Breakthrough on longstanding issues

While the union bargaining committee is still awaiting a revised monetary proposal from the employer, a number of long-standing issues for health science professionals have been resolved in bargaining between the Paramedical Professional Bargaining Association (PPBA) and HEABC.

Ron Ohmart, PPBAs Chief Negotiator, said the union and employer have agreed to contract language that supports health science professionals who are in short supply.

"Many of our members, particularly in non-urban facilities where shortages mean that health science professionals are on-call for long periods of time, will benefit from some of the breakthroughs we have made at the bargaining table this week," Ohmart said.

New language has been agreed to that ensures adequate time off in between regularly scheduled or on-call shifts where employees are called into work. The new language ensures health science professionals receive adequate time off in between shifts when they are required to work overtime or are called into work.

Agreement has also been reached to ensure members who provide telephone consultation during their off-duty hours are appropriately compensated.

In addition, the parties have agreed to language that ensures members who are called into displacement meetings are entitled to be accompanied by a union representative.

"Agreement on these important issues is an encouraging sign that the employers are listening and understand the value that health science professionals bring to the health care team," Ohmart said.

Ohmart said the pace of negotiations has picked up, and bargaining is scheduled to continue through the weekend.

HSA is the lead union in the PPBA, representing more than 90 per cent of health science professionals in BC. The bargaining association also includes the BC Government and Service Employees Union, Canadian Union of Public Employees, Professional Employees Association, and Hospital Employees Union.

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