Health science professionals reach five-year tentative agreement with provincial government

HSA stewards met to discuss contract negotiations

Stewards for health science professionals met in September to discuss the contract negotiations

Ratification vote to be held by mail-in ballot

The Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association has reached a tentative agreement for the 17,000 health science professionals delivering modern health care in BC's hospitals and communities.

It is a five-year agreement that expires March 31, 2019. The agreement was reached in advance of the expiry of the current agreement, set to run out on March 31, 2014.

"HSA entered into early negotiations after being approached by government, which was looking to find common ground that meets our shared objectives for stability in the health care system, as well as a strong commitment to recruitment and retention of the health science professionals essential to the modern health care team," said Val Avery, president of the Health Sciences Association of BC.

"This tentative agreement does just that. Over the course of five years, our members will achieve modest wage increases, and work with employers to continue to deliver quality care to patients. In addition, employers have committed to processes aimed at recruitment and retention of highly skilled and in-demand health science professionals," she said.

Highlights of the tentative agreement include:

  • Wage increase totalling 5.5 per cent over five years; with a possibility for improvements dependent on the performance of BC's economy (Economic Stability Dividend)
    • A "me-too" clause. If other comparable public sector compensation increases exceed these increases, then the HSPBA collective agreement will be adjusted by an across-the-board percentage increase to match those compensation increases.
  • Protection of benefits
    • Current benefits provided by the collective agreement will be maintained until April 1, 2016
    • A jointly-run trust will be established by April 1, 2016 to allow for joint administration and decision-making about participation in and management of benefits
    • The Pharmacare Tie-In drug benefits coverage program, introduced in the 2012-2014 contract, will be improved to allow for 50% coverage for prescriptions not covered by the Pharmacare formulary. The change is retroactive to Sept. 1, 2013.
  • Improved commitment to disability management for staff, ensuring they are supported to return to work successfully after absence due to injury or illness – health care workers experience the highest rate of occupational injury in BC.
    • Increase Enhanced Disability Management Program union representatives.
  • A joint recruitment and retention committee designed to address issues and initiatives to ensure long-term supply of highly skilled health science professionals.
    • Identify barriers to retention and recruitment
    • Joint union/management requests may be made to government for labour market adjustments to address wage-driven recruitment and retention issues

The Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association is led by HSA, and includes other health science professionals represented by CUPE, BCGEU, PEA, and HEU.

HSA chief stewards will receive a full briefing Monday November 18 at a special meeting in Vancouver.

Full details of the tentative agreement will be made available to members in the coming weeks. A ratification vote will be held by mail-in ballot. If you have changed your mailing address recently, please send current information to @email.