uncertainty surrounding our employment. We want to assure you that, regardless of when the COVID-19 pandemic concludes or recedes, we will ensure that your collective agreement and employment rights are enforced.

If there is anything else we can do to support you, please contact your CUPE local. For additional information and resources specific to COVID-19 in B.C. not found here, please visit: www.bccdc.ca.

New HSPBA annual professional development fund available for CUPE health members

BURNABY—In the 2019-22 round of collective bargaining, the Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association (HSPBA) negotiated an annual $400,000 professional development fund for its members. These funds have now been made available and members are encouraged to identify courses and/or workshops and apply for funds beginning today.

CUPE’s portion of these funds each year is approximately $15,000. Applications will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis while funds are available. The funds cover tuition or fees for courses, programs or conferences to a maximum of $300 per member. These funds cannot be applied to books, travel expenses or to cover wages.

Programs must relate to professional development in a health science discipline being practiced in the public health care system.

The first release of funds is for the April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020 contract year. Programs taken between February 10, 2020 and December 31, 2020 will be considered, with only one application per member permitted for the period of February 10, 2020 through March 31, 2022.

Successful applicants will be reimbursed upon proof of completion of the program applied for, along with receipt for costs claimed. If a course, program or workshop is cancelled or otherwise not attended, the application will be cancelled and the member must reapply on a first-come, first-served basis.

HSPBA wage increase wage schedules posted

BURNABY—The Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association (HSPBA) has released the finalized General Wage Increase Wage Schedules for the 2019 – 2022 HSPBA Collective Agreement. These increases, as announced earlier, were negotiated to come into effect on the first pay period after April 1 of each collective agreement year (2019, 2020, 2021).

These rates were previously provided in draft form. The final versions will also be included in the updated version of the HSPBA Collective Agreement, once ready. CUPE has checked all of the numbers both manually and through excel calculations, and we have deemed them to be accurate. We have also reviewed the classifications implications to ensure accuracy and we believe those changes also to be complete.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your HSPBA rep via the Community Health website or contact CUPE Health Coordinator Chris Losito at closito@cupe.ca.

 

 

Health care presidents anticipate growth in sector

NANAIMO—Growth in CUPE’s community health sector was a major topic of discussion at CUPE’s Health Care Presidents Council (HCPC) meeting held here on August 14.

Council members from several CUPE locals heard some exciting news about the prospect of increasing membership, both for the Council and for the community health sector at large.

“The results of this growth will be a stronger voice and an increased vote in the bargaining association on behalf of CUPE’s members, and an increased proportion of collectively bargained funding for things like the enhanced disability management program and, where applicable, professional development funds,” said CUPE Health Coordinator Chris Losito.

“Increased membership in the Council also allows the HCPC more options for pursuing sector-related campaigns supportive of our members’ needs.”

Community health locals can expect to hear more news on this increase in membership in the near future.

At the meeting, the Council also adopted a new Protocol Agreement that strengthens its relationships with partners such as CUPE BC and the Hospital Employees’ Union, discussed ways to ensure more activity involving new member orientation, and nominated CUPE 1978 member Kaz Takeuchi as the new treasurer.

CBA Low Wage Redress for “Layered Over” Positions

Attention CUPE CBA members:

According to the CBA Classification Manual, found in the collective agreement, a “Layered Over” position is one which is required to assign work to another Community Subsector employee and is required to ensure that the assigned work is completed.  These positions are entitled to compensation at one (1) grid higher than the employee they provide supervision to.

If you hold a layered over position, we ask that you ensure you are indeed being compensated at the correct rate.  If not, please contact your CUPE Local right away: https://bcchs.cupe.ca/contact-us/.

Sincerely,

Your CUPE Health Care Presidents Council.

Categories CBA

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.