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Health Care Worker COVID-19 Update - Component 8 - BCGEU

To: All component 8 members

The last couple of weeks have been extraordinarily challenging times for all British Columbians, but especially for those working in health care.

You can be confident that your union is working on your behalf, and is here to support you during these unprecedented, turbulent times.

We hear your concerns, and we are advocating for what you have been calling for. The BCGEU and the Community Bargaining Association (CBA) constituent unions have called for additional compensation for CBA members and asked for a meeting with the Health Employers' Association of BC (HEABC). Read the letter here. We want to ensure members are getting fairly compensated during this difficult time.

You may have heard that a wage supplement was recently implemented for nurses by mutual agreement between the HEABC and the Nurses' Bargaining Association (NBA). To set the record straight: NBA has a "working short" article that applies a premium to shifts that are deemed to be short staffed. This was bargained during the last round of negotiations, and the premium outlined only became effective April 1, 2020.

Our main message to HEABC is that a health care worker is a health care worker. Paying this premium to all nurses, even those not entitled under their collective agreement, is not fair to the thousands of BCGEU health care workers who work beside them on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis.

Your union understands how hard and awful this is. We know there is more work to be done and a pandemic will always be challenging to get through for health care workers. We have made significant progress from the early days of the pandemic, and we ask you to continue to identity identify issues so we know what to fix.

Your union meets many times a week with employers at all levels of the health care sector to seek solutions to frontline issues and the systemic issues that can create frontline issues.

Although there is much work to be done, some successes so far include:

  • Your union has doubled the number of reps responding to occupational health and safety matters. 
  • Government ensures child care for health care workers is at the front of the queue
  • Single site improvements to working conditions: FBA (Facilities Bargaining Association) wage rates, no loss of work hours, benefits maintained, employee preference on location to be considered according to seniority, a system to ensure fair staffing levels across the sector, no losses when workers return to former worksites
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE): significant improvements in access in many sites, improved consistency in standards across with province, detailed ethical framework for supply constraints

Please visit the health care page of our COVID-19 Information Hub regularly for updates:
Also be sure to email with any other concerns or specific questions. Again, we appreciate your hard work throughout these difficult circumstances. As frontline workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic, your dedication and commitment are helping to keep our communities healthy and safe. We will continue to keep you updated as this situation unfolds.