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Paramedical professional talks come to a halt

Unions call HEABC's attitude at the bargaining table "irresponsible"

Talks at the paramedical professional bargaining table came to an abrupt halt this morning. The Paramedical Professional Bargaining Association, which represents over 10,000 health care professionals across the province, says the Health Employers Association's attitude at the bargaining table is risking further disruption in BC's health care system.

"You would think that on the heels of a strike by nurses, HEABC would make every effort to reach a fair and reasonable collective agreement with other health care workers," says chief negotiator Rick Lampshire. "Instead, they are inflaming an already tense situation by coming to the table with more concession demands. We believe this is extremely irresponsible."

Lampshire says HEABC's concession demands would gut the existing classifications system and allow employers to unilaterally reassign employees and alter hours of work. HEABC is also refusing to address key issues such as provincial seniority, long-term disability, compensation for on-call and parity for community-based health professionals.

Lampshire says the bargaining association will meet over the weekend to consider their options. An announcement will be made on Monday, December 7.

"Our members have accepted the government's wage package of 0, 0 and 2," says Lampshire. "It is not reasonable to expect that health care providers will also agree to give up benefits that we fought for and won during previous rounds of bargaining.

"These are the people who test for illness and disease through blood tests and x-rays, the people who ensure our drinking water is safe, who provide rehab to patients recovering from surgery and therapy for patients with respiratory illness. Our members provide critical services to the public and they deserve to be treated fairly."

The Health Sciences Association of BC (HSA) is the lead union in the Paramedical Professional Bargaining Association. Also represented are the BC Government Employees Union, Canadian Union of Public Employees, Professional Employees Association, Hospital Employees Union, and United Food and Commercial Workers.

Hundreds of professional groups are defined as paramedical professionals including: lab technologists, x-ray technologists, pharmacists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, respiratory therapists, pre-school teachers, community mental health professionals, social workers, dietitians, alcohol and drug counsellors, speech and language pathologists and public health inspectors.

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For more information contact:
Rebecca Maurer, Director of Communications
(604) 439-0994 

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