Cowichan health-care workers reach five-year deal with Victoria

Hundreds of Cowichan health-care workers and their unions have struck a tentative five-year mediated contract — offering a 5.5% wage hike —  with Victoria, the Health Employees' Union says.

"The multi-union Facilities Bargaining Association representing 47,000 health-care workers has reached a tentative settlement with B.C.'s health employers," HEU's Mike Old said Thursday by email

The FBA is unanimously recommending the agreement to its unions that recently voted a 96% strike mandate.

HEU's brass have voted to recommend ratification to its members comprising the majority of workers covered by the deal.

It includes 5.5% in wage lifts during the agreement's life, limits contracting out, expands employment options, and protects benefits.

The bargain would also enhance paramedics' ability to work within a community para-medicine model, and address outstanding issues around paramedics' pay scales.

Details will be given to union members next week.

The collective agreement includes workers in hospitals, residential-care facilities, emergency-health services, plus logistics and supply operations.

Staffers include care aides, ambulance paramedics, health records staff, lab and other diagnostic specialists, sterile supply techs, emergency dispatchers, nursing unit clerks, trades and maintenance workers, activity aides and rehab assistants, IT specialists, pharmacy techs, admitting and booking clerks, administrative staff, cleaning and dietary staff, and many others.

The current collective agreement with the Health Employers Association of B.C. expired March 31. Talks began Jan. 14.

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