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Community Health Services and Support: Tentative deal reached

The multi-union Community Health Services and Support Bargaining Association has reached a tentative collective agreement with the Health Employers Association of BC (HEABC).

The two-year proposed agreement covers more than 14,000 workers in community health, and comes after one year of difficult negotiations. The agreement achieves members' key priorities including an across-the-board wage increase while protecting health and welfare benefits. Highlights include:

•    3% wage increase for all employees (2% upon ratification and 1% April 1st, 2013)
•    Improved scheduling provisions
•    Improved grievance arbitration language
•    Respectful workplace provisions
•    Improved selection criteria provisions
•    Elimination of a double probationary period for casuals
•    Protection for casuals in the event of retendering

Last week, mediator Debbie Cameron was able to narrow the differences and bring the parties closer together.

The agreement follows the pattern set in in the recently-ratified agreement in the Facilities Health Services and Support sector, and is consistent with the other agreements reached in the health sector. A strong strike mandate from members, and the commitment and determination from the bargaining team caused the employer to back away from concession demands to cost-share health and welfare premiums.

HSAs board of directors will be meeting this week to make a recommendation to members regarding this tentative agreement. Please sign up at hsabc.org to ensure we can contact you with more information.

Workers in community health were without a contract since March 31, 2012 and are among the lowest paid in the public sector. HSAs members in community health work as autism interventionists, child care assistants, and front line advocates for community health centres. They work as preschool teachers, residential care workers, in supported child care, as women's support workers at transition houses, and in mental health and addiction rehabilitation support. They are the frontline caregivers in BC's health care system, providing compassionate, quality care and support to people in their homes and other facilities.

HSAs community health members are represented at the bargaining table by Kate Meier (residential care worker, South Peace Child Development Centre) and Dani Demetlika (Senior Labour Relations Officer.)

The CBA represents more than 14,000 members, the majority of whom are represented by the BCGEU. Other unions at the table include HSA, UFCW, HEU, CUPE, and USWA.

This email is being sent to all HSA Community Health Services and Support members for whom we have personal email addresses. Update your info by signing in at www.hsabc.org or email memberlist@hsabc.org.

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