Member Update – Overtime Change of Practice

Dear Members,

Member update RE:  Overtime Change of Practice

The Union has been advised by members, effective August 1, 2021, they have been assigned to work multiple days of overtime during the month of August without their consent. Some members have been assigned to work as many as 21 out of 25 days in the month.

How did we get here? Members have followed historical practice of submitting overtime availability for the purpose of being offered overtime shifts on a rotational basis, fair and equitably. However, the Employer has suddenly decided to unilaterally assign overtime shifts without the agreement of members to accept the overtime shifts and without regard to seniority. This is a significant change of practice that the Union believes is in breach of the Collective Agreement.

The Union contacted the Employer on this matter late last night upon learning of their actions and was advised that members can give back some (but not all) of the August 2021 overtime shifts that they were assigned. However, one must raise the following questions:

1.    Why was the Union not engaged by BCEHS in resolving this matter prior to the Employer’s unilateral action?

2.    Why has there been no communication from the Employer to the Union or to our members?

The Union takes the Employer’s unilateral actions of assigning overtime to members without their agreement and without regard to seniority very seriously. The Employer’s actions will undoubtedly have a significant negative impact on our already over worked paramedics and dispatchers in British Columbia.

The Employer is fully aware of its obligations regarding change of practice mid Collective Agreement. In fact, we just arbitrated a similar issue of Employer conduct in April 2021 in which the Employer was not successful. 

The Union suggests that all members review their assigned overtime for August 2021 and immediately contact scheduling and request to give back any unwanted overtime shifts. In the event that the Employer refuses to permit members to give back any unwanted overtime shifts, please notify the undersigned immediately. 

The Union is working on resolving the matter with the new Senior Leadership group and in the meantime, we will be filing a policy grievance on this matter.


Jason Jackson
Provincial Vice President
Ambulance Paramedics of BC
CUPE Local 873

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