Wages and benefits top list of priorities for HSA members who work in community health

HSA members gathered in Richmond last week to consider HSA members’ priorities for bargaining in the Community Health sector. Wages and benefits are the priorities for HSA’s more than 700 members who work under the Community Bargaining Association collective agreement.

Members called for a wage increase on par with the cost of living, and a me-too clause that would ensure equal general wage increases for all who work in the sector. In addition, as has been a priority for several rounds of bargaining, members want their bargaining representatives to advocate for wage parity with their counterparts who work in hospitals and who are covered by the Facilities Bargaining Association collective agreement. On benefits, delegates to the bargaining proposal conference called on their bargaining representatives to advocate for the preservation of all current benefits in extended health, an improvement in the Pharmacare Tie-in equal to the improvement achieved by HSPBA in the tentative agreement reached earlier this month, as well as improvements to the extended health plan and the introduction of an Employee Assistance Program by every employer. Delegates also favoured a contract period longer than two years, improved severance allowance, and retention of Earned Days Off (EDOs).

HSA’s lead negotiator is Senior Labour Relations Officer Derek Wong. Sharon Sawyer (Child Care Assistant, Thompson Nicola Family Resource Society) was elected as the member representative at the table. Deborah Harmon (Clerical Support Worker, Child Development Centre of Prince George) was elected as the alternate. Sawyer and Harmon are joined by Jacquie Baycroft (Behaviour Assistant, North Okanagan Neurological Association) and Tracey Smith (Receptionist, North Shore Community Health Services) on an expanded committee, which serves as a reference group for HSA’s representatives at the bargaining table.