Health science professionals ratify collective agreement

VANCOUVER, March 6, 2013 /CNW/ - Health science professionals have voted 83 per cent in favour of accepting a new contract that includes wage increases totaling three per cent, and protects the wages of hospital pharmacists who were threatened with wage rollbacks of up to 14 per cent. The agreement was reached between the Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association (HSPBA) and Health Employers' Association of BC (HEABC.)

"Almost a year after the last contract expired, after two days of job action in December, and the addition of veteran mediator Vince Ready to help bring the parties together, health science professionals have agreed to terms and conditions that will help continue to provide the quality health care services British Columbians rely on," said Reid Johnson, president of Health Sciences Association of BC (HSA). HSA represents the majority of the province's 17,000 health science professionals working in hospitals and communities across the province.

"In yet another very difficult bargaining climate, our priority was to achieve fair and reasonable wages for the members of the modern health care team, and to continue to provide the quality health care services British Columbians rely on," said HSA President Reid Johnson.

"Our bargaining committee, led by chief negotiator Jeanne Meyers, has worked hard to make important changes for members that will result in improvements to the system," he said.

The agreement includes wage increases totaling three per cent, and makes permanent a market adjustment of between 9 and 14% for pharmacists. It also achieves fairness for all members of the modern health care team by finally recognizing the work and commitment of the team of health science professionals who are there - day or night - to perform the life-saving services that keep British Columbians alive in medical emergencies.

The agreement brings a return to a 37.5 hour work week for health science professionals, includes a modified Pharmacare tie-in with full implementation delayed to the end of August, and a joint process which will realize savings in extended benefit coverage. Union members will benefit from the return of a pay-direct at the pharmacy card instead of the current system of reimbursement of payment for prescribed drugs.

Other unions in the Association are the BC Government and Service Employees Union, Professional Employees Association, Canadian Union of Public Employees and Hospital Employees' Union.

SOURCE: Health Sciences Association of British Columbia

For further information:

Miriam Sobrino, Communications: 604.439.0994 or 604.328.2886 or msobrino@hsabc.org 

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Health Sciences Association of British Columbia

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