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HSPBA bargaining update - Work continues over summer - BC General Employees' Union (BCGEU)

As we enter the summer, the Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association (HSPBA) continues to co-ordinate with other unions and public sector bargaining associations to speak with a louder voice in support of our common goals.
Your HSPBA negotiation committee has tabled a wage proposal that seeks to deal with rising inflation. We have not yet had a substantive response on this. However, you may be aware that the Public Service Bargaining Committee, representing your fellow BCGEU members in the public service, have received – and rejected – a wage offer because it did not include inflation protection for wages.
BCGEU members in the public service recently voted 95 per cent in favour of going on strike, if necessary, to back contract demands. The public service bargaining committee is focusing its efforts over the next several weeks on negotiating essential services levels in anticipation of possible job action. B.C.'s essential services legislation requires that agreement be reached on essential services of staffing required to protect the public from immediate and serious danger, while balancing workers' right to strike. 
Unions in the health care sector have been working on establishing agreement on essential service staffing levels since January, ensuring that health science professionals are in a position to support job action in the event that bargaining breaks down at the health sciences table.
If your bargaining committee is not able to get to a tentative agreement that meets your needs, they may make a recommendation to conduct a strike vote to show the employer they have your full support in demanding a contract that values the work you do.
HSPBA negotiations, which are led by an elected bargaining committee and conducted by professional negotiators and subject experts on labour relations issues, are now on a scheduled pause. A working group will continue throughout the summer, negotiating items addressing issues of health and safety.
There are still significant health and safety issues to deal with, such as workload, fatigue, point of care risk assessments, access to PPE, violence prevention and support for the new Health Care Occupational Health and Safety Society (SWITCH BC). Focused discussions on health and safety issues led by a small sub-committee have made some encouraging progress to date. The joint employer/HSPBA group met separately on seven occasions since bargaining began in March, and has reached tentative agreement in key areas, including new language on the employers' responsibility to address threats of violence against workers or their families, requirements for employers to consult with joint occupational health and safety committees on risks associated with musculoskeletal injuries, new language on health and safety training for supervisors, and improved language covering potentially violent or aggressive behaviour from patients, residents or clients.
There are no plans for job action for members covered by the HSPBA collective agreement at this time. While progress at the negotiating table is slow, we remain focused on achieving movement when discussions resume after the summer pause.
In the event that you do encounter a picket line this summer, do not cross it, and contact your union for direction.
In solidarity,
Your Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association