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November 1, 2012

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More tricks and no treats for health science professionals

VANCOUVER—The government announced yesterday through the Health Employers’ Association of BC (HEABC) that bargaining a fair collective agreement for health science professionals – who have been without a contract since April 2012 – is not on the agenda.

The day after the Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association (HSPBA) tabled a framework agreement that includes a modest wage increase, HEABC returned to the table, explaining its hands are tied by the Ministry of Health, which refuses to apply the government’s cooperative gains mandate for meaningful bargaining at the table.

Yesterday, the Association tabled a framework agreement.

“It is a fair and reasonable proposal and completely in line with the government’s mandate – evidenced by the 3 - and 4 - percent wage increases agreed to in several public sector agreements – including direct government service and nurses,” said CUPE bargaining committee member Chris Losito.

“We have been working for more than seven months on a number of complex issues to try to work cooperatively with the government to address critical shortages in health science professions, and today HEABC delivered the message that while they view the work as productive, they do not have a mandate to bargain with health science professionals,” he said.

Last week, bargaining association representatives took the unusual step of going to Victoria to meet directly with senior Ministry of Health officials to deliver the message directly that health science professionals deserve an equitable and fair agreement and that it’s time for some real bargaining.

Losito says that this clearly shows the lack of interest from the ministry.

The bargaining association will consider next steps and report to members later this week.

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.

For all bargaining updates and information on CUPE’s health sector in BC visit http://bcchs.cupe.ca/.

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