HSPBA will fight health authority’s attempt to break contract agreement

In a recent letter from human resources managers at Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, employees have been told they will be moving to a five-day 7.5 hour work week and that nine-day fortnights and EDOs will be eradicated.

The letter completely misrepresents the negotiated agreement reached on the shift to a 37.5 hour work week from the current 36 hour work week worked by health science professionals, says HSA’s Executive Director of Legal and Labour Relations Jeanne Meyers.

“We are not going to sit by and allow any health authority to try to renege on the terms of the negotiated collective agreement,” Meyers said.

“The agreement to change to an extended work week was achieved through months of negotiations at the bargaining table. The unilateral pronouncement about the change in hours is completely contrary to the agreement, and HSA and the Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association (HSPBA) will take immediate action to stop any health authority from disregarding the agreement,” she said.

The Transition to the 37.5 hour work week Memorandum of Understanding reads as follows:

During collective bargaining the parties agreed to a thirty seven and one-half (37.5) hour work week.
The Employer agrees that this will not result in any layoffs for health science professionals and will be done in a manner that minimizes the impact of these changes on individual health science professional’s employment and security.
It is recognized that in many areas it will be necessary to revise the rotations and/or shift schedule in order to implement the thirty seven and one-half (37.5) hour work week. The parties commit to work together to ensure a smooth transition as a result of changes to rotations and/or shift schedules due to increased hours of work.
In order to minimize impact of the transition ot the thirty seven and one-half (37.5) work week, the Employer agrees to consider the following options:

a) Regularization of casual and overtime hours (part-time or full-time basis), such as creating built in vacation relief.
b) Use of current vacancies to maintain current part-time employee’s hours of work.
c) Offer job shares as per Appendix 8
d) Other options as mutually agreed between the Union and the Employer.

The Employer and the Union agree to develop a process to expedite the building of the rotations and/or shift schedules.

In addition, the agreement reached with HEABC – the health authorities’ bargaining agent – is that these schedules are to be reviewed and established on a department by department basis.

“If VCHA persists with its plan to unilaterally implement standardized shift schedules, the union will grieve and seek interim relief,” Meyers said.