Recognition for community health workers – COVID-19 update
BCGEU members working in Community Health (CBA - Component 8) heard that the Nurses Bargaining Association had successfully negotiated a 'blanket premium' based on current language in their collective agreement with HEABC. The Community Bargaining Association (CBA), in which the BCGEU is the lead union, immediately reached out to HEABC and asked for similar consideration for community health workers. (Read the letter here.)
At this time the CBA has had no response from HEABC despite repeated attempts to follow up on our initial request. However, we have since learned that healthcare workers in the Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association (HSPBA) are also receiving additional monies.
Upon learning of these additional monies, BCGEU President Stephanie Smith reached out directly to The Honorable Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, to express her concern that this approach to doling out additional monies leaves out and devalues thousands of frontline healthcare workers and creates divisions in a sector that is on the frontline of our province's pandemic response. (Read the letter here.)
"From the beginning of the Coronavirus public health crisis through the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond healthcare workers have been on the frontlines of this unprecedented crisis and their work has been essential to our province's success to date in flattening the curve," said Stephanie Smith, president of the BCGEU. "The HEABC's patchwork approach to additional funding is disrespectful, divisive, and totally unacceptable."
Your union shares your frustrations you may have that this recognition has not been extended to you and your coworkers. That frustration was clearly expressed to the Minister.
"Solidarity is fundamental to the BCGEU and teamwork is fundamental to the healthcare system that thousands of our members work in," said Smith. "To single out some workers for recognition while ignoring those who work alongside them and experience the same risks and stresses is inexcusable."
Your union understands the extraordinary pressures you are facing and the Herculean efforts you make every day to slow the spread of COVID-19 amongst an incredibly vulnerable population. We believe you deserve equal recognition – and we will make sure the Minister hears that message.
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