Member Update – Bargaining 2022
Further to previous member updates and monthly newsletters, our notice of intention to not renew the SOC model in bargaining (see attached June 3, 2022 member update HERE); and our earlier Bargaining Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDcHhjGZo8c
On June 27th, we launched our member bargaining survey. This allowed our members to voice their opinions on what is most important for them as we prepare for negotiations. You responded overwhelmingly that wages, benefits (including STIIP), working conditions and pensions are your biggest priorities as we look to negotiate a new contract. We had 480 respondents, and we were happy to see that the results greatly aligned with established resolutions that were passed at previous conventions.
It’s apparent that considering the issues BCEHS is facing with staffing, recruitment and retention, paramedics have fallen far behind other emergency services and health professions. The evidence shows that in most cases, we are compensated 30% below our colleagues in other emergency and health services.
We have also been given a strong mandate that Mental Health and Wellness continue to be a priority to our membership, and your negotiating team and executive are well aware of the priorities of the membership.
With all that being said, I am happy to inform you that on July 19th, we advised the employer (BCEHS) and their bargaining agent (HEABC) that we are serving our official notice to bargain for Sept 12, 2022 – notice to bargain found HERE. We hope to have negotiating dates starting in October.
I want to make it clear that our number one focus over the summer is to continue to prepare for bargaining, while holding the employer accountable to implement the promises made by the Health Minister last summer and onward. (July 14 and December 3 announcements). We currently have over 1,000 vacancies throughout the province that are unfilled. The numbers are staggering when you add them to the everyday staffing crisis, operational stressors, psychological injuries and illnesses we are working through. Provincially, we are consistently seeing 30% of our ambulances unstaffed and in many cases the number is much higher.
Your negotiations committee started its preparation following Convention last October and is ramping up their training and strategy sessions, working in conjunction with our Cupe Staff Rep, collecting data and compiling information from contracts from around BC and across the country. Your PEC and Communications Team are working on numerous issues, including an upcoming cost-shared media campaign that is currently in development.
As we move through the bargaining process, your RVPs and shop stewards, member updates and the CODE 3 Newsletter will be your main points of contact for all upcoming information as it becomes available.
I want to reiterate how important it is for all of our members to register on the new apbc.ca website, as this will be the primary mechanism to communicate with you regarding everything to do with our profession, union, negotiations, and voting.
On behalf of the Provincial Executive Board (PEB) and Negotiations team,