Bargaining Update #6: Health science professionals' talks temporarily suspended

Bargaining Update #6
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Bargaining between the Paramedical Professional Bargaining Association and Health Employers Association of BC has been temporarily suspended.

After several bargaining sessions that have allowed the parties to explore a number of issues, the two sides agreed to suspend bargaining due to industry-wide considerations.

-It has become clear to the two sides bargaining committees that while negotiations have been frank and cordial, the uncertainty in the broader health care labour relations community is an obstacle to continued productive talks," PPBA Chief Negotiator Ron Ohmart said.

-The PPBA went to the bargaining table with a very concise proposal that addressed issues of concern to health science professionals. In the several negotiating sessions we have had since February, we have made significant progress on issues around the fair management of human resources issues during the upheaval in health care caused by massive restructuring."

Ohmart said the suspended talks give HEABC an opportunity to consider several issues raised by the union bargaining association.

-While the employer came to the table with a package of concessions, the union proposal focused on protecting and enhancing important elements in the collective agreement that address members concerns about their ability to provide quality health care in a climate of staff shortages and program management. We have given them a lot to think about," he said.

-When we opened negotiations, the union bargaining committee said it was determined to find a way to negotiate a collective agreement. We are still determined, and are comfortable that suspending talks allows the two parties at this negotiating table to continue a respectful bargaining relationship in a very difficult time in the health labour relations community."

Ohmart added the HSA and other member unions of the PPBA are continuing to work to finalize essential service levels in the event of job action.

The Paramedical Professional Bargaining Association represents approximately 13,000 health science professionals in the Health Sciences Association, BC Government and Service Employees Union, Canadian Union of Public Employees, Professional Employees Association, and the Hospital Employees Union.