The Nurses’ Bargaining Association, which represents approximately 44,000 registered, psychiatric and licensed practical nurses in B.C., has ratified a new agreement with the Health Employers’ Association of B.C.
The agreement covers nurses working in hospitals, long-term care, community and public health, home support and mental health facilities throughout the province. It includes:
- a three-year term of April 1, 2019, to March 31, 2022
- general wage increases of 2% per year
- modernized staffing language that provides more certainty for employers and nurses, and improves continuity of patient care
- improved language to clarify and streamline the process for staff to address professional practice challenges in the workplace
The BC Nurses’ Union (BCNU) is happy with the new contract.
“I believe we have negotiated an innovative contract that will make a positive impact on the working lives of our members and the patients in their care. However, nurses have sent a clear message to the government that they are skeptical real change will come,” said BCNU President Christine Sorensen.
More than 21,000 ballots were cast with 54 per cent of nurses voting to ratify the three-year deal that was reached in November 2018. The vote was held on January 21 at unionized work sites across the province.
Results from a 2017 province-wide BCNU member survey showed that staffing and workload were two of the most critical areas of focus for the bargaining committee to bring to the table. As a result, health authorities across the province now have a number of incentives to hire more nurses, especially during the first year of this agreement. The intended outcome is more nurses in the system, and less workload pressure which will lead to greater opportunities for nurses to provide the level of quality, safe patient care they are licensed and educated to do.
“Unsustainable workload coupled with a systemic nursing shortage has a direct impact on a nurse’s ability to provide safe patient care,” said Sorensen. “Our members have spoken. While more needs to be done, this contract is a step in the right direction. It is now time for the union and employers to bring this language to life, and make real changes where our members and our patients need it most – our health care system.”