Tentative deals reached in community health & social services

The bargaining associations for 2200 UFCW 1518 members working in community health and social services have both reached tentative agreements after entering early contract talks.

After four weeks of negotiations and a 95-hour push over the last six days for a deal without concessions, the Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA) reached a tentative agreement with the Community Social Services Employers’ Association (CSSEA). The CSSBA is composed of 10 unions, including UFCW 1518, and represents about 15,000 workers in the social services sector across the province.

The three-year deal provides significant compensation increases in terms of low-wage redress for all members, while meeting the government mandate of improving the services that vulnerable British Columbians and their families rely upon. Highlights of the agreement include a general wage increase of two percent in each year; improvements to occupational health & safety, including a Provincial Occupational Health and Safety Council; and the restoration of statutory holiday pay for part-time and casual employees. The agreement also features an improved process to assist the parties in better labour relations, enhancements to health and welfare benefit plans to start closing the gap with the health sector, the renewal of the labour adjustment education fund, and funding for health and safety and violence prevention training.

The Community Bargaining Association (CBA) and the Health Employers Association of British Columbia (HEABC) also reached a tentative agreement with a three-year term. The CBA represents about 16,000 employees working in community health in British Columbia. Other unions at the table were BCGEU, HEU, CUPE, HSA and USWA.

The tentative agreement also has a three-year term and includes gains in a number of areas, including a two percent wage increase in each year, a low wage redress clause, and stronger protections against contracting out. Other highlights include a $250,000 education fund, three paid days of domestic violence leave,  $750,000 for the Joint Provincial Health, Safety and Violence Prevention Committee, $1.1 million for the Joint Community Benefit Trust Program, and $816,000 for the Early Disability Management Program.

Both bargaining associations will provide comprehensive reports on the agreements before holding ratification votes in the coming weeks.