HSA wins $10 million settlement for health science professionals

Update (December 2022)

Subsequent to Arbitrator Hall’s decision (and monetary award to HSA) it quickly became clear that HEABC as the employer was determined to appeal the decision, delaying and perhaps preventing this money from benefiting members.

During bargaining the parties agreed to consider the damage award to be annualized funding allocated to the classification redesign. This negotiated outcome replaced that uncertainty and delay with immediate and continuing positive impact on the membership.

Following a major victory by HSA, close to $10 million will be paid out to health sciences professionals covered by the Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association (HSPBA) 2014-2019 collective agreement. HSA is the lead union in the HSPBA, which represents 20,000 specialized health professionals working in hospitals and communities across BC.
The $10 million legal settlement awarded by Arbitrator John Hall for health science professionals is tied to the 2014-2019 collective agreement. It is not related to the current round of bargaining, where union negotiators are focused on achieving a fair contract that addresses the serious impacts of chronic shortages and the rising cost of living.
In bargaining the 2014-2019 contract, government negotiators unequivocally told the HSPBA bargaining team that a move away from a direct benefit plan to a joint trust model for administering extended health benefits was a necessary feature of any collective agreement negotiated in the public health care sector in that round of bargaining. Three of four public sector health care collective agreements negotiated included the change.

Read the full decision here.
In his decision, Hall found the HSPBA agreement was breached when government signed a contract with the Nurses' Bargaining Association that did not include a change to a joint trust model, and a monetary remedy was justified under a “me-too” provision negotiated in the agreement.
The $9.44 million (plus interest) award represents the difference paid to the HSPBA and NBA in overall compensation to fund the benefits plans.

HSA President Kane Tse celebrated the award.
“In 2013 our bargaining team negotiated a contract under a very restrictive monetary mandate imposed by the then-Liberal government. In negotiations, our bargainers were able to achieve modest contract improvements despite the restrictions based on a compensation mandate that government insisted applied to all public sector health collective agreements.
“The HSPBA bargaining team included a safety valve – a “me-too” provision –  that ensured if the Nurses' Bargaining Association and its lead union, BCNU, achieved monetary treatment in their contract that exceeded the government’s imposed mandate, health science professionals would receive equal compensation,” Tse said.
HSPBA includes health science professionals represented by Health Sciences Association of BC (HSA), BC General Employees Union (BCGEU), Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Professional Employees’ Association (PEA), and Hospital Employees Union (HEU).

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