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Community Health bargaining FAQ

What is the Community Bargaining Association (CBA), and the Health Employers’ Association of BC (HEABC)?


The Community Bargaining Association (CBA) represents unionized workers in the Community Health sector, and the Health Employers’ Association of BC (HEABC) represents the employers.

The CBA Negotiating Committee is the bargaining committee and is made up of union members and representatives of eight unions. The negotiating committee is tasked with negotiating new terms of a collective agreement for over 21,000 unionized workers in the in the Community Health sector across the province. The CBA Negotiating Committee sits across the table with the HEABC bargaining committee, which coordinates the human resource and labour relations interests of more than 213 publicly funded health care employers in British Columbia.

Who is covered by the CBA Agreement?


Union members who are covered by the CBA agreement include health care professionals who provide home care that enables seniors to age in place, support people living with mental health and addictions challenges and provide administrative services to keep the community health care system running smoothly.  

The collective agreements for all three subsectors expired on March 31st, 2022. Terms and conditions of the agreements continue until new agreements are ratified. Bargaining commenced in February.

What is happening right now at the bargaining table?


After bargaining with Health Employers’ Association of BC (HEABC) from February through June of 2022 we are very close to reaching an agreement on issues around mobility, overtime, modified work hours and other non-monetary items.

We have dates set in September to continue negotiations where we will discuss classifications, health and safety, wages, and benefit funding.

We’ve created the following working groups:

  • Arbitrator/Mediator Lists 
  • MOA 6-9, and 26—Memoranda of Agreement relating to Superior Provisions and New Certifications
  • Membership Cards/Member Information 
  • Occupational Health and Safety
  • Pandemic/Natural Disaster 
  • ISAR— a working group discussing the In Plain Sight Report, Reconciliation and decolonizing the collective agreement.

These working groups are made up of representatives from both the union and employer side and are tasked with writing recommendations that will help streamline bargaining. The working groups will be meeting while we are not at the bargaining table through the next couple of months. 

What are ‘essential services’?


Everyone’s job is important. But under the BC Labour Relations Code, some jobs can be designated as ‘essential’. Deciding which jobs are designated essential is a standard part of the bargaining process. It’s done through negotiations between union representatives and employer representatives.
Section 72(2) of the Labour Relations Code defines essential services as “facilities, productions and services” that are “necessary or essential to prevent immediate and serious danger to the health, safety or welfare of the residents of British Columbia.” It is important to understand that essential services negotiated under the Labour Relations Code for the purposes of job action are not the same as the essential services designated during the COVID-19 pandemic for temporary pandemic pay.
Most of the essential services negotiations have been completed. We are waiting for the Labour Board to deliver a ruling on a few worksites. 

I have heard that we took a strike vote, is this true?


No. Right now, there are other union members from other public sector bargaining tables who are at a different stage in their bargaining process. Your fellow BCGEU members in the Public Service voted 94.6% in favour of striking for a fair collective agreement that includes cost-of-living-adjustments and are taking a strike vote.

The CBA Negotiating Committee representing members covered under the Community Health collective agreement are still at the bargaining table and have not called for a strike vote. Many of us work with other public sector workers, and we may hear information about other public sector bargaining tables. It is important that you stay informed about what is happening in community social services and that you receive communications from your negotiating committee.

How does the public service strike vote affect me?


Members directly employed by the Government of B.C. took a strike vote to push their employer, the Public Service Agency (PSA), to improve their disappointing wage offer and come back with a fair proposal. As the vote wrapped up – before we even knew the results – their employer asked the union’s bargaining committee to return to negotiations. 
Just by voting, your fellow members sent a strong message to their employer. Their strong strike vote amplified that message, and made it clear they’re united in their commitment to negotiate fair wages. They are now in a strong position to get a fair deal, and this is good news for you because the public service is one of the largest sectoral bargaining units in the province and can set a strong precedent for other sectors like yours.
A win for the public service is a win for all workers. 


Am I going on strike?


No, your bargaining unit is not going on strike. The strike vote does not apply to your bargaining unit, only to the 33,000 members in the Public Service (direct government services in Components 1, 5, 6, 12 and 20).

Are public service members going on strike?


Not immediately. This will depend on their employer’s position when they return to the bargaining table. Depending on that, BCGEU public service members may have to action the strike vote. Don't worry – we will provide updates when we know more. 
Many of you work alongside these members, we all depend on the services they provide, so your union will tell you ahead of time if there will be any job action.
Make sure to keep up-to-date with updates from your bargaining committee to find out actions you can take to help them apply pressure at the bargaining table. If they’re feeling the strength of our solidarity from all sides, they cannot ignore us. 

Where are we in the process now?


We are still at the negotiating table and will continue to meet with representatives from the employers’ association in September. The bargaining process begins and ends with you—your ideas and your vote. We will continue to keep you informed every step of the way, which is why it is so important that we have your up-to-date contact information including your personal email and phone number, so make sure your shop steward or your union local has your contact information.
We’re asking all members to update their contact information in the Member Portal. If you don't yet have a Member Portal account, click here to sign up today.

Already have a Member Portal account? You can log in here. If you’ve forgotten your password, you can reset it here. It’s more important than ever to make sure that our union has your up-to-date contact information including your personal email and phone number.
Please check with your coworkers to make sure they are also receiving email updates and share this FAQ with them.